A woman Cold plunging near Vancouver at one of the many water access points

Best Spots to Cold Plunge Vancouver BC (from a Local)

Want to try out a cold plunge near Vancouver?! You’ve certainly come to the right place because I have lived in Vancouver for the past 9 years and have been making cold dips a part of my regular routine for quite some time. I am a science nerd, so in addition to the fact of just “feeling good” with cold dips in my life, I’ve read the research extensively too!

So, whether you want to visit a spa to cold plunge in Vancouver, or prefer to cold dip in the great outdoors, there are many amazing spots around Vancouver. Because of it’s mild temperatures compared to the rest of Canada, a cold plunge in Vancouver is a fun way to get a dopamine hit and connect with of a growing community. Use my helpful guide to find the best spots to cold plunge in Vancouver

Top 5 Best Places to Cold Plunge Vancouver

  • Wreck Beach beautiful sand, can have fires, lots of energy, clothing optional
  • Kitsilano Beach social dip groups meet here, bathrooms, coffee, easy parking
  • 30 Foot Pools Lynn Canyon rainforest setting, cold turquoise water, restrooms
  • Tality Spa Private Bookings available, events, drop ins, multiple locations
  • The Good Sauna Drop in communal or private group sessions sauna cold therapy.

Outdoor Cold Plunge Near Vancouver Map

cold plunge near Vancouver map of locations.
Cold Plunge Near Vancouver locations map

What is a Polar Plunge?

You might have heard of a traditional polar plunge event hosted on New Year’s Day , or cold therapy, but what is a cold plunge anyway?

A polar plunge is a type of cold therapy where someone enters a body of water that is much colder than the environment. This can be done in natural bodies of water like lakes streams, or oceans. You can also diy cold plunge in man-made pools such as hot tubs, a cold plunge barrell, and jacuzzis or tupperware bins filled with ice or snow. Ultimately, cold plunging is getting into cold water 😅!

History of Cold Plunging

Although it seems like polar plunging is a relatively recent thing, it has actually been taking place in many forms for many years! Many indigenous cultures and ancient civilizations used cold plunging as a part of wellness and medical routines.

Nasukin Jason Louie of the Lower Kootenay Band (in what is know known as Canada) was quoted as saying, “Historically, dipping into frigid waters was a common ceremony practice amongst many indigenous communities. Going into a river or lake during the winter months was a cleansing of the mind, body, and spirit.”

For even more information about polar plunging throughout history, there are plenty of stories about cold water therapy across the world. Stories of using cold water for health purposes date back thousands of years around the world and were found in ancient civilizations, including Latin America, North America, and the ancient Greeks and Romans

History of the Polar Plunge in Vancouver

A black and white  photo of Peter Pantages and Polar Bear Swim club on New Years Day in the 1930s.  There are many people about to go for a cold plunge in Vancouver.
Peter Pantages and the Polar Swim Club on New Year’s Day in Vancouver in the 1930’s (photo: from The City of Vancouver archives).

In relatively more recent history, specifically in Vancouver, there are some interesting polar plunge stories from the early 1900’s. Vancouver’s first recorded, organized polar plunge took place on January 1, 1920 at English Bay Beach. Peter Pantages was a Greek man who had moved to Vancouver, and believed in swimming every day. There is a story, found in Vancouver Exposed Searching for the City’s Hidden History that says that Peter convinced friends on New Year’s Eve to join for a New Year’s Day polar bear swim in Vancouver.

As a result of that first swim, the Vancouver Polar Bear swim has become a New Year’s Day tradition, with a record breaking number of swimmers in 2014. The official Vancouver Polar Bear Swim 2025 will take place on January 1, 2024 at 2:30pm. This group polar plunge in Vancouver is now run by the city of Vancouver at English Bay Beach.

In addition to the New Year’s Day event(s), there are plenty of groups to join to cold plunge near Vancouver throughout the year.

How long to cold plunge?

How long to cold plunge depends on a few factors, such as the temperature of the water and your individual tolerance to cold. Generally speaking, it’s best to start with a shorter plunge of 1-3 minutes and increase duration as your body adjusts. Listen to your body and stop if you feel too uncomfortable! I always feel that 2 minutes is a good place to start and most of my dips are around 6 to 10 minutes now.

Benefits of cold plunging

The turquoise crystal clear waters at Lynn Canyon are an inviting place to cold plunge near Vancaouver
Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver

The reported benefits of cold plunging include enhanced circulation, improved digestion, strengthened immunity, increased energy levels, reducing the amount of unhealthy fat & replacing it with healthy”brown fat” tissue, and reduced stress. Additionally, cold plunging may help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety while providing a natural energy boost, pain relief from conditions such as arthritis or chronic inflammation, improved sleep quality, and increased skin elasticity.

