Long Beach is one of the best beaches in the world, according to FlightNetwork.
Located within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the far west coast of Vancouver Island, Long Beach came in at number 31 on FlightNetwork’s ranking of the world’s top 50 beaches. It was the only Canadian destination to crack the list.
“The people who live in this area and the visitors that come back time after time, have long known that the West Coast is a very special place and Parks Canada is proud to have Long Beach, in the traditional territories of Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, recognized as such,” Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Promotion Officer Crystal Bolduc told the Westerly News.
Through its website, FlightNetwork explains that the list was curated through collaboration with over 1,200 “journalists, editors, bloggers, and agencies, who possess endless travel wisdom” and created to guide travellers towards the world’s most beautiful destinations.
“Long Beach, the perfectly named, seemingly endless shore in British Columbia’s Pacific Rim National Park, is part of a 34,800-acre area covered in coastal temperate rainforest,” the ranking reads.
“This pristine expanse of nature is a core protected area of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Resting in the emerald forest bordering the beach is the Green Point Campground, which is especially enjoyable in the summer as activities like swimming, fishing, and kayaking can easily be enjoyed.”
While summer’s tourist season has passed, Long Beach’s lure attracts travellers year-round and a steady flow of foot traffic was perusing through the sand on a chilly but sunny afternoon on Nov. 30.
“It feels like I’m walking in a painting,” said Meghan Berman of Vancouver.
“It’s one of the wildest, rugged, but just beautiful places on earth,” said James Saunders of Whitehorse.
Briellen Lockhart and Savannah Taylor traveled from Victoria to experience the beach’s serene surroundings.
“I love Long Beach because it embodies the spirit of the West Coast. When you’re here, you feel at peace,” Lockhart said.
“It’s fun, it’s beautiful and it’s just full of freedom,” added Taylor.
Meghan Howcroft of Salt Spring Island said she seeks out Long Beach for the smell.
“It’s so clean and fresh. There’s nowhere else that smells like this in the world,” she said.
Tofino resident Heather Keegan enjoyed a stroll along the beach with 10-month-old daughter Vivian.
“I love Long Beach because even in the summer when it’s packed, it still feels like you have it all to yourself,” she said.
Local volunteers were also at the beach, participating in a Ucluelet Aquarium microplastics survey that’s helping to raise awareness of ocean plastics and striving to keep local shorelines pristine.
“Long Beach is one of the biggest tourist attractions to this area,” said the survey’s organizer Britt Buirs. “With the over a million visitors we get each year, we can help pass the message along to visitors and locals about keeping our oceans clean and keeping our beautiful beaches like Long Beach clean as well.”
Chesterman Beach, in nearby Tofino, did not crack the world’s top 50 list, but did appear at 32 on FlightNetwork’s ranking of top North American beaches. Chesterman was one of just three beaches in B.C. to earn a spot on the North American list along with Long Beach, 7, and San Josef Bay, 41.
“The vast majority of beaches that are ranked are from tropical areas,” said Nancy Cameron of Tourism Tofino, noting the list was dominated by Hawaiian destinations. “For a northern beach to be receiving this kind of recognition is really powerful.”
She said the FlightNetwork ranking will catch the eye of potential travellers and influence them to research Tofino for their next vacation.
“People crave a connection with nature and our beaches,” she said. “They evoke a sense of awe and respect while, at the same time, they calm and relax us. They’re integral to the wellbeing of our population here in Tofino, but also one of the key drivers of tourism visitation.”