A lone stretch of driftwood-strewn beach, a quiet morning stroll along the boardwalk, a cozy cup of coffee watching a storm roll in over the water — White Rock, B.C. is a great place to spend a little time away. Canada without the rush and bustle of Vancouver, but close enough to home to invest your time in being there rather than getting there, this little city by the sea has a lot to offer. White Rock has a milder climate than surrounding destinations, making it possible for you to enjoy a sunny stroll, even in the depths of winter. So take a break and head for this worthy coastal gem.
What to Do
Seaside towns all over the west coast of the U.S. and Canada have become havens for artists. Check out the distinctive galleries and artful gift shops in White Rock. Of note is the White Rock Gallery, a fine art gallery that specializes in paintings, sculptures, and original prints. Another fine art gallery worth your time is Jenkins Showler, which has been in operation since 1999. 4Cats is an art supplies shop with a studio space for you and your kids to create art together. A little farther out is Mind and Matter Gallery, founded in 1966 by the late Arnold Mikelson. Mind and Matter is in a three-acre, pastoral setting and specializes in wood carving, paintings, batiks, dye screens, and more. Mary Mikelson, Arnold’s widow, has written a nonfiction account of their life together and the founding of the gallery called Mind and Matter: Life With Arnold Mikelson. For First Nations art and crafts, Cheryl’s Trading Post has authentic handmade carvings, drums, rattles, jewelry, beadwork, paintings, prints, and more. The work she sells is of the highest quality and reflects the importance of Indigenous culture in coastal B.C.
White Rock offers great shopping for those looking to find some distinctive souvenirs. Focus your hunt on The Five Corners, a section of White Rock where galleries, restaurants, and shops are concentrated. The Hand Picked Home has nicely crafted home decor items and jewelry. For modern, chic clothing, jewelry, and other accessories, check out Vanilla Clothing. If wine is your thing, Swirl is a beautifully curated wine shop right in the heart of White Rock. Whatever you choose, the selection of stores and styles in White Rock is excellent.
Where to dine
Just as the retail offers variety, so, too, the restaurant scene. Laura’s Coffee Corner serves up excellent java and scones. For lunch, try the fish tacos at Fishboat or the fresh sushi at Kappa Sushi Restaurant. Cottage Lunch is a charming place to linger over some fish-n-chips. Little India serves excellent Indian food, and Cosmos is a great Greek place for those who love a good avgolemono. For an intimate dinner, Five Corners Bistro is a cozy spot. If fine dining is on your list, try Le Vol Au Vent or Pearl Bistro and Oyster Bar, rumored to be one of the finest restaurants in the Northwest. Any way you dice it, you’re going to eat well in this little corner of B.C.
Where to stay
White Rock is a bed-and-breakfast kind of a town, and it’s easy to see why — the nearby shopping, dining, and attractions lend themselves to the scale of a smaller boutique or b-n-b. One of the best is the White Star Bed and Breakfast. One block from the main street in town, this charming place not only offers the convenience of being close-in, the breakfasts are delicious, and the staff is incredibly informative and helpful. The Ocean Rose Bed-and-Breakfast is a bit off the beaten path, but very romantic. A classic b-n-b in a historic home, the Ocean Rose is a great option for those who like peace and quiet.
For a boutique hotel feel, the Ocean Promenade Hotel on Marine Drive is a good choice. Also located close-in, the Ocean Promenade has clean, modern rooms and exceptional service. The hotel also offers weekend packages and specials, so watch for those. Whatever you choose, the sea breezes and gentle currents of the ocean will calm and relax you.