Back-to-school ads are on the radio and TV and we are holding on to this month for dear life, determined to get every last drop of summer out of August.
While the airports and travel are in chaos it might be worth looking to our own backyard for a place to enjoy the last of the summer sun. British Columbia has tens of thousands of kilometres of coastline. Vancouver itself has nine beaches which offer 18 km of outdoor space, including one of which was named among the top 10 in Canada by Lonely Planet. That's not to mention the thousands of lakes and rivers to be found inland across the province.
We have rounded up eight of our favourite B.C. beaches for sunbathing, swimming, water sports, and exploring that we think are worth adding to your list of last-minute summer plans.
At low tide, the beach at Spanish Banks stretches on for a kilometre before you reach the water. Located along Northwest Marine Dr the beach is composed of three distinct sections, east, west, and extension. It's one of the most popular beaches in Vancouver so it can get quite crowded but some people prefer a more lively vibe for their beach days without reaching drum circle levels. Parking is $3.50 an hour or $13 for the day and from now until labour day there is a water wheelchair available.
White Pine Beach
White Pine Beach is in the northeastern corner of Sasamat Lake which is one of the warmest lakes in Metro Vancouver. Located 11 km north of Port Moody it's a popular spot in the summer for swimming. White Pine Beach also connects with a larger trail system wrapping around Sasamat Lake most of it is relatively flat and there are several beachy spots along the trail where people can access the water.
Buccaneer Bay Provincial Park
Thomanby Island is a bit of a trek since it's only accessible by boat but once you're on the Sunshine Coast it's only a short water taxi journey from Secret Cove and you may even encounter some orcas along the way. The water is shallow and warm along the sandy shoreline which is officially called Buccaneer Bay Provincial Park and at night there are phosphorescence in the water and endless stars above. There are a few tent pads along the shore but it's first come first serve so it's best to go during the week to secure a spot, otherwise it makes for a great day trip.
Davis Bay is on a bend of highway between Roberts Creek and Sechelt. It hosts an annual sandcastle building competition and when the tide is out it's a great place to skimboard. The adjoining pier often has people dropping crab traps off of the end. The unobstructed view across the water to Vancouver Island is a beautiful place to catch the sunset or watch windsurfers. And the Wobbly Canoe has an awesome patio and happy hour for when the sun gets too much.
Cape Scott Provincial Park
Cape Scott has over 30 kilometres of remote beachfront connected by the rugged rugged North Coast Trail. Nels Bight and San Josef Bay are the most pristine of the remote beaches in the park and are appropriate for swimming, canoeing, and kayaking. Fishing is also permitted in the park with a licence. San Josef Bay has soft sand and beautiful sea stacks, rock formations springing from the ground, topped with baby trees and is accessible by a one-hour hike. Plus you can camp directly on the beach.
Tofino gets a lot of attention and rightly so, Long Beach was just named one of the top 100 beaches in the world. But there is one beach that is loved by locals and often overlooked by tourists with a sand spit that stretches out to Frank Island where there's an Eagles nest that's been there for years and hosts babies each spring. It's only accessible at low tide but even when it's covered Chesterman Beach is full of other things to see. Tidal pools bursting with sea stars, anemones and other marine life, the Wickaninnish Carving Shed, surfers catching waves and bright kites following the gales are all sights to look out for.
This lakeside beach is one of the most well-known and popular in Kelowna but that just means it has all of the amenities within reach. Boyce-Gryo Beach is equipped with concession stands, a rope swing, volleyball courts, a children's playground with a waterpark, equipment rentals, picnic areas and a public washroom. It's a great spot for adults looking to lounge but with small kids in tow who need things to entertain them.
Okanagan Lake Beach
There are a lot of reasons to visit Okanagan Lake Beach in Penticton. It's a sandy beach with a swimming area, floating docks and children’s slides with a nearby inflatable water park. There are also shady spots, wheelchair-access ramps, public fire pits, washrooms, and free parking. Plus if you want to mix culture with relaxation the S.S. Sicamous Museum and Heritage Park is at the end of the beach, the renovated paddlewheel ferry boat used to carry passengers up and down Okanagan Lake. The real draw however is you can pick up a bottle of wine and charcuterie box to go at one of the local wineries and enjoy it at the beach because Penticton recently became the only city in the Okanagan to allow drinking on beaches.