Recent studies have suggested that perhaps the most clear benefits of cold plunging are that even only one session can significantly improve mood as well as improve the body’s ability to process blood sugars. While the science of cold plunging is still not 100 % clear, I have been cold plunging regularly for the past 3 months, and can anecdotally attest to substantial mood and energy improvements.

Risks of Cold Plunging

Cold plunging can be an exciting mood booster, but it has risks as well.

Potential risks of cold plunging can include hypothermia, heart dysfunction and drowning.

Cold shock

Sudden cold water exposure can cause the body to enter into a state of “shock,” which can lead to involuntary gasping, rapid breathing, heart rate and blood pressure spikes and impaired cognitive function, such as clouded thinking and decision-making.

Loss of muscle control:

Another risk is the loss of muscular control, which can worsen the longer someone is immersed in cold water, and potentially lead to drowning. Symptoms include feeling weak or exhausted and being unable to control the fingers, hands, arms or legs.


 Another risk of polar plunging to be aware of: hypothermia. After one to three minutes of immersion in water with temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, body temperature continues to drop, increasing the risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia can begin at a core body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Safety Tips for Cold Plunging

If you are interested in a cold plunge near Vancouver:

Consider finding a buddy or group (see below for Cold Plunge groups in Vancouver) so that you are not alone when you enter into cold water.

If you have known medical conditions, check in with your doctor before adding cold plunging to your life!

Try splashing water on your body and face before fully dunking in, and by moving slowly into deeper water. Cold shock can cause hyperventilation which reduces breath hold time. Again, this can be reduced by a slow and controlled entry into cold water.

Try submerging your body, without putting your head and face underwater.

Be prepared with multiple warm, dry layers to put on after your dip, and remove your wet clothing as soon as possible!

Where to Cold Plunge near Vancouver in the Outdoors

A group cold plunging near Vancouver.  You can see the mountains of North Vancouver on the horizon.
Cold Plunging in Vancouver

Cold Plunge in Vancouver

Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach is Canada’s most famous clothing-optional beach and there are plenty of campfires, drum circles, and fun get togethers happening most days of the year here! Visiting Wreck Beach is a local favourite for non-touristy things to do in Vancouver! Also, my personal favourite spot for a Vancouver cold plunge at sunset!

Jericho Beach

Jericho Beach is a great spot for an outdoor cold plunge in Vancouver! With stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and gorgeous mountain backdrops, this is a fantastic swimming spot in Vancouver. There are also long stretches of sand, so there are multiple options for places to get in! My personal favourite is Boulder Bay, where you will find a spit of rocks that creates a calm cove of water on either side.

Spanish Banks

Spanish Banks Beach in Vancouver is another great spot to polar plunge. More mountain views and wide stretches of sand!

Point Grey Road Water Access Points

These beach access spots in Vancouver are local secrets. Take a walk along Point Grey Road on the West side of Vancouver (not to be confused with West Vancouver or the West end, ha!). Anywhere you see an easement on the North side of the road there is an access point to the water. You will find the beautiful trademark city and mountain views Vancouver is famous for at these spots. Most of these access points have rocky beaches, so water shoes can be helpful!

Third Beach

A local favourite beach in Vancouver that is located within Stanley Park. Third Beach has beautiful silky sand and also often has drum circles. This beach is the perfect spot to stop while biking around the seawall in Vancouver. With direct views looking west, it’s also great spot to catch a sunset as well. Because this beach is located along the famous Vancouver sea wall, I recommend biking here, as parking can be tricky.

Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach is a lively sandy beach in Vancouver. You’ll find washroom facilities and a restaurant here as well. Many of the cold plunge groups in Vancouver meet here for weekly dips!

Mermaid Beach

Although this beach is not an official beach, it is a quiet spot for a cold plunge in Vancouver on a winter day. Mermaid Beach is located just East of the Lion’s Gate bridge in Stanley Park, and has a small patch of sand, that makes a great spot to get in the ocean.

Cold Plunge in North Vancouver

The crystal clear bright green waters surrounded by rocks and rainforest at Lynn Canyon make the perfect spot to cold plunge near Vancouver
The waters at Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver are crystal clear, and a great spot to cold plunge near Vancouver

Lynn Valley

Lynn Valley is a beautiful spot to cold plunge near Vancouver! There are multiple swimming holes that make it an amazing spot for all season swimming. One of my personal favourites is down from Twin Falls or at 30 foot pools. The Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge is also in this park and the water is turquoise and crystal clear. Whether you’re looking for a cold dip near Vancouver, or just taking in some stunning views, Lynn Valley is worth a visit.

