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B.C. beach named one of 50 best in the world

A photo of San Josef Bay, located in Cape Scott Provincial Park on the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island in B.C. Shutterstock

Looking for a unique beach to visit? One that won’t cost an arm and leg to get to?

This week, a list titled The World’s 50 Best Beaches was released, and on the roster: a rugged, remote B.C. beach, where a short hike is needed to access it.

Along with stunning settings in Australia, Hawaii and the Cook Islands, San Josef Bay, an untouched piece of nature at the northern end of Vancouver Island, was ranked 36th.

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“Put on your favourite pair of shoes because you won’t want to miss this breathtaking beach in Cape Scott Provincial Park on Vancouver Island,” reads the report on San Josef Bay.

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“After a good 45-minute hike, you will reach this amazing coastal wilderness and one of the most incredible unspoiled beaches you will ever see. Spend hours here exploring sea tracks and caves, take a refreshing swim, and feel the soft white sand under your feet.

“This beach is surrounded by calmness and rugged wilderness, making it a true unspoiled natural paradise. We highly recommend adding this beach to your ‘must-visit’ list of beaches around the world.”

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According to the list, San Josef Bay was given a perfect 10 out of 10 for being untouched by man, though its swimmable ranking was six out of 10. That’s likely due to annual averages of 149 sunny days and a temperature of 9.9 C — loosely translating to brisk water conditions.

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The best time span in which to visit is from mid-May to early October, with the best month being August.

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The top three beaches were Lucky Bay in Australia, with its pristine white sand; Anse Source d’Argent in Seychelles, off the eastern coast of Africa; and Hidden Beach in the Philippines.

“Our study comes at a time when many travellers are dreaming of that perfect summer beach vacation,” said Tine Holst, co-founder of The World’s 50 Best Beaches.

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“It’s a unique way of uncovering hidden gems that are often overlooked by the travelling public and provides the perfect inspiration for a beach vacation.”

The hike to San Josef Bay is 2.5 kilometres and is considered a family-friendly hike. However, the drive to Cape Scott Provincial Park is two hours from Port Hardy, and Port Hardy is a four-hour drive north from Nanaimo.

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“Remember to pack appropriately for the wilderness and respect the area’s nature and wildlife,” said the list.

“For San Josef to be recognized among the world’s 50 best beaches is terrific,” said Walt Judas, the CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C.

“It’s a testament to the beauty of our province and Vancouver Island in particular. We can also take pride in the fact that San Josef was the only beach in Canada to be included in the top 50.”

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Organizers of the list say it was voted on by more than 750 journalists, editors, bloggers, influencers and agencies.

The Ministry of Environment says Cape Scott Park, and the variety of outdoor recreation opportunities it provides, is a great example of why visitors are drawn to B.C.

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However, as noted, while the park has a rich and diverse marine environment, it has limited facilities and services, and campers must plan their trip and be self-sufficient.

The ministry also noted that the park’s rugged coastline limits boating opportunities and that kayakers must be experienced to navigate the exposed northwest tip of Vancouver Island.

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Other items from the ministry to consider before visiting the beach:

  • Dogs are only permitted in San Josef Bay, and must be leashed
  • The remaining park area is closed to dogs and all pets
  • Park wildlife includes bears and wolves
  • Park visitors must manage their attractants appropriately
  • Stay on park trails
  • Do not disturb wildlife for photos
  • Do not operate drones
  • Take care of your garbage

The list of the world’s 50 best beaches is available online.

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More information about Cape Scott Provincial Park and San Josef Bay is available on the BC Parks website.

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