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White Rock: Metro Vancouver’s Seaside Oasis

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Seaside towns make us feel like characters in our favorite cozy games. Do you ever just get lost in a world of sandy beaches, inviting cafes, and the sound of seagulls echoing in the distance? Well, we certainly did during our visit to White Rock.

If you’re planning to head to this charming coastal city, we’ve made this article just for you to discover all the hidden gems and must-visit spots.

What is the legend of White Rock?

What is the legend of White Rock
Image by Explore White Rock via

Alright, buckle up. The legend of White Rock starts with the Sea God, the ruler of the land, worshipped by the Cowichan Indians. The Sea God had a son, who lived with him in a deep cavern near Sidney on Vancouver Island.

On the original site of Sidney, the Cowichan Tribe resided, and the Chief of the Cowichans had a daughter with whom the Sea God’s son fell in love.

It’s quite sweet, really; it was love at first sight when the young Sea God saw the princess bathing in the Gulf waters. But the Sea God wasn’t too happy about his son bringing a mortal to his kingdom and refused to bless their marriage.

What is the legend of White Rock
Image by Vancouver Island via

The young God then went back to the princess’ territory to meet with her father and asked him to be welcomed as his son. However, like the Sea God, the Chief of the Cowichans refused to accept their love, as mortals and Gods should not be wed.

Angered by this, the young God raised his arms with a huge white rock from the shore and told his beloved, “I will hurl this tone over the water! Wherever it falls, there we will make our home and establish our tribe.”

The White Rock fell 60 miles away and ended on the shores of a bay shaped like the crescent moon, where they made their home and grew their tribe. 

At present, White Rock is a significant landmark and symbol of the Cowichan people’s history and origins. We don’t know about you, but that’s some epic love story! 

Time Zone

Pacific Standard Time (PST) (UTC-8)

Best Time to Go

The best time to go to White Rock is mid-July to late August, when the weather is around 21°C. This weather makes it perfect for warm-weather activities.

But if you’re looking to avoid the crowd and score cheap accommodations, tourists are less likely to visit White Rock during December.

Things to Know

Travel Time from Vancouver to White Rock

By Car: The average travel time from Vancouver to White Rock is around 50 minutes to an hour. The fastest route is taking the Blaine Hwy/BC-99 S.

By Public Transit: If you’re taking the bus from one of Vancouver’s transit stations, the travel time to White Rock can range from 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. 

Public Pay Parking in White Rock

In White Rock, public pay parking is available in the waterfront parking lots, parkades, Centennial Arena, and on-street parking at Peace Arch Hospital. To give you a sense of the rates, below is a breakdown:

On-Street Waterfront Parking Locations

DurationMarch to OctoberNovember to February
20 Minutes$1.50$1
40 Minutes$3$1.75
60 Minutes$4.50$2.50

Remember to download PayByPhone, as the waterfront parking along Marine Drive utilizes this, and you won’t be able to pay for parking using cash or card.

Centennial Arena

Meter parking$1.25 per hour
Dispenser lots$2.25 per day

Peace Arch Hospital Street Parking

$3 per hour, seven (7) days a week

Weather in White Rock

The weather in White Rock, BC, is typically mild and temperate throughout the year. Summers are warm, with average temperatures ranging from 19 to 20 °C, while winters are relatively mild with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. 

MONTHHigh / Low (°C)
January7° / 1°
February8° / 2°
March11° / 3°
April13° / 5°
May16° / 8°
June19° / 11°
July21° / 12°
August21° / 12°
September19° / 10°
October14° / 7°
November9° / 3°
December6° / 1°

Source: NOAA

The coastal location of White Rock also means that it experiences a moderate amount of rainfall, particularly during the winter months. 

How to Get to White Rock from Vancouver

By Car: Drive to BC-99 S to 152 street in Surrey, then take Exit 8A. Continue driving to 152 street then to Prospect Lane in White Rock.

By Bus: Ride the Skytrain to Surrey Central Station. From there, head to Surrey Central Station Bay 9 and board the 321 bus bound for White Rock.

By Rapid Transit: The quickest way to White Rock is by riding the Rapid Bus via the Canada Line that has bus services to White Rock/South Surrey at the Bridgeport Station in Richmond.

How to Get Around

Buses: White Rock is serviced by Translink, with 20 bus stops that connect various parts of the city. The buses run on a regular schedule, making it convenient for residents and visitors to travel around White Rock. 

