Vancouver Beaches – Kitsilano & Point Grey

Vancouver Beaches – Kitsilano & Point Grey

Vancouver's beaches - coastal walk to UBCWe are so lucky to live in Vancouver. Obviously I love the North Shore Mountains, but in addition to that the city has some fantastic beaches. In February before the world went into lock-down, Marc and I had one of those perfect weekends when we spent one day in the mountains skiing, as well as one day walking along Vancouver’s beaches from Kitsilano all the way out to the end of Point Grey at the University of British Columbia (UBC). It was cold, but sunny and perfect for a long walk. I took photos as we walked, so I figured I should introduce the beaches of Vancouver.

In the first days of the lock-down, news reports have been saying that the most popular beaches like Kisilano beach have all been crazily busy. I’d like to share this virtual walk along the Vancouver coastline, just please don’t rush out to visit at the moment, as we’re all practicing social distancing.

Vancouver seaside walking Map

My Vancouver seaside walk – the basics:

Distance: 16.5 km (if you walk the whole way from science world) 
Elevation Gain: 
Minimal, until you get to UBC, where you gain 85m
Time: We walked for 4.5 hours, but you can easily shorten or lengthen it.
What to bring:
It would be helpful to bring a towel in case you want to paddle. We didn’t, so we used Marc’s shirt to dry our feet!
Dogs are meant to be on leashes most of the time, but there are a couple of off-leash beaches along the way.
How hard is it?
It’s flat, so pretty easy. Plus you can easily shorten it and catch a bus home at any point along the trail. Just head South to find streets with buses.

Point Grey is the name of the peninsula south of downtown Vancouver that sticks out West into the Burrard Inlet. We love walking the entire edge of it. I’ll introduce the beaches along that walk from east to west.

Kitsilano Beach

Kits beach is probably the most famous of the local Vancouver beaches. It is where the most people hang out as it has tennis courts, volley ball courts, a kids playground and a grassy park that is great for picnics. If you want to swim, there are life guards here in the summertime, and there is also a large pool right by the sea.

Doggy notes: If you head to the North of Kits beach, there is an area where dogs can frolic in the sea off leash – Hadden Park Dog Beach.

I love the views from the end of Kitsilano beach, by the pool. You can look back at Stanley Park, Vancouver’s high rises as well as the North Shore Mountains. The tide is not normally out as far as this, but isn’t it gorgeous?

There is a pathway along the beach (next to the pool) that leads along the coast past the Kisilano yacht club. After that you normally need to head up some steps to walk along Point Grey Road, past a series of parks (with great views out to sea.)

Coastline below Point Grey Road

This section of the walk is normally under water, but if you visit when the tide is a long way out, you can walk along the rocky coastline behind houses with the best sea-views in Vancouver. If you walk along this area just be really careful. The seaweed can make the rocks very slippery.

Most of the cliffs have been covered with concrete to shore up people’s homes, but a few of them have now added beach-style street art. I quite liked seeing these sockeye salmon.

Jericho Beach

The next beach along, Jericho beach starts after the Royal Vancouver Yacht club. I really like this beach. It is small, but nice and sandy and has fantastic views. There are lifeguards here in the summer if you’d like to swim.

Locarno Beach

The next beach, Locarno beach is a designated quiet spot. You’re not allowed to have any amplified sound/music here. It still has gorgeous views and lifeguards in the summer, but it always seems a little more relaxed than the beaches closer to the city center.

As you can see Vancouver gets a little smaller as we get further and further away from the city.

Spanish Banks Beach

Spanish Banks is a massive sandy beach that when the tide goes out, becomes a giant mirror/sandy area that you can walk over. The last time we did this walk was in February…but we couldn’t resist taking off our shoes to walk out onto the sand bank. It was freezing! I may have made some pretty high-pitched squeaks when my toes touched the Pacific!

These are the faces of crazy people who will dunk their feet in the ocean one day, then go skiing the following day. There is still plenty of snow on the mountains behind us!

