Perfect for Everyone
Original Article by Vancouver Sun
B.C. beaches range from rocky and remote to white- sand balmy to inland lakes perfect for water-skiing
Think of a beach in British Columbia, and you probably imagine the steady cadence of waves crashing against a rocky shoreline. What about warm water and white sand? Or urban gems that boast striking views of the city? In B.C., there’s a beach that’s perfect for everyone, from lazy sun lovers to active thrill seekers.
Few know the pull of the ocean like Charles McDiarmid. “My childhood was a bit like Huckle- berry Finn’s,” says McDiarmid, who’s spent most of his 50-plus years on one of British Columbia’s iconic beaches. Long before there was a road across Vancouver Island to the west coast, he was building sand castles and beachcombing the endless strands outside Tofino. The McDiarmids went on to build the Wickaninnish Inn in 1996 on land that the family patriarch pur- chased on Chesterman Beach. “We especially loved winter storms, when the entertainment was compliments of Mother Nature.” At “the Wick,” the McDiarmids created a Storm Watchers experience for getting up close and personal with winter’s gale-force winds and thundering waves, après-storm Driftwood Café, and a fireplace in — and sea view from — every room.
Those wild Pacific Ocean waves also prompted a surfing craze at Mystic Beach in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, near Victoria on the Island’s southern tip. A 2.5-kilometre (1.5-mile) hike through mossy rainforest and across a suspension bridge ends at a dramatic, bluff-lined beach with caves, a rock arch and a magical waterfall plummeting right to the sand, perfect for a post-surfing shower. [Sandcut Beach pictured]
Other B.C. beaches are almost tropical, with glittering turquoise waters and white sand. Tribune Bay on Hornby Island in the Gulf Islands, accessible by ferry from Vancouver Island’s east coast, is nicknamed “Little Hawaii.” In summer, it’s sun-warmed to balmy temperatures, and only a five-minute walk to the island’s funky village.
Another beach has — believe it or not — the warmest water north of Mexico. Savary Island, off the Sunshine Coast northwest of Vancouver, requires a short water taxi trip from the town of Lund. Foot passengers only, but take a bike or a kayak to explore the kilometre- wide and 7.5 kilometre-long island with its forest roads, sand dunes, and meadows.
Often you’ll have one of dozens of crystal-clear aquamarine beaches to yourself.
For those who prefer water-skiing and warmer water, the Thompson Okanagan region’s many lakes are summer-vacation heaven.
Seymour Arm, part of Shuswap Lake with its 1,000-kilometre shoreline, features waterfalls that cascade through a spectacular series of pools behind Albas Beach in Shuswap Lake Marine Provincial Park.
It’s a remote place, not easily accessible — after a two-hour boat trip from Sicamous (or a three- hour forestry-road drive from Salmon Arm), a three-kilometre loop trail leads to sandy Albas Beach, where a waterfall-cooled plunge awaits you.