Vancouver Island, known for its rugged coastline, soaring trees and abundance of wildlife, is also home to one of the best beaches in the world, according to a new list compiled by travel experts.
San Josef Bay on northern Vancouver Island cracked number 36 on 2023’s The World’s 50 Best Beaches Ever list, which was released Wednesday by sunscreen company Banana Boat and snapshots “the opinions and experiences of top travel influencers and professionals,” states a news release.
“A gorgeous wilderness beach in a protected bay, dotted with rugged boulders and bordered on all sides by towering pines,” exclaimed travel writer Erika Lucas when describing the approximate 30-kilometre coastline.
The beach in Cape Scott Provincial Park was the only one in Canada to make the list, alongside places like Lucky, Australia, Anse Source D’Argent, Seychelles, and Hidden Beach, Philippines, which ranked first, second and third, respectively.
“Unlike any other list…(this one) is based on the votes of their Beach Ambassadors as well as hundreds of the world’s most experienced and respected travel influencers, journalists, editors and agents,” said Banana Boat.
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San Josef Bay, with its parking lot roughly two hours west of Port Hardy, takes about 45 minutes to reach by hike and is touted by 50 Best Beaches as “breathtaking” and “one of the most incredible unspoiled beaches you will ever see” that should be on every “must-visit” list.
AllTrails, which shares directions and user reviews, calls it an out-and-back route that’s “generally” considered easy to complete.
“Spend hours here exploring sea tracks and caves, take a refreshing swim, and feel the soft white sand under your feet,” reads a post online. “This beach is surrounded by calmness and rugged wilderness, making it a true unspoiled natural paradise.”
Banana Boat says more than 750 people, including travel aficionados Jyo Shankar, Pilot Madeleine and Dame Traveler, contributed to the list, ranking beaches based on sheer untouched nature, how swimmable it is, annual days of sunshine and average annual temperature.
“Our study comes at a time when many travellers are dreaming of that perfect summer beach vacation,” said 50 Best Beaches co-founder Tine Holst.
San Josef scored a 10 out of 10 in the untouched nature category and a six out of 10 in the swimmable category, with around 149 sunny days each year and an average annual temperature of 9.9 degrees. The findings are listed here.
“The wettest months are November and December. The East Coast of Vancouver Island has the best weather year-round, considering wind, rain, and temperature,” noted 50 Best. “Remember to pack appropriately for the wilderness and respect the area’s nature and wildlife.”
With sunny skies in the forecast for the North Island this Tuesday and Wednesday, it might be time to lather on some sunscreen and make the trek to San Josef — after all, life’s a beach.