The views back to Vancouver are pretty amazing from out on the Spanish Banks. Just be careful when you are out here. When the tide turns and comes back in, it can be pretty fast. We always head back to the shore as soon as we notice the tidal streams filling back up.

I have to post a photo to prove I got my feet wet. The great thing about photos (rather than video) is that I look pretty sensible when you can’t hear me scream/squeal.

There are some good big rocks n the west side of the Spanish Banks, so you can sit on them to dry your feet. West of there the beaches become rocky, rather than sandy. So you need to be more careful watching your steps.

Doggy notes: There is a off-leash dog area to to the west of Spanish Banks. We saw quite a few happy doggos lolloping around.

Acadia Beach

Arcadia beach is one of the last spots with great views of Vancouver. Beyond this, the views are better over to the North Shore Mountains and West Van. It’s also the start of the foreshore trail that follows the coastline around to Wreck beach (the nudist beach) at UBC.

The first time we did this walk was in the summer time, and there were a few people sunbathing nude in this area. We didn’t see any undressed people in February, so if the idea of naked folks puts you off this walk, it might be best to explore this area in winter!

Tower Beach

The next easy to spot landmarks are the graffiti covered towers either side of Tower beach.

These are WWII Coast Artillery Search Light Posts that guard the edge of Point Grey. The art seems to change every time we visit. I quite like the Bowser that is one of the newer additions.

Wreck Beach

If you keep walking around the Point Grey peninsular you’ll get to the beautiful, sandy Wreck beach. We arrived just as the sun was setting. I really like watching the sky turn pink from here.

If you’re visiting for beaches (rather than walks) Wreck Beach is 8km long, so it is North America’s largest nudist beach. It is right below UBC, and has great transport links, so is always very busy in the summer time. Clothing is optional, so you don’t have to go naked. Just don’t take photos unless you have people’s permission first.

Hopefully the virus madness will be over soon-ish so we’ll be able to go back and enjoy the gorgeous beaches of Vancouver again. For now, I’ll leave you with a few panoramas from our walk.

Vancouver Beaches Panoramas

If you like the look of Vancouver’s beaches, click the images below to pin them for later.

Vancouver's beaches - gorgeous coastal walk near the city Vancouver seaside walk along Point Grey Vancouver's beaches - coastal walk to UBC

54 thoughts on “Vancouver Beaches – Kitsilano & Point Grey

  1. I love Vancouver and their beaches! We visited when we initially moved to Canada from Australia!
    I think we spent most of our time at Kits!

    Your post and photos makes me want to go back ASAP!!

  2. I’m a Spanish Banks person. Kits is too busy a lot of the time, Jericho sometimes too, but you gotta have a bit more commitment to make it to Spanish Banks so it’s often a little less crazy there. But I love that Vancouver just has all of these amazing beaches with phenomenal views

    1. I feel the same way…I like the beaches more the further you get from the city as they get quieter.

      Although I do love that you can buy berries at Kits beach in the summer. We normally walk past, buy all the berries then eat them on the more far-off beaches.

  3. Did you take the temperature? The Kids forced me to open the pool last weekend and then went and used their hot tub when I told them it was 8. After a nice sunny week it’s up to 11 now. The lowest temperature Lucy ever swam in was 9.

    1. Lol so if you get more good weather you’ll have kids in the pool in March!?

      I have no idea how cold it was. Pretty chilly!

  4. I loved the walk all the way from Yaletown to Kitsilano, hugging False Creek all along the way. This was how we spent our final morning in Vancouver before getting the aquabus over to Granville Island for lunch. I miss Vancouver!

    1. That is such a nice walk too. You chose such a good way to finish your time here Em! We’ve been avoiding that sea wall as it’s too busy now for social distancing. It’ll be nice when we can all get back out.

    1. It is pretty cool to have mountains so close to the coast isn’t it. I hope you can get to visit once the virus dies down!

