Top 4 clothing-optional beaches in B.C.

It’s almost fall, but in BC, the weather stays nice and warm a little longer than the rest of the country. Those gloomy winter rains are coming fast, though—so before you break out the umbrella, get a little sun on your nether regions with the province’s best clothing-optional beaches. (Just remember to wear sunscreen!)

While these are just a taste of BC’s clothing-optional scene, you can find more information, as well as detailed directions, at Clothing Optional BC.

Wreck Beach

Located in Vancouver’s Pacific Spirit Regional Park below the UBC campus, Wreck Beach was Canada’s first legal clothing-optional beach. (It’s still one of only two official nude beaches in the entire country.) Popular with weekend partiers and university students, the beach, especially the main section, has a “festive” atmosphere on Saturdays and Sundays and, while the natural scenery is lovely, isn’t really recommended for families with children.  

Crescent Rock Beach (Ocean Park Bluffs)

According to Clothing Optional BC, three areas along Surrey’s Crescent Rock Beach have been used by nude sunbathers for more than 50 years. Crescent Rock is marked by an enormous boulder, and has 200 metres of bluffs that hide this section from the view of the main beach and the train tracks. Crescent Rock Beach, mile 126 (marked on the railway, but out of sight of trains), has raised beach beds above the high tide line. Crescent Rock Beach, mile 124/125 is also popular with naturists, but isn’t quite as private as the other locations—so seek out a different spot if you’re a little shy. Wherever you go, be aware that the train tracks are active and use appropriate caution.

Barnston Island

Located on the eastern point of Barnston Island in the Fraser River, the “Barnston Bare Beach” is a public access beach owned by Metro Vancouver, and a traditional spot for nude sunbathing and beach volleyball. It’s recommended to leave your car on the mainland and bring your bike via ferry to the island for a scenic 10-kilometre ride—but save the nudity for the beach.

Interested in trying a clothing-optional beach, but unsure of the etiquette and legality? No worries—you’re not the only one. According to the Federation of Canadian Naturists, nudity is legal on private property as long as you can’t be seen by others outside the property. And while general public nudity is technically illegal, nude sunbathing or swimming on an isolated beach tends not to be challenged by authorities. If you’re a woman, going topless is legal in Ontario and British Columbia.

And as for etiquette—use your common sense. Don’t stare. Remember that other people are probably too busy having a good time to notice your belly pooch or varicose veins. And enjoy the last days of summer with the feel of the sun on your skin—all your skin.