Summer is most definitely the best time of the year to explore the various water destinations in and around Vancouver. While popular beaches such as English Bay and Kitsilano Beach garner huge amounts of traffic daily, if you’re looking for an all-immersive, nature heavy (rather than people and vendor heavy) water experience, perhaps you should opt for a lake day instead. Often surrounded by lush forests and a bevy of hiking trails, many lakes promise for more interesting physical activity options too. To top it off, a swim in a fresh water lake will definitely beat a dip in salty ocean waters any day. Without further ado, let’s take a look at 4 lakes that you should explore this summer:
1) Garibaldi Lake:
Although definitely a bit of a drive from Vancouver, this beautiful, turquoise coloured alpine lake is certainly worth the trip. Located in between Squamish and Whistler, within the Garibaldi Provincial Park, Garibaldi Lake is a sight to behold. When coupled with its surrounding mountains, hiking trails, glaciers, meadows, and waterfalls, this really is a prime destination for a dose of all the natural wonders British Columbia has to offer. While the Garibaldi Lake Trail promises for a great work out (expect 820 meters of elevation in 9 km and an 18 km round trip), the available campgrounds and day-use shelters located on the lake’s west shores also provide lodging options if you wish to spend some extra time exploring the area.
2) Buntzen Lake:
Located in Amore, British Columbia, Buntzen Lake is a great place to visit for both recreational purposes as well as physical activity. Surrounded by various hiking trails, of which the most famous is probably Diez Vistas, you will certainly be faced with many options when choosing your preferred hiking route. A dog friendly destination to visit, bring your furry pal along for the hike and relax together on the beach, looking out at calm waters afterwards. Because Buntzen Lake can get fairly busy on weekends, if you’re looking to hike as a cardio alternative, then come on a weekday (but hey, feel free to grab a barbeque and your friends for a weekend day of fun at the lake too!).
3) Sasamat Lake/ White Pine Beach:
With a floating bridge marking its Southern-most point, and White Pine Beach marking its Northern-most point, Sasamat Lake is the best alternative on this list to the classic “beach” option- we’re talking English Bay, Kitsilano, and the like. Surrounded by forests and located in Belcarra Regional Park, White Pine Beach is the perfect weekend lake getaway destination. Nothing beats the feeling of swimming in clean lake waters, and if you’ve got a canoe or kayak, bring it along for a boating adventure! If you're more into hiking, the Sasamat Lake Trail is an easy route that you can jog and make a cardio workout out of. Of course, if you just want to sunbathe, White Pine beach is the place to do so.
4) Rocky Point Park:
While Rocky Point is not a lake by any means, this park still makes the list for the variety of activities that it offers on and off the water. Situated along the Burrard Inlet in Port Moody, Rocky Point Park is a wonderful alternative to the busy piers located near and in Downtown Vancouver. With various amenities within the park such as an outdoor pool and jogging/hiking trails, but with a major emphasis on boating: canoeing or sailing, you can be sure that you’ll receive the same memorable experience on the water as you would somewhere busier. Just don’t be surprised to be greeted by a sea critter or two!
Written By: Anna Zhao
Images Courtesy Of: Mike Crane & picaday via Flickr [dot] Com, and Mike Chow of MikeChow [dot] Com