For the urban dweller who needs a quick escape or lunch break in the sun, the Sunset and English Bay beaches are perfect. Minutes from downtown, these beaches offer concession stands, washrooms, lifeguard-patrolled waters, and a paved walking/biking trail that links them all together.
The first of the three beaches is the Dog Beach. Technically considered a part of Sunset Beach, the Dog Beach is a stretch of sand starting at the Burrard Bridge and ending at the point of the first crescent. Although not big, it's a great place to take the dogs to swim, play, and socialize.
The rest of Sunset Beach has soft white sand. Large logs that have drifted ashore are placed along the beach to add a little privacy. A concession stand serves food and beverages and is attached to the lifeguard station and public restrooms.
Less than 800 meters down the famous Seawall path is historic English Bay. Originally called "Ayyulshun," meaning "soft under feet" in Salish, the beach was renamed English Bay to commemorate the meeting of Spanish and British explorers. Larger than Sunset Beach, English Bay has amenities such as a water slide, canoe and paddleboard rentals, and a beachside restaurant that overlooks the bay.
A great spot for watching the summer fireworks or catching some rays, the beach at English Bay also has an interesting shoreline teeming with birds and wildlife, so it is a great spot for beach combing and photography. If you're lucky you may even see whales come in close to the shore.