Wreck Beach, Vancouver
One of my favorite beaches in the world because the sub-culture and community that it embraces and its location in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia. For the years that I lived in the area it was my weekend spot during the warm months and even in the fall/winter evenings a remote spot where we could have rituals, campfires, fire spinning, and beach parties. Wreck is one of the world's most popular clothing-optional beaches. It is located in the Pacific Spirit Regional Park which encompasses the University of British Columbia Endowment lands on the western shores of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The beach itself stretches 6.5 km from Acacia Beach to the north and the Booming Grounds Creek. The beach is well marked as a "clothing optional" beach and is administered by the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). Most of the beach is rocky but the proper main beach is a large sandy stretch where people do beach activities, swim, play volleyball & frisbee, sunbathe, and socialize. Part of Wreck Beach has an area where dog owners can unleash their pets. Smelt fishing is also done here during smelt season. Wreck Beach connects with Acadia Beach (accessible from a parking lot on Marine Drive) that has a grassy area with picnic tables; Tower Beach which is accessible by Trail 3; and Point Grey by the steeper Trail 4 located by the Museum of Anthropology. It's possible to walk along the entire stretch during low tide. Tower Beach has two tall concrete gun towers from WWII. The rainforest creates a boundary from Marine drive down through the cliffs up to the ocean's edge in some places minus Wreck Beach proper with its large sand bar and banks. Bald Eagles, Kingfishers, Sea Lions, Seals, and nesting herons can often be seen here. There has been sightings of Orcas in the past. Wreck Beach proper has the most developed trail in the area leading down the bluff to the sand - the stairs number approximately 400 steps. Wreck Beach is also home to an enormous community of naturalists and nudists who caretake the beach and police the area making it safe. There are some legal vendors down below that sell clothing, drinks, snacks, sunscreen, sarongs, and cooked food. However, Wreck Beach is most notoriously known for its black market vending of alcohol, cocktails, marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, and LSD. Local law enforcement police the area often to crackdown on the black market which is so openly available that contributes to Vancouver's reputation of being the "Amsterdam of North America" even though none of the subtle wares and substances are legal in British Columbia. Its difficult for the police to crack down on the illegal substances here because the community that sells them keeps a watchful eye for them and warns everyone when they are spotted. Nudity is legal on the beach and its an openly 'clothing optional' family location. This is not a adult beach. Families, children, parents, teenagers, and adults can be found enjoying the beach. Most beach-goers go nude, regardless of age or sex. Often, the clothed will feel out of place. Because the beach is located by the University of British Columbia, alot of students can be found at the beach. Wreck beach is publically accessible. It can be accessed via road, water, and public buses. TransLink runs a number of bus routes (4, 9, 17, 25, 33, 41, 43, 44, 49, 84, 99, 258, and 480) to the UBC bus loop. From there it is a five-minute walk west, down University Boulevard, to UBC Gate 6 (from which Trail 6 takes it name). Turn right on N.W. Marine Drive and the trail is immediately to the left about 100 meters. From Highway 99, turn west on one of these roads: S.W. Marine Drive, 41st Avenue (which eventually merges onto S.W. Marine Drive) or 16th Avenue (which eventually ends at S.W. Marine Drive, then turn right). Alternatively, from the north only, take the 4th Avenue exit off the Granville Street Bridge (then from 4th Avenue, turn right on N.W. Marine Drive). From Highway 1, take the Grandview Highway exit (28A) westbound (this eventually becomes 12th Avenue), turn right (north) on Clark Drive, left again (west) on 6th Avenue (this eventually becomes 4th Avenue), and then turn right on N.W. Marine Drive. There are toilets at the top and base of the stairs. There is no running water. [synopsis composed with data from above wikipedia link]
One of the world's most famous 'clothing optional' beaches is one of my most favorite natural locations in all of my worldly travels. Especially during the day and summer, my memories are a whirl-wind of fun from the days I've lived here and the times I visited. Of course, during the winter months, and evenings, like today's visit, there is no absence of clothing. But during the warm days, 95% of the population is stripped down, and you definitely can get sun, surf, and full body tan taken care of in one. Plus a moderate temperature ocean experience where you can actually go swimming. Sure during the winter months, crazy Vancouverites who are members of the Polar Bear club will take a frisky naked dip, especially to ring in the New Year. During the day, vendors galore from legal merchants selling freshly prepared Vegetarian and/or wild game grub (like Venison, Buffalo, Elk burgers), Sarongs, and beach stuff ... there are the 'illegal' vendors who sell chocolate covered mushrooms, pot, margarita's, beer, and mixed drinks. Of course, this kind of vending is illegal and not tolerated, apparently often cracked down on, even though to access Wreck Beach, is a long, panting climb down a series of several hundred stops - so most law enforcement don't have the lungs to keep running up and down the staircase. Lots of activities and community fun always takes place at Wreck Beach, and sometimes even night time bonfires, fire spinning, and beach parties take place. If you're a naturalist, this is definitely a place not to miss. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
By far the most relaxed and beautiful beach in Vancouver, Wreck Beach is a must to visit when in the area. Even if you aren't into naturism, the atmosphere is better than anything closer to the downtown core (Wreck Beach is about a 10 min drive west of downtown). Here you can relax in the sunshine, get a haircut or massage, get your body painted (clothes permitting), or take in the surrounding nature. There are food vendors on the beach (Nudius Foodius is my favorite) and you can buy beach blankets and clothing by local artists. There are also vendors that walk the beach selling anything from ice cold beer and organic drinks to cookies and jewelry. You can find Wreck Beach right below UBC down trail6. Just keep in mind that you'll have to climb the 400 stairs when you leave.
Best tip: Don't bring a camera
When you leave, remember to take up all your garbage...leave nothing behind.
If you can, stay for the sunset...it's quite spectacular and sometimes entertaining...remember that nudists are sun worshippers and they thank the sun as it goes down by cheering and singing.
Wreck beach is Vancouver's nude beach. No, you don't have to be nude to go there, but ogling is definitely frowned upon!
It's a very relaxing way to spend a summer day, with everything from cold beer to grand marnier-soaked crepes available from beach vendors (also generally unclothed). Be prepared though, the world is not really full of 'Baywatch' babes.
Go out to UBC (University of BC) via SW marine drive, park roadside (if you can find a spot) or take the bus, and head down Trail 6. Bring running shoes, as the trail is steep and a long descent to the beach.
Also, do not swim here, there's a sewage outflow pipe somewhere around (but there is no odor in the air, don't worry).
Vancouver is blessed with about 56 kilometres (35 miles) of beaches, all of them public, most of them developed. They are all worth visiting, but Wreck Beach, just some hundred steps below the University of British Columbia, is the most beautiful, the least developed and the most controversial because it is clothing optional. On sunny days more than a thousand naked sun worshipers can congregate here. The beach's name was given it for the now vanished hulk of a wrecked vessel here.
One of the places most tourists miss that is really very very cool is Wreck Beach. This is the most popular nude beach in the area. In addition to a relaxed attitude towards clothing, this is probably the only place in Vancouver where they are a little more lax about liquor and other substances. There is a sense of community about the place and lots of vendors selling things like cocktails, jamaican patties, fruit, cold beers, etc. Often you see musicians playing. Lots of families and dogs as well. You don't have to go naked if you don't want, but it is rude to just go and leer and obvious leerers are often asked to leave. They have an annual naked run and they have invented a sport I have never seen anywhere else called Beerball which is sort of a full contact wrestling/rugby/basketball thing that is truly a something to see.