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Experience in Whiterock
Outdoors

A seaside day in sunny White Rock

Environment Canada data shows that White Rock does in fact get more sunshine than its big city neighbour, Vancouver—and there’s no better place to take advantage of those extra rays than at the beach.

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White Rock is where I grew up, and I spent many happy teenaged days strolling along the beach, hanging out at the pier, and watching the cool kids “cruise” in their cars along Marine Drive. It’s a lovely little beach town that’s more than worth the short drive from Vancouver.

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Christina Newberry is an award-winning travel writer whose work has appeared in British Airways High Life, Preferred Travel, Roads & Kingdoms, and The Globe and Mail.

What you need to know

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Who is it for

Families

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When to visit

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Time needed

Full Day

To enjoy its suroundings

What to bring

Jacket

Good walking shoes

Picnic blanket

Distance to major centres

# km from Victoria

Travel times from Downtown Vancouver

# km from Victoria

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A seaside day in sunny White Rock


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Step back in time at the White Rock Museum & Archives

Located along the promenade in a charming 1913-built train station, the White Rock Museum & Archives is the place to learn about the history of Semiahmoo Bay. The permanent “City By the Salish Sea” exhibition tells the story of the Semiahmoo First Nation—the first residents of this land—through artifacts, photos, and multimedia elements. There’s also plenty to learn about the railway, and how its development paralleled the growth of the town itself. But perhaps the best part of a visit to this little museum is the chance to explore the gift shop. It’s a really beautifully curated collection of products from local craftspeople and artists, along with stun

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Step back in time at the White Rock Museum & Archives

Explore its collections

Hosted by White Rock Museum & Archives

Head uptown to the local breweries

When White Rock locals say “downtown,” they mean Vancouver. So, White Rock’s central shopping area is instead called “uptown.” This is where you’ll find the local breweries. White Rock Beach Beer Company is the city’s first craft brewery, and it remains a local favourite with brews named for local landmarks like Oxford Hill (a Hefeweizen honouring White Rock’s steepest street up from the beach, on which I wore out a pair of shoes as a kid). Just around the corner you’ll find 3 Dogs Brewing, where the brew names take a decidedly canine turn (think Short Tail Pale Ale). Don’t miss the 3 Dogs soft pretzel made with spent grain from the brewing process.

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Head uptown to the local breweries

A glass of beer in the downtown

Hosted by White Rock Beach Beer Company

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Grab a bite overlooking the bay

With your thirst sated, it’s time to address your hunger. Head back down to Marine Drive, the street that runs along White Rock Beach, and you’re spoiled for choice for waterfront dining options. For dine-in, my favourite spot since way back in the days when I used to help my friends haul musical instruments up the back stairs is the Washington Avenue Grill. Better known as “the WAG,” this popular East Beach restaurant housed in a 1913-built former lumber mill has a beautiful airy solarium overlooking Semiahmoo Bay, along with an impressive patio. A perfect place to toast your perfect day on White Rock Beach, it’s a prime spot to feast on seafood specialities

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Grab a bite overlooking the bay

Get some snack at

Hosted by Washington Avenue Grill

Stroll the beachfront promenade

Locals talk about White Rock Beach as two separate areas: East Beach and West Beach, separated by a large hill known as “the hump.” East Beach is the sleepier of the two sides, and perfect for families with its vast stretches of sandy shore when the tide is out—it feels like the water retreats almost all the way to the U.S. side of the bay, which you can see in the distance. East Beach is a great spot for swimming on hot summer days, or for a (very) quick dip from late spring through early fall. Or just stroll on the rippled sand to explore the tidal pools and watch the local kids on their skimboards. Then head west along the 2.19-kilometre waterfront promenade, a

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Stroll the beachfront promenade

Roam around.

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Visit the eponymous white rock

Yes, there is a white rock, right on the beach —and it’s a big one: more than four metres high. This glacial deposit is naturally white in colour, but these days it’s regularly painted to keep it gleaming and graffiti-free. Local kids view it as a climbing challenge, and it’s a prime spot for family and wedding photos. But for the Semiahmoo First Nation, the rock plays a key part in the history of Semiahmoo Bay, their traditional territory. Known as P’Quals, the rock marks the place where the son of the protector being of the Salish Sea made his home with the Cowichan chief’s daughter after their parents denied their request to wed. On your way to the rock,

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Visit the eponymous white rock

Take a signature photo

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Walk over water on Canada’s longest pier

At 470 metres long, this is Canada’s longest pier, a fact proudly proclaimed by a wooden sign at the entrance to this local landmark. Split in half by a hurricane-force storm in 2018, the pier was rebuilt in 2019—look for the names of community contributors to the reconstruction effort on the new planks. At high tide, you’ll see local kids jumping off the pier into the water of Semiahmoo Bay. It’s also a great place to watch fishermen and crabbers bring in their catch. At the end of the pier, look down to spot fat purple starfish clinging to the rocks, and take a deep breath of that salty sea air that to West Coasters will forever feel like home.

Walk over water on Canada’s longest pier

A few meters of walk

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