“Beaches in Vancouver aren’t eye-pleasant, this one is no exception.” (Note: we’re using one-star reviews on Google for all of the top 10 parks)
#2 in West End
1204 Beach Avenue
This Website: Let’s talk about the particular ways Sunset Beach is better than English Bay Beach.
Ultimately, they’re both on the same stretch of waterfront, with tourists, West End residents and nearby Vancouverites all competing for the same real estate. There’s beach volleyball courts at both, washrooms at both, people everywhere at both.
But while they both have comparable sand and views, Sunset Beach provides more things to more people than English Bay Beach.
A big reason is all the grassy areas between you hang out on at Sunset Beach between Beach Avenue and the sand — it means it’s a park for more than just beach bums, and is a big reason why the beach became home in pre-pandemic times to events like the end of the Pride parade and the 4/20 rally.
English Bay Beach has little parking; Sunset has quite a bit. In English Bay, the bike path is back on the street, far from the ocean; in Sunset it integrates into the park (or did in pre-pandemic times), getting close to the water and adding to the liveliness. Sunset has a small off-leash dog area; English Bay does not. English Bay has geese; Sunset Beach has a ball hockey court. Sunset Beach has the giant engagement ring sculpture and the giant steel arc, English Bay has a Cactus Club.
We’re being uncharitable for effect; English Bay ultimately is a darn fine park, has accessible Mobi-Mats, and that fun slide into the water. And neither park has much for kids if they don’t enjoy the beach.
But Sunset Beach feels like a community asset, one fully formed — the fact it’s a downtown beach with amazing views is part of its selling point, not its entire reason for existing.
It doesn’t have the tourist attention of English, the summer crowds of Kits, the pure beach vibes of Spanish Banks.
It doesn’t matter — Sunset is great.