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The Cascade’s official summer beach guide

The great thing about living in the Lower Mainland is the great number of beaches that are nearby. Rather than bitch about how hot the weather is, you can make a trip to the beach and live a little. While some amazing beaches have been left off the list, here are some of the best beaches in the area – see if you can catch them all this summer. And don’t forget to invite your friends; there’s no cheaper way to enjoy a perfect day.

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By Stewart Seymour (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: June 19, 2013

The great thing about living in the Lower Mainland is the great number of beaches that are nearby. Rather than bitch about how hot the weather is, you can make a trip to the beach and live a little. While some amazing beaches have been left off the list, here are some of the best beaches in the area – see if you can catch them all this summer. And don’t forget to invite your friends; there’s no cheaper way to enjoy a perfect day.

White Pine Beach

Location – Port Moody, Belcarra Park

With a sandy beach and calm waters, White Pine Beach is very popular during the summer months. A freshwater lake surrounded by plenty of trees, it makes for a great place to swim and the water is not freezing. The beach can get busy at times, but it’s still a quiet beach compared to most others.

White Rock

Location – White Rock

White Rock is a beach that nearly has it all within walking distance. This is a great beach to lounge and stroll, but you likely won’t see too many swimmers here. One popular spot is the White Rock pier, which extends 1500 feet past the shoreline. The great number of shops and restaurants make White Rock worth the trip for both day and night.

Cultus Lake

Location – Cultus Lake Provincial Park, southwest of Chilliwack

Cultus Lake is a great option as you can spend the day or the weekend but it can get busy. There are a number of campgrounds and trails in the area. Cultus has a nice sandy beach but beware, according to the BC Parks website, “swimmers itch” may be present. If you want to play it safe there is a waterslide park that will run you a few bucks.

Centennial Beach

Location – Tsawwassen, Delta

This is a beach not many people know about. The beach itself is sandy, expansive and not as crowded. When the tide is low, you can venture far out from the beach. When the tide rises, the heated sand warms the ocean water making it perfect for a swim. This is definitely a beach worth coming to in the summer. There is a concession and a restaurant here as well.

Harrison Lakes – Harrison Hot Springs

Location – Harrison Hot Springs

This is one of the largest lakes in the lower mainland. The water is slightly on the cool side but it is still a great lake to swim. It is the southern part of Harrison Lake that offers a sandy beach where the village is nearby. There is also a lagoon-type lake right on the beach as well, where the water is very warm and soothing.

Kitsilano Beach 

Location – Vancouver

Kitsilano is arguably the most popular beach in the Lower Mainland, although not the best looking. On hot summer days this place can get busy, with a young and happening crowd. There is also an abundance of grassy areas and trees to give you a break from the sun. There are lifeguards on duty too.

Alouette Lake

Location – Golden Ears Provincial Park

The advantage of choosing Alouette Lake is that it is located within Golden Ears Provincial Park. So, it can be a day or a weekend getaway. Like many provincial parks, there are campgrounds and trails nearby. There are a few beaches to choose from but if it is a sandy beach that you want, head to South Beach. There are BBQ pits and picnic tables as well. Rental facilities nearby allow you to rent canoes or kayaks if that interests you.

Spanish Banks

Location – Vancouver

This is the nicer alternative to Kitsilano and it has a great view of the city skyline. Like Kitsilano, there are beach volleyball courts, washrooms and a lifeguard on duty. Barbecues are allowed as well. There is also a grassy area if the sand gets too hot. There is plenty of parking, but this beach can get busy so try to arrive before noon.

Chilliwack Lake

Location – Chilliwack, dumbass!

The advantage to spending time at this lake is that it never gets as busy as some of the other beaches. This sandy beach itself is somewhat smaller but it still makes for a great choice to spend the day. The lake itself is quite scenic as it is surrounded by mountains. There is a boat launch and campgrounds are close by. The water is calm but it may be slightly cool even on hot summer days. Still, a great lake if you like to swim.

Wreck Beach

Location – Vancouver
Clothing – optional

The world-renowned Wreck beach is certainly not a place to be missed; it’s one of the coolest beaches in and around Vancouver. Clothing is optional and people here just want to have a good time. Hardly anyone stares. Because it’s located on UBC property—and because of a steep staircase down to the beach—the spot tends to draw a younger, free-spirited university crowd. There are plenty of vendors that sell food, clothes and jewelry; some vendors even stroll along the beach. So, if you’re looking for something a little different, head to Wreck Beach. The vibe can’t be beat.

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