  5. I haven’t been to BC in awhile but I plan to as soon as we can travel. These beaches look scenic and peaceful, hope to get the chance to visit them. Thanks for this post!

  6. Ahh you’re so lucky to have that close to home. I remember me and my brother would always spend at least a day just walking along the coast during our annual Vancouver trip! Kitsilano is beautiful!!

    1. It really is! I have been avoiding it since we started social distancing though. There are just so many people flocking to the beaches.

  7. Looks like a gorgeous and very cold walk. Shorts and a down jacket? Hmm. Interesting combination, but whatever works. Sounds like you did indeed have the perfect weekend.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Lol It’s worse! I was wearing a warm skirt and super thick tights – I just took my tights off to walk in the water! I needed a warm bath to warm up afterwards.

  8. What a beautiful place to live! Love the sunset photos and the city panoramas. Like the street art on Kitsilano Beach too! Lovely post.

    1. Thanks Imani! I quite like how the city gets further and further as you walk. It makes it feel like a bit of an epic adventure.

  9. Canada has always been a dream of mine and Vancouver too! I really love beaches and this coastal walk look super nice! I especially love Jericho Beach and its jetty *w* Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to visit one day!

  10. Oh my heart – I had forgotten how gorgeous Kitsilano and all of Vancouver’s beaches are. Oh how I miss it so! I can’t wait until I can visit after all this is over. I’ve got some stories to share with you about Wreck Beach 😉 haha!!

  11. Wow, I need visit other than going to Toronto all the time. Jericho Beach looks like a postcard. Your pictures are stunning!

  12. I miss the beaches in Vancouver! Although I have never seen the tide that far out before?!? It looks really weird lol. I never did walk further than Spanish Banks, and I never even made it to Wreck Beach!! I absolutely miss the view from Jericho Beach back to the city… that was my lunch time / after work view. Ahh, Vancouver!

    1. It’s cool when the tide goes out like that – I’ve only seen it a couple of times but we always walk out as far as we can when it happens. Last time it was really strange you could walk right out close to one of the anchored ships. I’d never seen one so close before!

      p.s. Vancouver missed you too Clazz!

  13. You always have such great ideas for local posts, and they always provide me with a renewed appreciation for Vancouver and area. We usually ride this stretch, but taking it slowly on a long walk sounds wonderful.

    1. I quite like riding this stretch as well, but only on the parts with paths – once you get close to UBC there is that nightmare hill!

      I hope you’re doing okay stuck at home Caroline! It seems hardest on the days with lovely weather!

  14. Fabulous photos and a lovely post. Reminds me of our visit when we got out to Kitsilano and explored a lot of that coastline. Vancouver really does have so much to see and do. Hope you’re doing okay in these tough times of social distancing and isolation. Keep safe.

    1. Right back atcha Jonno!
      p.s. Eep, I just saw that you got stranded in Tenerife! I will pop over to catch up with your posts!

    1. Thanks Francesca! Me too! I have been avoiding beaches and mountains in the lock-down. I am really starting to miss both!

  15. I only ever visit Vancouver in the winter, so I never think about checking out the beaches! They look so pleasant!

    1. I love the beaches in winter. I guess I just ove the views of the mountains covered in snow, and there are far fewer people. Let me know next time you visit in winter – maybe we can ski together!? 😀

  16. Thank you for the virtual tour! I haven’t been to Vancouver in ages but definitely would love to go visit someday–your photos are gorgeous!

  17. Is Canada the country with the best hiking opportunities or are you just good in finding them? Anyway I love this hike: from walking on the beach to admiring beautiful street art and did I mention the gorgeous pictures. I love the one of you testing the water, was it very cold?

    1. Omg it was sooooo cold! Yeah, I think Canada might be one of the best places for good hiking opportunities and we love finding them. 😉

    1. I know what you mean Destiny. We can see the mountains from here, and I still really miss them. Ah well, they will still be there once the pandemic is over.

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