Not only is Vancouver blessed with sandy beaches and ocean access, the Lower Mainland is populated with numerous beautiful lakes. From salty waves near downtown to warmer shores in the Fraser Valley and even a river with raging rapids, here are 17 of our favourite spots to splash around this summer.

 

 

1. White Pine Beach

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

This clear body of water surrounded by tranquil forest in Belcarra Regional Park is nearly bathtub-temperature on warm summer evenings. Paddle out on a SUP or laze in a floatie on the calm water. If the spits of sand are too busy, wander the Sasamat Lake Loop Trail to find a free picnic table beneath the pines or head to nearby Buntzen Lake.

2. Lighthouse Park

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Located in West Vancouver, this National Historic Site draws visitors for its gorgeous ocean views. Spot seals from the exposed cliffs and soak in the sunshine. Don't miss the historic cabins and a shaded walk beneath giant trees.

3. Chilliwack Lake

photoNicholas Flickr cc by 2.0

Flanked by snow-capped mountains, Chilliwack Lake is a picturesque setting for water activities, including kayaking, canoeing, fishing and swimming. Plus, there are 40 kms of trails to explore if you get bored.

4. Whytecliff Park
photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Jutted rocks and ocean spray make this peaceful park a refreshing city escape. Although the water can be a little tinted here, the pebbly beach is a great spot to sit and soak in B.C.’s beautiful views.

 

5. Cabin Lake

photoChris Morisawa Flickr cc by 2.0

Climb seemingly endless switchbacks for 40 minutes and you won’t hesitate to jump into Cabin Lake to cool off. This trail departs from Cypress Mountain Resort. Continue past the lake to Eagle Bluffs for an expansive view of the ocean and city.

6. Barnet Marine Park

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Views of Burrard Inlet and the crumbling remains of this once-lively logging mill camp make this beachy picnic spot in Burnaby a history lesson, too. On low-tide, hang a hammock between mussel-coated posts of the old pier. When the ocean rushes back in, move to the upper grassy area and dive in to a good book. Note: dogs are allowed off-leash in the west end of the park.

7. Second & Third Beach

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Although there are a ton of amazing beaches around Vancouver, I typically head to Second or Third Beach. There’s a nearby concession featuring amazing ice cream, easy access to the trails that wind through Stanley Park and an affordable swimming pool should you forgo the ocean.

8. Cultus Lake

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

The largest freshwater lake in the Fraser Valley attracts summer vacationers for good reason. Rip around on a wakesurf boat, find a secluded spot along the 14-km shore or simply sit on a lawn chair with your feet in the water and read a good book. You won’t want to leave.

9. Alouette Lake

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Located in Golden Ears Provincial Park, this stunning swimming spot is also popular for boating, wind-surfing and water-skiing. Hike through the dense forest, punctuated by strands of heavenly light, and then picnic on the shores. Bonus: MEC has teamed up with Parkbus to transport explorers here for free throughout the summer.

 

10. Rocky Point Park
photoqAlison Karlene Hodgins

Port Moody's picturesque park features a boat launch, large grassy area for concerts and picnics and a trail that follows the mudflats. This is a fantastic area to push out on a kayak or SUP. If you're looking to rent, plan a date night or get a lesson, head to Rocky Point Kayak.

11. Kitsilano Beach

 photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

There are so many activities going on on Kits, you'll want to spend all summer bouncing between BBQs on the grassy areas and swims in the heated saltwater pool. Join a beach volley game, test your balance on a SUP or bring take-out sushi for a romantic sunset dinner. 

12. Elaho-Squamish River

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Book a day of adventure with Wedge Rafting on the Green, Cheakamus or Elaho-Squamish rivers. Ranging from 2.25 to 8 hours, these water-based adventures make awesome bachelor parties, birthday parties or family reunions.

13. Lynn Canyon

photorichard winchell Flickr cc by nd 2.0

At Lynn Canyon, you'll find a 50-metre-high suspension bridge and a translucent, swimmable pool. It might be tempting to cliff jump here, but many people have died doing just that—so stick to splashing around at the base.

14. Deep Cove

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Climb Quarry Rock for a beautiful view of the Indian Arm or set off on a kayaking adventure with Deep Cove Kayak. After you've enjoyed the water, stop at Honey Doughnuts for a freshly glazed, chewy ball of goodness.

15. English Bay

 photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

If you're keen to mix culture with cool water, look no further than English Bay. Pick a driftwood log to lean against and listen to fellow beach-goers playing music and selling art.

16. Lindeman Lake

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

Although it might be too chilly to swim, these turquoise waters will tempt you! Hike the steep slope to this gorgeous lake and set up camp on one of the available tent pads. Paddle out in a kayak at sunrise to enjoy the magical ambience all to yourself.

17. Deer Lake

photoAlison Karlene Hodgins

This lake is a hotspot for arts and culture in Burnaby. Walk the flat trail that circles the water or attend a performance at the large outdoor concert venue. Launch a rowboat for a romantic date or bring your kids to the playground on the beach. Note: Dogs are not allowed on the beach. Please do not feed the birds that frequent this area.

 

 

 

Where's your favourite spot to enjoy the water around Vancouver?

Comment below!

 

 

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