The sun is shining and you are looking for the best beaches in Metro Vancouver to go for a swim! This post lists some of the most popular swimming beaches in Metro Vancouver. All of these beaches are family-friendly and perfect for the weekend warriors and those enjoying summer break! None of these are beaches that require you to hike to them. Some are lakes and some are ocean.
Best Swimming Beaches in Metro Vancouver
White Pine Beach (Sasamat Lake), Port Moody
White Pine Beach is one of the most popular lakes in Metro Vancouver due to its sandy beach and warm water. Located at the north-eastern corner of Sasamat Lake in Belcarra Regional Park. It is located in the community of Belcarra and the lake is about 11 km north of Port Moody and 33 km east of downtown Vancouver.
White Pine Beach Details
How to get here?
- Transit: From the Moody Centre Station on the Evergreen line, the #182 runs year round to the Belcarra Picnic Area; and the #150 runs seasonally to White Pine Beach.
- By Car: Belcarra Park is off Ioco Road
Whonnick Lake, Maple Ridge
One of the warmest lakes in Metro Vancouver, Whonnick Lake is a local’s favorite after work BBQ spot. With plenty of space, a playground, a sandy beach, grassy area and picnic facilities, it is the perfect place to take your family for a swim. Pack the buckets and shovels as well as plenty of towels!
Whonnick Lake Beach Details
How to get here:
By Car: Whonnick Lake Park Address is 27871 113 Avenue. There is a gravel parking lot.
More information on visiting Whonnick Lake can be found here
Alta Lake, Whistler
Alta Lake is on our list of the best things to do in Whistler in Summer for good reason. Alta lake is one of the larger lakes in Whistler that stretches between Creekside and the Village with several parks around its borders and plenty of room for watersports. There are various beach spots on Alta Lake with Lakeside park being the largest. Wayside park is the best place to launch your paddleboard or kayak or rent one!
Alta Lake Whistler Details
How to Get to Lakeside Park by Transit: Take the #20 or #21 BC Transit bus south to the Alta Vista stop and walk approximately 5 minutes to the lake.
How to get to Wayside Park: Parking is off Hwy 99 and overflow parking is on the highway.
Alouette Lake, Golden Ears Provincial Park
Alouette Lake is a popular spot for swimming, windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing, boating and fishing. It is located in Golden Ears Provincial Park, one of the largest parks in British Columbia. There are three main beach areas on Alouette Lake, South Beach, North Beach and Campers Beach. All are accessible for day use. South Beach is the most popular. There is a sand/gravel beach with seasonal roped off swimming area, no lifeguards are on duty; canoe/kayak/pedal boat rentals are available. There are barbeque attachments available on some picnic tables.
Dogs are permitted (on leash) in only two beach areas: at the North Beach day-use area near the outflow area of Gold Creek into Alouette Lake and at the Alouette (South Beach) day-use area between the boat launch and the canoe rental shop, which is accessible from parking lot #1.
Please note that there are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
Alouettte Lake (South Beach)
How to get to Alouette Lake: Golden Ears Provincial Park lies in the Coast Mountains 11 km north of Maple Ridge on the north side of the Fraser River. Access to the park is by vehicle via Dewdney Trunk Road through the Municipality of Maple Ridge. If heading west, turn right onto 232nd and if heading east, turn left onto 232nd; then turn right onto Fern Crescent at the traffic circle and follow the road into the park.
Other beaches at Alouette Lake:
Campers Beach Day-use Area: Campers Beach is a walk-in area adjacent to Alouette and Gold Creek campgrounds. Day-use visitors can park in visitors’ parking lot beside the ticket booth. Campers Beach has a sand/gravel beach with a seasonal roped off swimming area, no lifeguards are on duty. Dogs are not permitted. A water tap is available during the summer season. Only pit toilets are available.
North Beach Day-use Area: North Beach day-use area is adjacent to the North Beach campground, accessible on foot from the East Canyon parking lot via the North Beach Trail. The beach is sand/gravel, no lifeguards are on duty. There are only pit toilets available. Dogs are permitted on this beach, but must remain on leash.
Buntzen Lake Reservoir’s amazing setting, located just north of Port Moody. Its nearby hiking trails and cooling waters make it a popular destination year round. Particularly on hot weekends, get there early to ensure you get a parking spot and a nice spot on the beach. While Buntzen lake is one of the most popular swimming beaches in Metro Vancouver, it is quite cold, even in the summer months.
Location: 5000 Sunnyside Road, Anmore BC
How to get here by Transit:
The 182 bus operates from Port Moody Centre Station to Anmore daily. The closest stop to the lake is stop #53245, Southbound Sunnyside Road at Anmore Grocery Store. It is a 2 km walk to the main parking area and South Beach. Follow signs that direct pedestrians to South Beach.
Translink offers the 179 seasonal bus that operates on Weekends and Holidays from Canada Day weekend through to Labour Day. The 179 departs from Coquitlam Central Station hourly and takes riders to the main parking area.
Harrison Lake is located under 2 hours from Vancouver at Harrison Hot Springs. While it is glacier fed and quite cold even in the summer, it is still a popular place to not only swim, but to boat, paddle board and visit Canada’s Largest Inflatable Water Park!
Harrison Lake is the largest lake in the southern Coast Mountains of Canada. There are so many things to do in Harrison Hot Springs. It is about 60 km in length and at its widest almost 9 km across. The lake can be accessed by road or by boat at many points.
Harrison Lake Beach at Harrison Hot Springs Village
What to Bring to the Beach
Check out this list of beach packing essentials: What to pack for the beach.
- Walk carefully – avoid crushing barnacles or mussels
- Be Gentile – handle beach creatures gently
- If it is attached to something, leave it.
- Pack out what you pack in.
- Beach creatures found in the water need to stay in the water. If you do handle something from the water, think of it as holding its breath, and only hold onto it as long as you could hold your breath.
- Leave everything the way you found it. If you flip over a rock to look underneath, flip it back. If you move a log, move it back. These items provide hiding places for creatures.
- Many beaches do not have lifeguards, make sure you stay within your ability level.
- Personal floatation devices (PFDs) are required by law when you’re out on the water or on a raft of any kind (this includes Stand up Paddleboards.
- Stay bear aware at all times and dispose of any food, recycling and garbage properly or take it home with you.
- If you’re bringing a dog with you, check in advance if dogs are allowed. Never leave them in the car.
Looking for more swimming options? Check out his post on Langley swimming pools.
Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!