Best Family-Friendly Local Vancouver Beaches

Family-Friendly Local Vancouver Beaches - SavvyMom

It’s summertime in Vancouver – bring on the beach! We are fortunate to have an amazing selection of public Vancouver beaches in and around the city, complete with sand, spectacular views, and activities aplenty. Check out our list below of six of the best. And before you pile everything but the kitchen sink into your car, don’t forget the essentials, like sunscreen and baby powder (for sand removal).

Best Family-Friendly Vancouver Beaches

Ambleside Park

Dreaming of sandy beaches but wanting to keep the car ride to a minimum? Check out Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. It’s the ultimate beach day family destination with long stretches of beach, a nearby playground, skatepark, tennis, and basketball courts, and even a par 3 golf course. Plus, Ambleside has free parking! Grab a bite to eat at The Boatshed Restaurant or venture further along to Earls and several other eateries – and post-meal, access the Centennial Seawalk and continue walking along the path towards Dundarave Park.

Bonus: Ambleside has a designated swim area that is monitored by lifeguards in the summer.

Centennial Beach

Centennial Beach is located within Boundary Bay Regional Park in Tsawwassen. You can’t beat its expansive sandy beach that makes for a beachcombing paradise when the tide is out. There’s also a large playground, picnic tables, bathrooms and a concession stand nearby. And, if you’re looking to take a break from the beach, check out the Dyke Trail – perfect for walking or biking, the trail is also a fave spot for bird-watching (and ideal for a game of I Spy!). As with many popular beaches, parking is limited during summer months.

Crescent Beach

Crescent Beach in South Surrey is a great spot for families to enjoy an idyllic day at the beach. With sandy beaches for endless beachcombing, walking trails, spectacular views from the pier, and grassy areas perfect for a picnic, Crescent Beach promises to deliver a relaxing day at the beach – well, as relaxing as it gets when spending the day at the beach with your family! Be sure to check out the nearby shops and cafes in the nearby beachfront community – and don’t be surprised if you catch yourself dreaming of becoming a local (also, be respectful of parking in residential areas). Crescent Beach has two designated swim areas with lifeguards on site from 11 a.m. to 8 :30 p.m. in the summer.

Kitsilano Beach

What would a list of the best Vancouver beaches be without Kitsilano Beach? Kits has it all – sandy beach, fully accessible playground, lawn areas, and Vancouver’s only saltwater swimming pool (it’s also heated). There’s also a concession stand and the Boathouse restaurant nearby, an idyllic spot for taking in the stunning views of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore. Of course, Kits Beach is also steps away from tons of neighbourhood cafes and shops. Kits Beach promises to make for an entertaining day at the beach – there’s no shortage of people-watching – but it’s also one of the most popular. If you’re looking for a quieter spot to unwind with the family, Kits Beach may not be the best fit.

Second Beach, Stanley Park

A bonafide summer hot spot is Second Beach in Stanley Park. Not only is it relatively central, it’s also packed with activities – in addition to the beach, there’s also two playgrounds and a heated outdoor swimming pool. The pool is great for little ones with a sloped entry and separated lanes for lap swimmers (Note that it’s recommended to purchase tickets for the pool in advance). Washrooms and concessions are also located nearby. And if you really want to make a day of it, explore the magical forests of Stanley Park, bike around the Sewall, or plan a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium – sure to guarantee the coveted Parent-of-the-Year Award. Head there early to beat the crowds and keep in mind that paid parking is in effect.

Honourable Mention: Stanley Park also boasts Third Beach, which is another awesome option and is often less busy.

Spanish Banks Beach

Another central spot for beachgoers is Spanish Banks Beach in Vancouver, composed of three distinct areas: east, west, and extension. Spanish Banks features multiple concession stands, volleyball courts, bathrooms, off-leash zones for dogs, picnic tables, and more. With so much space, it’s a popular spot for families (yet is often less crowded than other Vancouver beaches). Spend the day exploring the low tide flats and then enjoy a picnic on the nearby grassy fields. FYI, the concession and washrooms at Spanish Banks West are currently closed and are expected to reopen by summer 2024 – plan to allow for a 7-minute walk to head to the facilities at Spanish Banks East.


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