Whytecliff Park

Wade in directly from the rocky beach in West Vancouver. This is also a beautiful spot for sunsets and kayaking. If you want a spectacular and alternate view, visit at low tide, walk out to the island, and dip off the back side of the island! You will likely also see seals and sea lions here, be sure to give them space.

Sandy Cove, West Vancouver

Sandy Cove in West Vancouver is a great spot for a cold plunge near Vancouver. It’s tucked away in a small park along Marine Drive. You’ll find the classic West Coast Pacific North West rocky coastline views here.

Granny’s Cove, North Vancouver

If freshwater is what you’re looking for, these waters are clear and cold. While they are popular for cliff jumping, be very careful with this. There are always cliff jumping accidents every year around these rivers. This is one of the best non touristy swimming holes around Vancouver!

Deep Cove

Deep Cove is a beautiful cove in a village just outside of Vancouver. Home to another traditional Polar Bear Dip on New Years Day, this is also a great spot to cold plunge near Vancouver. There are mountain views in the background, and the Quarry Rock Hike is close by if you like to work up a little sweat before you jump in! Local tip: Hit the village for coffee and donuts or lunch after your polar plunge!

Cates Park North Vancouver

I lived in Vancouver for many years before stumbling upon Cates Park. There are often starfish around here at low tide. There are multiple spots to get in the water here, so you can pick your favourite view!

Cold Plunge Near Squamish, BC

Overlooking a turquoise lake surrounded by trees and forest while people are taking a cold plunge near Vancouver BC
Many beautiful outdoor spots to cold plunge near Vancouver BC

Mamquam River

The Mamquam River in Squamish is a great spot to cold plunge near Vancouver. You’ll find crystal clear waters and breathtaking mountain views along with cold water! Another great thing to do close by is the easy hike to Mamquam Falls

Browning Lake

Browning Lake in Squamish BC is a lake that is popular to cool off in during the summer months. In the shoulder season, you may end up with the place all to yourself! There are no lifeguards, so ensure to be cautious. This is a deep cold lake. It’s a beautiful place to spend a day, and the trail to Quercus view point is another easy hike near Vancouver with views that don’t disappoint!

Cat Lake

Another lake close to Squamish BC. Popular in the summer as a spot to cool off, this also makes a great spot for a cold plunge!

Cold Plunge in the Tri Cities (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody) BC

Barnett Marine Park

Barnett Marine Park is a waterfront park located in Burnaby British Columbia. With its stunning views, majestic trees and lush natural surroundings, it’s the perfect place to cold plunge near Vancouver. Whether you’re looking for a quiet stroll along the picturesque scenery or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Barnett Marine Park has something for everyone. There are paved trails here as well as washroom facilities.

Bedwell Bay, Belcarra Park

Bedwell Bay is a part of Belcarra Regional Park, and is a lesser known water access point near Vancouver. From the Belcarra Parking lot take the trail that starts toward Jug Island, and take your first right turn at the fork (signs for Bedwell Bay). There is a calm cove here that is rocky. You’ll likely want water shoes to get in the water here! In addition to the beautiful views, there is lots of sea life here too including sea anemones and seastars.

Jug Island, Belcarra Park

Jug Island Beach is a stunning secluded beach accessed only by hiking from Belcarra picnic area (about 2.5 kms one way) or by boat/kayak. The beach is a rocky beach with beautiful views of Jug Island. Once you hike through the lush rainforest, you’ll be ready to jump in for a polar plunge!

Spas that offer Sauna Cold Plunge Near Vancouver

JJ Family Spa

JJ Family Spa is a Korean style bath-house and Sauna in BC. You will find themed rooms including: an Earth room, Charcoal room, Salt room, Saunas, Hot and cold tubs (Jacuzzi), and shower facilities. A great way to experience saunas & cold plunging near Vancouver.

The Good Sauna

An incredible pop-up experience that includes sauna & cold plunge in Vancouver. Currently located at Container Brewing in East Vancouver. Additionally, there are events that include workouts, breathwork and cold plunging.

 Scandinave Spa

Incredible mountain views and a luxurious spa experience await at Scandinave Spa in Whistler. Although, no technology (aka phones) or talking is allowed while at the spa, you’ll enjoy the disconnect from busy everyday life! Cold plunge sauna, massages, and spa treatments are available.

Tality Spa

Kombucha and cold plunges in North Vancouver (2 locations) and Kelowna. Offering wood sauna, electric sauna, and cold plunges near Vancouver! Available for community sessions, private sessions, as well as guided hot cold cycling sessions.

