BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C.'s Best Beaches (PHOTOS)

07/14/2013 02:11 EDT | Updated 07/17/2013 12:59 EDT
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What’s better than a list of recommended beaches? Getting out and visiting one on a hot, sunny day.

Now that school’s out and the weather’s playing nice, there's an inevitable surge of sunbathers at local beaches. Prime spots at Wreck Beach, Kits, and English Bay are becoming harder to come by and privacy can be a near impossibility.

For those looking to take a break from the crowds, we've rounded up of some of the province’s best beaches worth checking out before summer's end.

In West Vancouver, Ambleside Park is dog-friendly and has a beach that offers spectacular sweeping views of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park to Burrard Inlet and Vancouver Island.

If you cross the Strait of Georgia, Tofino is an obvious destination for two reasons: MacKenzie and Long Beach. Both are wide stretches of sand between Ucluelet and Tofino and attract a swath of surfers.

Sun-Oka in the Okanagan is a fun beach destination known for its water activities. On particularly gorgeous days, beach bums will ditch land, inflate their inner tubes to float the day away on Okanagan Lake.

These are only a few examples of some of the province’s noteable beach gems. Do you have any suggestions of your own? Share your recommendations in the comments section below.

Here are some of B.C.’s best beaches worth visiting this summer:

B.C.'s Best Beaches

Metro Vancouver: Spanish Banks, Vancouver

Less crowded than Vancouver’s English Bay or Kits beach, Spanish Banks is a perfect escape for locals yearning to unwind before the broad backdrop of the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet. Accessible by the Seawall and public transit, this beach attracts a mix of solo sunbathers, family groups and teams of volleyball players. There’s also free parking lots nearby. Parents, rest assured, there’s also a lifeguard on duty all summer until Labour Day.

Metro Vancouver: Ambleside Park, West Vancouver

Need a reminder why you put up with the rain, pricey housing, and early patio hours that come with Vancouver living? It’s for moments sitting at Ambleside, daydreaming and heron-spotting while walking along stunning shorelines. The off-leash dog area is also a draw for pet owners.

Metro Vancouver: White Rock Beach, White Rock

Besides an eight kilometre sandy beach, White Rock’s waterfront has street musicians, a newly launched food cart program, and a 1,500-ft. long pier to explore. It’s the kind of beach that encourages beachcombing more than sunbathing (those keen on developing that bronze hue tend to set up in the grassy area) because of the damp sand low tide leaves behind. Sailing, swimming, and crab fishing are popular activities to enjoy off White Rock’s beaches.

Vancouver Island: MacKenzie Beach, Tofino

Just two kilometres south of Tofino, MacKenzie beach is a favourite among tourists. There are year-round family-friendly campgrounds and cabins that are situated right on the beach for visitors who want to be right in the middle of the action.

Vancouver Island: Long Beach, Tofino

A mecca for coldwater surfers, this part of the Pacific Rim attracts up to one million visitors each year. To watersports thrill-seekers, Long Beach’s waters are known for their strong rip-currents. Beachside campgrounds, resorts, and cabins can be booked nearby.

Vancouver Island: Rathtrevor Beach, Parksville

Known for its dramatic low tides that recede for nearly a kilometre, this Parksville beach is a popular family destination. The wide beach also plays hosts to the annual Parksville Beach Festival with its headlining outdoor sand sculpture exhibition. Winners will be announced July 14 and the sand sculpture exhibition will be open to the public until August 18. Qualicum Beach is the next town over, also worth checking out.

Vancouver Island: Miracle Beach Provincial Park, Black Creek

This is the kind of beach you take your family to once and it becomes an annual vacation destination. Located at Black Creek in the Comox Valley, the park’s main attraction is Miracle Beach and its white(ish) sand. Campsites are equipped with amenities such as hot showers, picnic areas and recreational activities – fishing to horseback riding – nearby make this a popular spot during the summer. Campsite reservations are recommended.

Vancouver Island: San Josef Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park

This is a beach destination for hiking enthusiasts. Located at the north western part of Vancouver Island in Cape Scott Provincial Park, this sandy beach is dotted with unique rock formations called “the sea stacks.” Recently, wolf sightings and confrontations with dogs have prompted the provincial government to issue a wolf advisory, so leave your pets at home.

Northern Gulf Island: Tribune Bay, Hornby Island

Nicknamed “Little Hawaii,” the beauty of this Hornby Island beach is exaggerated by its aquamarine water. Summertime is especially magical with temperatures rising near tropical levels and local berries ripening in nearby trails.

Haida Gwaii: Bonanza Beach

Do you enjoy long, quiet walks down the beach? Well, you’re going to think you hit the jackpot with Bonanza. This Haida Gwaii beach has calming waves on one edge and lush, thick forest on the other. Heads up: going barefooy is risky. This is a beach strewn with sticks, stones, sand dollars, and shells.

Boundary Country: Gladstone Provincial Park, Christina Lake

Wish you had a private beach all to yourself? You can try your luck at finding unoccupied pocket beaches around Christina Lake’s warm, clear waters. Gladstone Provincial Park has campsites available and many of them are a short hike to the lake. The pocket beaches here have a balance of privacy and wilderness city beaches don’t have.

Okanagan: Sun-Oka Beach Provincial Park, Summerland

Just three kilometres south of Summerland, Sun-Oka is one of the most popular beaches in the Okanagan. Locals love the variety of waterplay activities ranging from swimming to boating, and it can become very crowded out there. Rent pedal-boats or bring your own inflatable tubes to enjoy in the water.