I’ve been coming to White Rock for a number of years now. It is well known as a retirement community but should be known for much more. White Rock is really a destination for everyone – you can make it as adventurous or relaxing as you want. There are a plethora of fantastic restaurants, boutique shops, beaches, parks and a bird watchers heaven.

The name comes from a 486 ton granite boulder, a glacial erratic that migrated south during the last ice age. Why White?…well that’s because the boulder was covered by shellfish-eating seabirds’ guano. Yes, bird poop. It had so much poop on it that it was used as a beacon by sailors. Now days it is kept white by paint so don’t be afraid to get close for pictures

Located just 45 kilometers from Vancouver and a 10 minute drive from the US border, White Rock sits on the waters of Semiahmoo Bay with 8 kilometers of sandy shores. White Rock is also one of the sunniest spots on the Canadian West Coast with spectacular sunsets.

Beaches

All along the main beach runs a 2.2km promenade that takes you to a lot of the attractions, including the totem polls, and the pier (which is being rebuilt after the Dec 2018 storm). It is a great option for those who don’t want to get dirty – but you should. When the tide goes out it creates a fun long stretch of beach with tide pools to explore. Don’t be surprised to see eagles and seagulls eating and hanging out.

Semiahmoo Bay water is surprisingly warm. Bring some beach towels and umbrellas. You can also rent beach wheelchairs from Feral Boards, who donate some of the proceeds to The Centre of Child Development.

For those who like to play on the water; you can rent stand up paddle boards, kayaks, and in the afternoons there are even people kitesurfing. For the extra adventurous there are a couple outfitters who offer multi day kayak trip right out of White Rock that are definitely on my to do list!

Here are another 2 beaches you should visit on your trip:

1001 Steps

About a 5 minute drive northwest on Marine Drive, you will end up in the stunning community of Ocean Park. Nested between a couple of houses are zig zag stairs down towards a beach. I’m not sure were the name came from but there are not 1001 steps – it is probably closer to 250. Once you get down the steps, walk about 200 meters to an underpass and you are there. Take caution because the train tracks are actively used.

I like 1001 Steps because it is quieter and is a fun place to explore. It is a rocky beach and a good place to hunt for sea glass. You will also be able to see a good amount of wildlife and if you are lucky harbour seals.

Crescent Beach

Technically not in White Rock either, but very close by. Crescent Beach is about a 10 minute drive up from 1001 Steps. It is a very large area that offers scenic views, grassy areas, life-guarded swimming spots and even beach volleyball.

At the northern tip of Crescent Beach you will find Blackie Spirit Park with its own beach area and trails. The Park is actually one of the best bird watching areas in Canada. Over 200 species were recorded in a calendar year visiting its tidal marsh and eelgrass beds. Harbour seals love this place as well!

Restaurants

White Rock packs amazing cuisine diversity into its small area, guaranteed to satisfy all taste buds. Summer time there is also a farmer market; for those who are not aware British Columbia grows some of the best organic fruits and vegetables in the world!

There are two main areas that you will find most of the restaurants: Marine Drive that runs along the beach is what I would refer to as the ‘main strip’ and in what I call Uptown White Rock or the Town Centre.

Uptown is the newer part of White Rock and has some great breweries, music venues, and restaurants. From all the times that have been coming down I only just recently discovered the Uptown area. So make sure not to miss it on your visit – it is only 1.5 Miles from Marine Drive.

Here are 2 of my favorite restaurants you must visit!

Wooden Spoon

Wooden Spoon is THE destination for breakfast & brunch. The menu consists of all your breakfasts foods favourites, the classics but also a unique take on French toasts and sweet tooth satisfying guilty pleasures.

Coffee is always organic and served in a half or full press. For those who are wanting to add some kick or mixology to enjoy with their delicious food, the drink menu will have everything you are looking for freshly prepared.

I am a sucker for eggs benny and had the SoCal benny that comes with pulled chicken, guacamole on the house made jalapeno cheddar corn bead. For the French toast lovers make sure to try the yummy Sweet and Salty or the Nana-tella smothered with Nutella and stuffed with bananas.  If your sweet tooth is as big as mine make sure to order the waffle donut. That’s right a waffle donut mmm!

Vegan and gluten free options available. Wooden Spoon is located in the Uptown area.

Uli’s

The family owned European Bistro has been calling White Rock home for 30 years now. Uli’s mouthwatering diverse menu is a foodie delight; Bison carpaccio to burgers, risotto and paella. Being ocean front you can also enjoy Oysters Rockefeller watching the sunset from their patio.

“The focus is always on locally sourced, sustainable and fresh in-season ingredients”, says Jennie Silk, Executive Chef. How fresh? While we were eating a farmer walked in to deliver fresh greens. How is that for you?

We had the incredible paella made with Uli’s classic recipe and a burger from an inhouse made juicy patty that comes with the best bacon strips I have seen on a burger in a long time. Absolutely delicious!

The beverage menu has an extensive features of wine, cocktails and a rotations of local beer and smaller artisan breweries from around the world.

Uli's, White Rock, British Columbia, Kirk Lubimov

Where to stay

Ocean Promenade is hands down my favourite place to stay in White Rock. It will be yours as well! Ocean Promenade is located on Marine Drive in the heart of the action, right across from the beach and the promenade. Staying here you can just leave your car in the underground parkade and enjoy a nice walk down the strip – Uli’s is just a 5 min walk away.

The boutique hotel offers a selection of perfectly laid out apartment style rooms including; studios, deluxe suites with a 1100 sqf two bedrooms option and an ocean front Jacuzzi feature. Ocean Promenade is guaranteed to accommodate all parties with comfort. There are even pet friendly suites!

Amenities include: electric vehicle charging stations, full kitchen – perfect for leftovers and your farmer’s market shopping, free WiFi, fitness and laundry rooms, onsite café and generous balconies that provides a front row seat to White Rock’s breathtaking sunsets.

Ocean Promenade, Kirk Lubimov, White Rock, British Columbia

That sunset picture at beginning was taken right from Ocean Promenade’s balcony. My favourite room is 302A 🙂

See you there?

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