Ambleside Park - West Vancouver
Activity:Imagine this: a long sandy beach with waves big enough to body surf on. It brought back memories of our favourite beach in Maui, Kamaole III. Unfortunately the waves at Ambleside Beach are not usually this spectacular, but it still stands as one of the nicest beaches in Vancouver. It's perfect for families. Whenever we go our son brings his shovel and bucket, inflatable doughnut, fishing gear, kite, soccer ball, basketball, and skateboard. Our neighbours once thought we were going away for a week! Jen likes the playground and cheeseburgers they sell at the concession. I, myself, just like to take in the scenery, and my wife usually jumps at the chance to walk the seawall while I watch the kids. And there's no need to leave your four-legged family members behind--Ambleside has a designated area for dogs. But probably the most spectacular thing about Ambleside Beach is the view you get of the city, Stanley Park, and The Lion's Gate Bridge. It'll take your breadth away. See also Fishing - Ambleside Beach Pier - West Vancouver.
Age group:All ages.
Expense rating:Free, including parking. Although I don't think your kids will let you get away without buying them at least an ice-cream cone. (By the way they sell yogurt cones as well.)
:Ambleside has something for everyone. It even has a Par 3 course if you feel like playing a round of golf. We like Ambleside Beach because it has one of the lowest coliform counts, and the seawall is perfect for walking with kids. It's perfectly flat, and there's always a freighter or sea creature close by to distract them out of feeling tired.
:Parking can be tight on a brilliant summer's day. Also, the beach area does not offer a lot of shade. You may have to retreat to the grassy area if your little ones get too hot. This posed a problem for us when our older child was not ready to leave the sand. Luckily the concession sells a wide variety of goodies you can entice your children with.
Details:Ambleside Park is just slightly west of the Lions Gate Bridge. You can't miss it if you take the West Vancouver exit off the Lion's Gate Bridge. Just stay on Marine Drive and you'll see the beach shortly after you pass The Park Royal Shopping Mall. For information call (604) 925-7000.
Educational highlights:There's plenty to see and learn about at Ambleside Beach. The water has freighters laden with containers coming and going from the third busiest port in North America. As well, you can see fishing boats, cruise ships, water planes, and don't forget the crabs!
Fun for the adult?:Where else can you go for a coffee, stroll along the seawall, go swimming, fishing, play golf, take your dog for a walk, and watch your kids have a barrel of fun?
Ambleside beach with the Lions Gate bridge in the background
The old Ferry Building now features local artists