British Columbia Beaches
British Columbia beaches offer plenty in the way of variety, and as you might expect, they see the bulk of their visitors in the summer months. The best beaches in this western Canadian province are found in the southern region, and they include the Vancouver beaches.
Vancouver alone offers a number of beaches with their own appeal. At Kitsilano Beach, for example, you can take advantage of the volleyball courts and the people-watching possibilities, while Wreck Beach is a clothing-optional haven. As far as the uncrowded, romantic Vancouver beaches are concerned, Spanish Banks is arguably the top pick. Interestingly enough, Spanish Banks Beach is also an ideal place to go skim boarding, thanks to the prime tidal conditions.
While the beaches in the immediate Vancouver area offer a lot in the way of variety and quantity, they certainly aren't the only British Columbia beaches that are worth adding to the itinerary. Across the Strait of Georgia from the mainland sits Vancouver Island, and it offers what easily amounts to some of the best beaches in the province. The beaches on the island's west coast face the open waters of the Pacific, and if you want to do some surfing, they are known to get their fair share of big waves. They are also known to boast calm waters for significant stretches, lending to swimming and an all around relaxing environment, and spring sees the whale watching season getting under way.
The Juan de Fuca Provincial Park on Vancouver Island's west coast is home to some appealing beaches that are not to be missed while traveling down the coast. These beaches include Sombrio Beach, which is known for its world-class surfing. Botanical Beach is another beach in the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park that deserves a nod. This beach isn't known for its sand. It is more rocky and features some excellent tide pools that are a joy to explore, especially at low tide.
The Juan de Fuca Provincial Park can be found on Vancouver Island's southwest coast, which is where some other impressive parks with some beautiful beaches can also be found. These parks include the Pacific Rim National Park and the French Beach Provincial Park. Pacific Rim National Park is home to Long Beach, and this alone is reason to visit. Long Beach is one of the easiest beaches to access in the area, and it often sees its visitors enjoying such water sports as sea kayaking, surfing, and swimming.
On the northern end of Long Beach is where you will find the alluring town of Tofino. It is also where you will find a couple more fantastic strips of sand. Chesterman Beach is among the beaches that can be found just north of Long Beach, and as is true of other west coast beaches on Vancouver Island, the surfing waves are biggest during the winter months. As for the beach at the French Beach Provincial Park, it is 5,250 feet long and offers fine views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the beautiful Olympic Mountains in Washington State.
The west coast of Vancouver Island isn't the only place to find some good beaches. Over on the eastern coast, for example, the calm and quaint town of Qualicum Beach offers an enticing strip of sand that sits on the Strait of Georgia. Venturing offshore, the islands in the Strait of Gibraltar are also worth keeping in mind when looking for the best British Columbia beaches. The beaches on Savary Island are arguably the best beaches in the entire province, thanks to their soft sand, warm waters, and relatively uncrowded appeal.
Not all of the British Columbia beaches are found along the coast. Inland regions such as the Okanagan Valley, for example, boast lakeside beaches that get more than their fair share of visitors during the warmer summer months. The Chilcotin Country, which is also found inland, offers lakes with beaches, and just 50 miles east of Vancouver, the sandy strips at Cultus Lake fill up with recreational enthusiasts.
Top image: Ruth and Dave (flickr)