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Vancouver’s Clothing Optional Wreck Beach at UBC

Wreck Beach

Vancouver has some amazing beaches. Not least beautiful among them, but certainly the most infamous, is UBC’s clothing-optional (i.e., nude) Wreck Beach.


Vancouver’s Nude Beach

Located on the edge of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Wreck Beach is where Vancouverites (including university students) can go if they want to sunbathe naked.

Wreck Beach isn’t everybody’s cup of tea and it certainly isn’t a mainstream activity. But it is a beautiful beach and you don’t have to take all your clothes off. It’s an interesting place for people watching and being one with nature.

As the signs say though – don’t gawk and stare, and don’t take photos of people without permission. Better yet, it’s probably best to leave the camera at home. (You could also just take your camera on really cold days when you know you’ll be safe like we did!)


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About Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach is a popular place. Over half a million people visit it every year (although some of those folk are regular repeat visitors). The area stretches south about 4 miles beginning near Acadia Beach (which isn’t far from the western edge of Spanish Banks Beach).

The beach is open to the public from 7:00 am until dusk. Campfires, alcohol, camping and loud music aren’t permitted.


Where is Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach is located right at the edge of UBC‘s main campus. It’s a big beach that stretches for a long ways and it can be accessed a few different ways (all of which involve a lot of stairs).

The beach is just a short (but very steep) walk down from the Museum of Anthropology. The trail there starts just behind the museum. It truly is a steep walk down, and the staircase can sometimes feel like it’s going on forever when you’re walking up it. Make sure you have a water bottle, and are fit enough to handle a ton of stairs.

Another way to access the beach is down Trail 6 which is across the street from some of UBC’s student residences near the corner of NW Marine Drive and University Boulevard. From the start of the trail it’s 478 steps to the bottom and the beach.


Wreck Beach on a Cloudy Day
The Stairs Down to Wreck Beach (Via Trail 6)


Tips and Advice

Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your visit to Wreck Beach in case you decide to check it out.

TIP #1: Go in the colder months if you want to visit Wreck Beach but without all the naked people.

TIP #2: Don’t choose to study at UBC solely because it’s one of the only post-secondary institutions (in North America at least) with its own clothing-optional beach. It’s a first-class university even without this unique feature.

TIP #3: If you do go the “clothing optional” route, don’t forget the sunscreen!

TIP #4: Don’t stare, take photos or do anything inappropriate that would make other folks at the beach uncomfortable. Most of the clothing-optional people you’ll see aren’t exhibitionists – they are “naturalists,” so they’re for themselves and not the entertainment of others.

Tip #5: One of the most popular activities at Wreck Beach is swimming. Be aware that the water is pretty cold year-round, even during the summer. Remember not to jump into the water from high up because there may be submerged rocks hidden beneath the surface. Wildlife might also be found although that’s unlikely. Don’t interact with animals such as jellyfish for safety precautions.

Tip #6: There are many annual activities that take place at Wreck Beach including a Polar Bear Swim. This occurs on January 1st of each year. 


Logs and Sand at Wreck Beach


Other Information

To learn more about the clothing-optional beach see the University of British Columbia‘s website.

Click the following link for information about Metro Vancouver’s Other Top (and more traditional) Beaches.

If you want to hang out naked and protest the oil industry and car culture all at the same time, an event you might be interested in is the World Naked Bike Ride. This takes place in downtown Vancouver in the summer.

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