The 6 Best Beaches and Parks in BC to Visit with Your Dog

As fall is fast approaching, you might be wishing for a few more beach days to spend exploring, sunbathing, and relaxing with your furry bestie. Today, we will discuss the best beaches and parks to visit with your dog - whether you’re looking for a short daytrip or a whole weekend away enjoying the sand and surf.

Short and Sweet – Best day trips to local beaches in and around Vancouver

Hadden Park/Kits Dog Beach – Between Kits beach and Granville Island

    Many local dog owners consider this beach a small piece of paradise in the heart of the city. It’s right in Vancouver (but not as busy as the two places that border it), it has lots of driftwood logs to sit on, sunny and shady sections, and its near enough to the parking lot at Kits beach that walking there isn’t unreasonable. The vibe here is calm and it’s a great place to relax with Fido and watch the waves.

    Spanish Banks Beach – Pacific Spirit Park

    If you’re looking for a more active place to play with your dog and have a fun day out, Spanish Banks is more likely your style. This beach is near the entrance of Pacific Spirit Park on NW Marine Drive. 

    Here you will find a long expanse of flat, pebble-covered beach that’s great for playing fetch. After fetch and taking a swim, if you and your dog are still up for more adventures there are also several kilometers of mountain trails nearby with a great view of the seawall. Even better? After working up an appetite, you and your pooch can visit the outdoor walk-up concession stands for lunch! 

    Ambleside Dog off-leash area – West Vancouver

    Although this park is a bit of a drive, it is well worth it. Here, your dog will be in 7th heaven as they enjoy 9 acres of grassy fields, hills, trails, and beach front. 

    This park has a lot of space to play and explore and could easily be a day trip. Many owners enjoy packing a picnic (and maybe letting their K9 buddy steal some of their sandwich!) and then letting their dog frolic all day with the many dogs that visit here. For the two-legged’s, there is also a great view of Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge. 

    Weekend Warrior – Best beach getaways when you have the whole weekend

    Canine Cove at Lost Lake – Whistler

    If you’re looking for a weekend away in the mountains with your dog, you have to check out Canine Cove - the designated dog off-leash area - at Lost Lake in Whistler. This area can be found just five minutes from the parking lot of Lost Lake. 

    This beach seems designed for dogs: its large and has a gradual slope to reach the water for puppies, seniors, or breeds that are more into wadding than swimming (Pugs and English bulldogs – this beach is for you!). 

    For dogs that love to swim, there is a special dog dock that both owners and dogs can swim out to. The dock even has a ramp allowing dogs to swim up and climb on by themselves.

    After doing some swimming and sunbathing, there are also several nice hiking trails at this Lake. Although the trails are on-leash only, the views of the forest and lake are breathtaking and well-worth the trip. If you want a short walk, the loop trail takes about half-hour to complete. 

    If you’re hungry at the lake after your hike (and you forgot to pack a picnic), there is a concession stand available most of the year. In the summer, there are also food trucks visit the lake in the – click here to see the food truck schedule.

    After a long day at the lake, one of the best dog-friendly hotels to rest and rejuvenate at is Crystal Lodge. The Lodge provides owners with a dog bowl, blanket, towel, dog bags, and a treat upon arrival. Owners are also allowed to leave quiet dogs in a crate in the rooms – allowing the humans to leave their tired and happy pooch so they can visit the spa or check out one of the great local restaurants.   

    Sunshine Coast trails and dog parks - Sunshine Coast

    If you’d prefer an oceanside weekend instead of a lakeside one, you should check out the Sunshine Coast on Vancouver Island. This area is full of dog lovers, both local and tourists. 

    There are many outdoor adventures to be had, some on-leash and some off. Since there are so many hiking trails in this area, check out this link to find the best one for you and your dog based on how long you want to hike and how much challenge you’re looking for. Want to visit a large off-leash area? Check out Kinnikinnick Park.

    In terms of access to the beach with your dog after all that hiking, the best place to stay with a dog here is at the Sunshine Coast Resort (which is above Schelt and below Saltry bay geographically). These guys have their own private beach where dogs are allowed, as well as their own large off-leash area on the property. 

    If you have a few more days to visit the island, or you want to go on a more far-flung adventure, be sure to check out the Powell River community, as its very dog friendly. For social butterfly’s (both canine and human), join the locals at Townsite Park on Sundays from about 11:00am-12:30pm for an informal dog play group for dogs of all sizes! 

    That concludes our list of great day trips and weekend getaways. Take a look, pick one, and get out there and get exploring (or relaxing) with your furry best friend - so you can both stretch out those long, warm, summer days just a little bit longer!

    – Carly Piatocha, Only One Treats Contributor