Taxis: If you prefer your own ride, there are plenty of taxi companies such as Pacific Cabs and Delta Green Cab.

Where to Stay in White Rock

White Rose House

White Rose House
Image by White Rose House via

Address: 15317 Royal Ave, White Rock, BC V4B 1M7, Canada
Phone: +1 778-882-8105
Pricing: $
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A quaint home with a beautiful rose garden and tasteful room decor is the White Rose House. The best draw of this place is its location, as it’s close to attractions like White Rock Pier and East and West Beach.

Staying here feels like you’re right at home, as you’re free to park your vehicle in the garage, and the TV is right downstairs if you ever feel like watching a movie. Make sure to head to the rooftop to watch the sunset and the Salish Sea.

Ocean Promenade Hotel

Address: 15611 Marine Dr, White Rock, BC V4B 1E1, Canada
Phone: +1 888-976-2326
Pricing: $$
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The Ocean Promenade Hotel is right across the bay, with gorgeous mountain range views. As it’s along Marine Drive, you’re also close to plenty of restaurants and ice cream parlors.

Rooms here have floor-to-ceiling windows with a private balcony spacious enough for you to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. The hotel also has amenities like exercise rooms, laundry facilities, and a walking promenade along the ocean.

Donna’s Bed & Breakfast

Address: 15056 Buena Vista Ave, White Rock, BC V4B 1X9, Canada
Phone: +1 778-554-5119
Pricing: $$
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Donna’s is a lovely bed and breakfast with all the little details that make you feel extra special, like name tags on the table. The suites here provide absolutely stunning views of the White Rock Pier and the water.

Guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast, which can be compared to spreads served by the finest hotels, and the best part is, it’s a different menu every day!

Star Of the Sea Bed and Breakfast

Star Of the Sea Bed and Breakfast
Image by Star Of the Sea Bed and Breakfast via Google

Address: 1107 Fir St, White Rock, BC V4B 4A7, Canada
Phone: +1 604-535-7827
Pricing: $
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The Star Of the Sea Bed and Breakfast embodies a true seaside atmosphere, with its well-illuminated rooms, coastal-themed decorations, and awe-inspiring ocean vistas (be sure to ask for the corner room).

The accommodations feature a cozy sofa, a convenient kitchenette, a spa bathtub, and a spacious walk-in shower. And you won’t want to miss their home baked cookies, pies and french toast.

Best Western Peace Arch Inn

Address: 2293 King George Blvd, Surrey, BC V4A 5A4, Canada
Phone: +1 604-541-8100
Pricing: $
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If you’re looking for an affordable hotel, the Best Western Peace Arch Inn is your best bet. It has all the basics—clean rooms, extra pillows, complimentary breakfast, even has a sauna, hot tub, and small pool.

This spot’s location is hard to beat, with proximity to just about everything – White Rock Beach, shopping, dining, movie theaters, and it’s a stone’s throw from both the Peace Arch and Pacific Crossing Borders.

Where to Eat in White Rock

The Boathouse Restaurant

Address: 14935 Marine Dr, White Rock, BC V4B 1C3, Canada
Phone: +1 604-536-7320
Pricing: $$

Right in front of White Rock’s promenade is The Boathouse Restaurant, where you can score juicy steaks and yummy seafood. Dining on the patio feels like joining a family lunch, with the open air and stunning ocean views.

If you’re up for it, indulge in a mimosa flight and experience a delightful combination of different flavors. Plus, you get that unbeatable view of the ocean to mix with your refreshing drinks.

Uli’s Restaurant

Address: 15023 Marine Dr, White Rock, BC V4B 1C3, Canada
Phone: +1 604-538-9373
Pricing: $

A staple on the White Rock strip is Uli’s Restaurant, which’s been here for more than 30 years and serves European-inspired cuisine like eggs benny, and baked brie. Get the Duck Confit. It’s a signature dish of the restaurant, and it tastes divine.

A special mention goes to their homemade spicy BBQ sauce, which goes well with all of the sides—calamari and frites. Hell, dip everything into it—your burger, chicken, or even your grilled vegetables.

FIVE Kitchen & Oyster Bar

Address: 15047 Marine Dr, White Rock, BC V4B 1C5, Canada
Phone: +1 604-538-8153
Pricing: $$

Inside the FIVE Kitchen & Oyster Bar is a sleek space accentuated with white and black accents and soft lighting. Here you’ll have some of the best oysters you’ll ever have, with a variety of homemade sauces and vinaigrette that pairs well with ’em.

