Spanish Banks Beach


Spanish Banks has been a long time favourite for us. Billy and I used to come here a lot back in our university days. In fact it used to be one of our favourite dating spot…And now with the two kiddos, we definitely want them to love this place as much as we do!

Beach Condition

This is a beautiful beach with a gorgeous view of the Burrard Inlet with the North Shore Mountains as the backdrop. The best thing about this beach is it’s wide long stretch of sandy beach area, which is perfect for social distancing from other beach goers and great for a whole day picnic outing with the kids. Our little ones love running around bare feet on the fluffy sand and building sand castles.

There is also a compact gravel trail that runs along the beaches, which is a part of the famous Seawall of Vancouver. This is perfect for cycling so you will be sharing path with a few cyclists here. Only at certain sections will the pedestrians and cyclists paths be separated. Of course our little biker cannot resist zooming down this path with his beloved blue bike.

Spanish Banks is about 2km in length, stretching from Locarno Beach to its east and ending at the off-leash dog area in the west. If you continue on North West Marine Drive, you will eventually reach UBC. Or you can hop across Marine Drive and join the trail network of Pacific Spirit Park.

Other Activities

Other than enjoying the sandy beach and cycling on the trail, there are many activities you can do here. Water activities are very popular especially during the hot summer months. There is a designated swim area with lifeguards on duty. You can also kayak, paddleboard, skim board, and even launch a kiteboard here. Just keep in mind that the water here may be choppy and during low tide, the water can be up to 1Km off shore. To find out more on paddle boarding here, check out Billy’s post here.

Spanish Banks at low tide, the water can be 1km off shore. The canoeist found out the hard way.
Apparently boxing is also one of the activities you can find at Spanish Banks.

We hung out with our good friends Leo, Susanna, and their girls at Spanish Banks a couple of times and had a nice socially distanced picnic meal. BBQ is also permitted on Spanish Banks but we didn’t prepare that.

Beach volleyball is also very popular here as there are 8 volleyball courts on the west side and another 8 courts on the east. The court area is always very crowded, so we usually avoid staying too close but just temporarily stop and watch these amazing (and very fit) athletes practicing their art here.

If you are an art lover, there is a small section of outdoor art installation display, which showcase some unique benches made from logs and branches. Junior had fun walking on these as if they are balance beams.

Junior on one of the public art installations.

There are several picnic tables and benches along the way. You can also find two concession stands (one towards the west and another at the east side) on the beach. And if you are still worried about not enough food, there will be occasional food trucks parked alongside the gravel paved trail. You can sometimes catch the famous Japadog food truck here. This is definitely a family friendly beach to spend the whole day.

One of the best ways to enjoy Spanish Banks is just going on a stroll with a mat, and set up wherever your heart desires. The boys were even cooperative enough to take a synchronized nap on the double stroller.

Pets

Dogs are not allowed in the sandy beach area but are fine at the gravel paved trail if leashed. Towards the west side of the beach there is a big open grassy area for off leash dogs.

Breastfeeding

There are a few benches and picnic tables along the way. However, many of these chairs face heavily trafficked pedestrian and cyclists path, which may not be the best for breastfeeding. It’s best to bring a picnic mat and find a quieter spot for feeding, or sit on one of the logs that face the beach.

Washroom

There are a few washrooms along the beach, especially close to the concession stands. Close to the West concession stand, there is also a sprinkler area to rinse off those sands.

Parking

The beach can get busy on a warm sunny day; however, since the beach is pretty long, and there are several free and pay parking spaces along the way, you can still find parking spaces here.


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