Circle Wellness

This spa is completely private and clothing optional. It has just opened in its new location on Granville Island right in the heart of the city. Although you’ll feel like your miles away from the hub of Vancouver.

The Wellness Den Rabbit Hole Wellness Langley BC

This is a one-of-a-kind wellness experience, right in nature. Experience the benefits of sauna, polar plunge, breath work, and nervous system awareness. You will find weekly drop-ins for sauna cold plunge experiences, workshops & private bookings.

The Finnish Sauna

Portable saunas with pop ups at beaches to pair sauna /cold plunges in and near Vancouver. The Finnish Sauna has partnered with Cheekeye Ranch in Squamish for a permanent location. They also offer portable sauna and sauna tent rentals for your events and location of choice. Personally, I can’t wait for an upcoming sauna tent experience with friends at Wreck beach.

Aika Spa Squamish

Pairing sauna therapy with icy cold plunges in the clear river waters in Squamish. They offer private bookings for up to 10 guests every day. The views here are a bonus!! The spa is located outside in the lush rainforest and is surrounded by mountains.


In addition to sauna cold plunge therapy in Vancouver, Floathouse offers infrared sauna and sensory deprivation float tanks. A unique date idea in Vancouver!

Salty Pear and Solace Spa, Salt Spring Island

In order to experience these amazing spas, you will get to take a weekend trip to Salt Spring Island! The Salty Pear is a cozy cabin, art gallery, and spa on a farm on Salt Spring Island, with a private sauna available to the public for booking! For the ultimate sauna cold plunge near Vancouver; Do a dip in the ocean at Ganges Harbour, or one of the lakes on Salt Spring and follow up with a booking at the Salty Pear Sauna.

Solace Spa is a luxury forest spa on Salt Spring Island. They offer traditional spa services including many types of massage, as well as a forest hydrotherapy circuit. This is a cycle of hot and cold, where guests heat for 10-15 minutes in a forest hot tub and infrared sauna, and then polar plunge in the Cedar Cold Plunge Tub. Solace also offers spa & dine experiences, where your spa session is complimented by a catered charcuterie. The ultimate experience!

Groups to connect with to cold plunge near Vancouver BC (these are all free things to do in Vancouver!)

A group goes for a cold plunge at Jericho Beach in Vancouver.  You can see snow capped mountains in the background
Polar Plunging in Vancouver with snow capped mountains in the background

Cold Plunge Crew

Cold Plunge Crew is a community of people getting together for meditation, breathwork, cold water exposure & friendship. CPC also values connection and giving back. If you join, you will get to be a part of events where they donate the proceeds to charitable causes, like building a house for families in need in Mexico.

The Flying Sage

You will find weekly cold dips on Friday mornings at 7:30am at Kitsilano Beach followed by guided Qigong. In addition to cold plunges near Vancouver, The Flying Sage, advocates for alternative healing, and exploring microdosing of Psychedelics in healing from trauma, and offers breathwork session. .

Cold Plunge Society (meetup)

Group get togethers for cold plunges near Vancouver scheduled through the Meetup app.

Squamish Community Cold Plunge

This group is a recent creation in Squamish. The group meets for a cold plunge in Squamish on Tuesdays at 7 a.m. to dip in the Mamquam River. The group meets at the river access on Mamquam Road near Carson’s Automotive, where they do a short check-in, meditation and then get in the water. You can connect with the group leader via instagram if you have questions or want to reach out before joining!

Kits Dip Society

A very friendly and welcoming group!! This group currently meets every Friday at 7am at Kitsilano Beach for cold plunges in Vancouver. They often have a 30 minute run before the dip, and social coffee after the dip at a local cafe. I recently completed a challenge called the 12 days of Dipmas, where participants cold plunged every day for 12 days in a row. I’m feeling fantastic and ready to keep dipping!! Also join the whatsapp group where there are lots of chats about arranging group dips throughout the week too.

Salt Spring Seals

While this group is not strictly a cold plunge group, they do swim year round in the waters surrounding Salt Spring Island. The group has been going strong for over 20 years and featured in the documentary Fellowship of the Sea

Wrapping Up: Cold Plunge Near Vancouver

Now you know there are multiple options for polar plunging with groups, outdoors, and at many spas near Vancouver. There isn’t really any must haves for gear, just a willingness to get in the water. There are some things that help make polar plunging more efficient, if you choose to make it a part of your routine. You can find my suggestions for helpful cold plunge gear. There are also lots of ways to DIY cold plunge, and opportunities to cold plunge in Vancouver, right at home!!

Happy Dipping!!

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