Need a break from the city? Time for a daytrip! Pack a picnic and discover a new favourite beach this summer. We’ve picked our top five family-friendly (and sandy) suburban destinations:
Best kid friendly beaches outside Vancouver
Centennial Beach (Boundary Bay Regional Park), Delta
It’s hard to top Centennial Beach! The playground is awesome and the sand stretches for miles. While the breeze may be cool, toddler toes will be pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the shallow shoreline. Hours disappear while wading through the gentle eelgrass collecting clam shells (or masses of turreted mudflat snails). Parking is free, and the fantastic Beachside Cafe is open Wednesday to Sunday (10 am to 4 pm).
Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby
Stunning views of Burrard Inlet and passing boats make Barnet Beach a favourite place to relax and watch the world go by. Features include a sandy beach area and lots of picnic tables, as well as a concession and well-kept trails. Trains rumble past occasionally and the parking lot is a bit of walk from the beach (watch out for goose poop). Best part? This hidden gem is rarely crowded!
Alouette Lake, Maple Ridge
Swimming, boating, fishing, nature trails, and camping in beautiful Golden Ears Provincial Park! Surrounded by mountains, this crystal clear, freshwater lake is picturesque. Canoe/kayak/pedal boat rentals are available, but you’ll need to bring your own food and arrive early to find parking. The beach is a mix of sand and rocks, so bring your water shoes.
Crescent Beach, South Surrey
Spend the day strolling along the seaside gravel path, jumping off the swimming dock, and eating old fashioned ice cream cones. Sullivan Point is a great spot for a picnic, BBQ, or a game of beach volleyball. With free parking near Blackie’s Spit Nature Preserve, Crescent Beach is a relaxing daytrip (and less busy than White Rock Beach).
Garry Point Park, Richmond
Located beside the historic Steveston Village, this expansive waterfront park offers acres of walking trails to enjoy those incredible views of the Fraser River and Gulf Islands. Bring your fishing rod, watch the colourful fishing boats, or explore the memorial garden and marshy fields. With two concession stands, free parking, and lots of room for flying kites, it’s a beautiful family-friendly destination.
Bonus! Tucked away north of Port Moody, discover what Tri-City locals call “paradise.” En route to Belcarra Regional Park from Ioco, toss a coin and turn left for Sasamat Lake or right for Buntzen Lake. White Pine Beach (on Sasamat Lake) is one of the warmest swimming beaches in Metro Vancouver. Buntzen Lake is chillier, but the network of hiking trails is extensive and the scenery is truly spectacular. Tip: the gates close when the parking lots are full, so arrive early or be prepared to hike to the lakes!
Jeanine is a teacher, writer, and mom to two active and curious toddler boys. She has a passion for education and outdoor adventures. She loves to discover and share the best hidden parks, playgrounds, and beaches in Greater Vancouver. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her and her boys playing in the dirt or peeking under logs in the forest.