White Rock is one of Metro Vancouver’s top beachside towns, with more yearly sunshine than the rest of Vancouver. It’s a short drive from the big city, the perfect place to escape for an afternoon. When the tide recedes, there is a sandy playground that reveals itself twice a day. There are many great bars and restaurants to visit before, during or after your time at the beach. “Canada’s longest Pier” was just reopened along White Rock’s seaside promenade (after being destroyed by a windstorm a few winters back), so the time to visit is now.
Located in the south-west of Vancouver’s lower mainland, this beachside community is a secluded getaway from the big city. White Rock is a distinct and separate community from the rest of South Surrey, but you would have a hard time recognizing the boundaries between the two. It is the most popular spot to visit in the area, and has the most beautiful (and longest) stretch of waterfront. The railroad tracks which lead to the United States still separate the town from the water, and there are daily reminders of it’s historical importance as the trains still run along here on a regular basis. Alongside nearby Crescent Beach, this is one of our favourite places located South of the Fraser River.
We took several trips here during the previous winter, which we spent living in Ladner, on the other side of Boundary Bay. Especially once we discovered a great little fish and chips restaurant along the strip, we found a few excuses to make the short trip along highway 99. During the year of no travel, this became the perfect place for us to escape for a few hours.
What makes White Rock Beach so amazing?
The beach at White Rock is what makes this place great to visit. Semiahmoo Bay is what separates Canada from the USA , and when the tide recedes, there are many great sandbars that appear. There are several great places to stop for food along the promenade and plenty of benches to enjoy lunch with a view. White Rock has always been an escape from the big city.
For us, this was a great place for us to take our dog for a walk on the sandy beach on some of the warmer afternoons in February and March. It was just far enough from home to make it feel like we were on an adventure.
The region has been inhabited by the Semiahmoo people long before the first Europeans began to settle here in the 1800s. It has quickly grown to become one of the fastest growing suburbs of Vancouver, especially as transportation to the city centers of Vancouver and Surrey becomes easier.
In the early 1900s the railroad connected people from Vancouver to this seaside spot. As cars began to appear – and the nearby Peace Arch border crossing opening in the 1920s – solidified the importance of this area. It quickly became a tourist attraction and weekend escape for people living in Vancouver.
The history of the city is tied to the train tracks that carry goods from the United States to Canada. This train tracks still cut across the beachside – and trains pass by several times a day – but today they’re shared this area alongside the walking paths and parking lots separate the city of White Rock from the beach.