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Escape the crowds at some of Vancouver's most well-hidden beaches this summer
Vancouver is known around the world for its stunning beaches, but all that attention can lead to big crowds when the weather warms up. Luckily, some of the best spots in the city can still be found off the beaten path – so if you’re looking to cool off in peace and quiet this summer, check out these eight hidden gems around the Lower Mainland.
According to local lore via CBC personality Grant Lawrence, Bikini Beach earned its name because it was exceptionally well-hidden. Back in the days when bikinis were too shocking for mainstream beaches, this was the shore of choice for the more scandalous teenagers to avoid scrutiny. You can find Bikini Beach at the entrance of Stanley Park, between English Bay and Second Beach… or you can at least try to find it.
Point Grey is home to some of Vancouver’s most popular beaches, like Wreck Beach and Spanish Banks. But if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, try out the Acadia Beach Walk. While the rocky terrain means it isn’t ideal for sunbathing, it’s still a great spot for exploring.
For anyone wanting to get out of the city, Centennial Beach in Tsawwassen is about a 45-minute drive from the downtown core. The beach promises to be worth the commute with its new accessible playground, fire pit and a café that’s far classier than your typical concession stand.
Located north of the Vancouver Airport, Iona Beach is the perfect spot for plane watching. Another thing to look out for is the abundance of shore birds. The jetty is about 4.5 km long and an ideal leisurely walk for anyone who wants to avoid incline.
Vancouver is just as famous for its mountains as it is for its beaches, and Mount Seymour’s Mystery Lake proves to be the perfect combination of the two. The lake is a 1.5 km hike from the Seymour parking lot and the steep hill will get you working up just enough of a sweat to make the dip in the water extra satisfying.
Like Mystery Lake, Jug Island Beach requires a bit of a walk. In Port Moody’s popular Belcarra Park, Jug Island is about a 5.5 km hike. The hike itself has some great views, and the beach promises to be less busy than nearby White Pine or Buntzen Lake. Go for a swim and enjoy the view of the beach’s namesake, Jug Island.
Sandwiched between its famous neighbours, Lighthouse Park and Ambleside, Stearman Beach is perfect for families looking to relax without the crowd. Kids will enjoy exploring the beach’s many small streams and creeks, but there isn’t much shade so plan and pack accordingly.
At the entrance of Howe Sound, Passage Island is a true getaway for anyone with a boat to reach it. The inaccessibility of it means you’re likely to have it all to yourself; however, there are a few people who live on the island year-round. Stunning views and relatively untouched shores make Passage Island feel far away from the bustling city beaches.