This restaurant is by the sea, so you can enjoy the view while eating, and we’d recommend you get a bottle of wine from their extensive wine list to complement your meal.

Jan’s on the Beach

Address: 14989 Marine Dr, White Rock, BC V4B 1C3, Canada
Phone: +1 604-531-5444
Pricing: $$

This casual dining spot has a pretty great selection of gluten-free dishes, ranging from seafood to meat and vegetarian options. The menu is quite extensive, but don’t fret; you can’t go wrong with any choice you make.

Want our advice? Get the fish and chips. They’re super crispy in a light batter and come with a great homemade aioli dip.

Charlie Don’t Surf

Address: 15011 Marine Dr, White Rock, BC V4B 1C3, Canada
Phone: +1 604-538-1988
Pricing: $

Stop by Charlie Don’t Surf for fresh, wild seafood and craft beer. Indoor seating here is eclectic, but the outdoor area is a nicer option on warmer days as you have that view of the ocean.

The fish and chips here come out hot and delicious, but our top pick would be the lightly-breaded and yummy calamari and the bouillabaisse.

What to Do in White Rock

Walk, Swim, and Meet the Locals at East Beach

Walk, Swim, and Meet the Locals at East Beach
Image by Explore White Rock via

Address: White Rock Promenade, White Rock, BC V4B 1E2, Canada
Phone: 604-541-2199

East Beach is synonymous to White Rock. It’s always chill, never too crowded ’cause there’s tons of room to just wander around, and it’s right by the train tracks, so it’s a blast when that train rolls on by.

The views are awesome any time of day. And when it gets dark, all those trees light up with little white fairy lights, adding to the whole vibe.

Head to White Rock’s Pier

Head to White Rock's Pier
Image by Explore White Rock via

Address: Marine Dr, White Rock, BC, Canada
Phone: 604-541-2199

You can’t possibly miss this iconic landmark during your visit to White Rock. In fact, we’d argue that White Rock’s Pier is the heart and soul of the city. The pier offers breathtaking views of Semiahmoo Bay, and it’s good for a leisurely stroll or a sunset walk.

Best to come here during the evening, right before the golden hour, when the sun is setting and casting a warm glow over the bay. 

Go on a Thrilling Whale Watching Adventure

Go on a Thrilling Whale Watching Adventure
Image by Explore White Rock via

Address: Crescent Beach Marina, 12555 Crescent Road, Surrey, BC, V4A 2V4 Canada
Phone: 604-868-1755

This exhilarating experience takes you to the Canadian Gulf Islands, the US San Juan Islands, and beyond to spot whales in their natural habitat. You’ll also get to see sea lions, orcas, seals, and, if you’re lucky, even a gray whale.

Guides on board here will share insights about the marine ecosystem and the behavior of these magnificent creatures, making it a fun and educational experience.

Walk along the White Rock Promenade

Walk along the White Rock Promenade
Image for White Rock Promenade via Google Reviews

Address: White Rock, BC
Phone: 604-541-2100

This is a must-visit place for a casual stroll. The White Rock Promenade provides a picturesque and soothing setting for a leisurely walk along the waterfront.

There’s plenty of benches and street art, and if you get hungry, there’s a lot of restaurants lined up before the promenade. Grab a cup of coffee or an ice cream cone and enjoy the scenic view of the ocean.

Spot the White Rock along West Beach

Spot the White Rock along West Beach
Image by Explore White Rock via

Address: Marine Dr, White Rock, BC V4B 1B9, Canada
Phone: +1 604-541-2181

Don’t forget to check out the famous White Rock – it’s got a little crack, but it’s holding up. It’s a nice spot you can easily walk to from the pier. Plus, there’s a beach nearby, so you can catch that salty sea breeze.

If you’ve heard the story of White Rock and want to see it for yourself, just take a leisurely walk along the promenade.

Apps to Download for a Trip to White Rock

PayByPhone: pay for parking in White Rock with ease and convenience using the PayByPhone app. 
iOs | Android

Vancouver Transit Live: search and view live updates of Vancouver’s bus schedules coming to the stops near you.
iOs | Android

OpenTable: make restaurant reservations, read reviews from customers, and earn points to redeem discounts and free meals.
iOs | Android

Alertable: emergency alerts for facilities, roads, parks, schools, various municipal services, pandemics, fires, floods, severe weather and other hazards.
iOs | Android

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