For a place without a sun-and-sand reputation, Canada certainly has an abundance of shorelines, stretching farther than in any other country in the world. Add to this the thousands of kilometres of lakeshores big and small, and you have a waterfront scene that could take lifetimes to explore. Here are our picks for the best beaches in Canada — those with the warmest water, the best sand, surf and swimming, the tiny hidden gems and the bountiful aquatic wonders, all right under our noses, from coast to coast.
17 of 20
Wreck Beach, Pacific Spirit Park, Vancouver, British Columbia
The largest clothing-optional beach in Canada, located near the University of British Columbia campus, is “awesome in its quirkiness,” according to one local aficionado. Part of a larger scheme of beaches and parkland on Point Grey, Wreck Beach is littered with sun worshippers, students and teachers, not to mention urbanites looking to get the heck out of Dodge. Vendors are close by with the usual beach-related snacks, drinks and hemp jewellery.
Wow factor: Naked people! Everywhere!
Nota bene: About 500 wooden steps lead you down the bluff (Trail 6) to the beach — and back up.
Where it’s at: From 4th Avenue in Vancouver, turn right on N.W. Marine Drive, and Trail 6 is to the left (you need to drive only about 100 metres). There’s a parking lot south of Trail 6 and a few lots on the UBC campus.