If you’re staying home this summer, consider taking a “day” vacation in a neighbouring community.
Lower Mainland residents seeking summer fun do not need to travel far in their search for sand and water when the temperature rises.
Plenty of beach space is available in the Tri-Cities, where several prime day-trip destinations exist for family picnics and friendly get-togethers – or even just a lazy day in the sun.
Buntzen Lake is one of the more popular locations for sun-soaking and swimming, and has been a well-visited destination for decades. Nestled amongst trees at the end of a quiet road, the lake is 4.8 kilometres long and was named after B.C. Electric general manager Johannes Buntzen.
Picnic tables, grassy fields and a boat launch are just some of the amenities the site has to offer.
Canoe rentals are available at the Anmore Store (3275 Sunnyside Rd.) and there are also plenty of hiking, biking and equestrian opportunities on the various trails around the lake.
In order to get to the park, you must drive to the end of Sunnyside Road in Anmore and turn right into the park. Parking is located about 2 kms past the entrance gate and the 600 stalls are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis – and they fill up fast on a sunny summer day.
The C26 bus operates from Coquitlam Centre to Buntzen Lake daily. Those who take the bus will be dropped off at the gate and will have to walk the 1.8 km (about 15 to 20 minutes) to the park’s south beach area.
Gate opening times change throughout the year.
Those who wish to know the latest times should call the Buntzen Lake Warden’s office at 604-469-6979.
White Pine Beach
White Pine beach on Sasamat Lake is another popular swimming destination in the Tri-Cities. This park is on the way to Buntzen Lake and is located along Bedwell Bay Road.
While the beach is a popular destination, Sasamat Lake is also well-known for its trails, particularly the Sasamat Lake Loop, a 2.5-km circle around the water.
There are two small docks ideal for fishing and swimming located along a floating boardwalk on the south end of the lake and there is a concession stand located next to the beach.
White Pine beach has a wheelchair-accessible path and picnic tables, beach access and all bathrooms are also wheelchair-friendly.
Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash and are not allowed on swimming beaches. Owners must clean up after their animals and should check signs for details.
Belcarra Regional Park
For those summer swimmers who prefer salt water, Belcarra Regional Park is another popular destination for family outings.
The park is open during daylight hours and offers a perfect barbecue area and numerous picnic tables on the east side next to the parking lot. There is a playground area and a large grass field.
The rocky beach area is home to numerous species of aqua marine life and the wharf is a popular place for crab trappers.