Wreck Beach is a clothing-optional beach
situated just outside of Vancouver
, British Columbia
. It is a six kilometre stretch of waterfront
on the property of the University of British Columbia
, between the West Spanish Banks
and the Musquem Reserve
. Wreck Beach gets its name from a large shipwreck which was once situated on the sand.
Though not the only legal clothing-optional beach in Canada, it was the first, and is the largest. There is at least one other legal "nude beach" in British Columbia: Cedar Creek Park, in Kelowna. Wreck Beach is legally open from 8h00 to sundown.
Access is by one of four trails; Trails 3, 4, 6 and 7.
In the case of trails 4 and 6, one must carefully descend 60 metres of sand-covered staircase, through a beautiful forested gully. Trail 4 takes one down behind UBC's Museum of Anthropology to a remote section with many rocks underfoot, and a great many trees. Trail 6 takes one down to the area known as Vendors' Row, where there is a long rock breakwater, and a sandy beach full of logs and people. When the tide rises, it is difficult to get from the base of either of these two trails to the other.
The water is salty, but not overly so, as the fresh water of the Fraser River mixes with English Bay and the Strait of Georgia. There is quite a variety of bird life, including Great Blue Herons, and eagles. Dogs are not legally permitted on the beach, but at any time there are usually four or five. Sometimes herons die for this.
The beach, not actually in Vancouver proper, is in "electoral district A," and is regulated by the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
Though access to the beach is only permitted during the hours of daylight, summers maintain an almost permanent population of regulars who sleep hidden in the woods. Similarly, bylaws do not permit lighting campfires.
The organisation that represents the natural character of the beach is the Wreck Beach Preservation Society.
There are quite alot of vendors circulating the area, calling out their trade: "Mikes Hard Lemonade, Buds, Kokannee, cold beer, last call - Jamaican punch, cold water, fruit juice wit' a little kick in it, cold slushies, hot pizza, pork buns, weed." In the section called Vendor's Row, there are also pavilion tents erected for the preparation and sale sandwiches, burgers, and grilled Peruvian food.