If you’ve never had your butcher offer you a free bag of bones for your dog, or had your barista warmly welcome you by your first name, you’re missing out on that neighbourhood that everyone should be searching for. We’re here to help you find it.
On Boundary Bay.
Surrounded by Surrey to the north, east, and west, and Semiahmoo First Nation and the Pacific Ocean to the south, White Rock is just minutes away from the US border and just a hop, skip and a jump away from the water in most spots. Sure, it might be named after a big white rock that sits on its shoreline, but don’t let that lack of imagination fool you. This is a city full of creative local businesses, sweeping ocean-front views, and beautiful murals at just about every turn.
South Surrey, on the other hand, takes up a bit more space than the tight-knit community in White Rock. From the local's favourite shoreline at Crescent Beach to some first-class golfing in the northeast corner of South Surrey at Morgan Creek, the neighbourhood offers a wide range of things to do, people to meet, and yes, homes to purchase. We explored South Surrey and White Rock in Season One of RealTours for this exact reason, and to understand the differences between the two communities.
Here’s your neighbourhood guide to White Rock and South Surrey, BC.
On the house.
White Rock's real estate landscape is as appealing as its scenic beachfront. White Rock Beach, a magnet for both tourists and locals, becomes a bustling hub in the summertime and the best place for a stroll in the province during the winter months. The allure of its restaurants, coupled with its proximity to outdoor activities such as kayaking, golfing, and sailing, makes it a sought-after destination.
The beachfront itself is dotted with commercial establishments, with condos (and spectacular views) directly above. As you venture uphill, the housing landscape changes to detached homes, with beach vibes and even more incredible views. As local real estate expert Peter Dolecki explains in RealTours, a significant portion of White Rock's buyers are retirees, empty nesters, and investors. Many are making the shift from Vancouver, drawn by the promise of a serene, slower-paced lifestyle.
With space at a premium, property values in White Rock have been on a steady uptrend. A bit further up the hill in White Rock Proper, the skyline is increasingly being defined by multi-level condos and high-rises, something to watch for in the years to come.
Head north to get south.
The story in South Surrey is more complex, with several neighbourhoods encompassing their own unique characteristics.
Crescent Beach, a quaint beachside community, has undergone a transformation, with many of its original homes and cottages making way for modern residences. From the beachfront, one can enjoy panoramic views of Vancouver, the North Shore Mountains, and even the beaches of our downstairs neighbours in the USA. While it basks in sunnier weather compared to the rest of the Lower Mainland, Crescent Beach remains a hidden gem, less frequented by tourists and cherished by locals for its tight-knit community feel. Unlike other areas in Greater Vancouver, Crescent Beach sees limited property flippers, as people who move here tend to plant deep roots.
Heading back inland, Morgan Creek makes up another highly desirable community in South Surrey, perfect for established families and golf lovers alike.
Initially designed around the Morgan Creek Golf Course, the neighbourhood has flourished into a family-centric community with expansive homes on large properties. It's a haven for empty nesters drawn to the golf course and families seeking tranquillity. The area boasts top-notch schools and a serene ambiance reminiscent of idyllic TV subdivisions - you’ve probably watched more than a movie or two filmed here. Properties in Morgan Creek exude a Whistler charm, characterized by dark cabinetry and floors. Many homes in the area are beginning to brighten things up for a cleaner, modern look.
Room for activities.
From hiking trails that wind through picturesque landscapes to local parks perfect for picnics and family outings, there’s always something to do in this sunny corner of the province.
White Rock and South Surrey are coastal gems that offer a delightful blend of seaside charm and outdoor adventures. At the heart of White Rock lies the iconic White Rock Pier, a landmark that provides panoramic views of the ocean at Semiahmoo Bay and serves as a bustling hub for locals and tourists alike. The serene ambiance and gentle waves on the waterfront are perfect for leisurely strolls, beach picnics, and watching the sunset paint the sky. Crescent Beach is another coastal haven where the dark sands and calm tides entice beachgoers for a day of relaxation and fun. The skimboarding here is first class.
The region's proximity to the ocean means boaters have easy access to water sports and activities, opening up opportunities for sailing, kayaking, and cruises on the water. Anglers can find solace in fishing at the Nicomekl River, hoping to catch a prize fish from its banks (or if not a fish, to at least catch a break from a day at the office).
For sports enthusiasts, Crescent Park's tennis courts are a hotspot, providing a perfect setting for both casual games and intense matches. And before you ask, yes—pickleball courts have been added here, too. Golfers can tee off at Peace Portal, enjoying a round amidst lush greens and scenic fairways. Located right on the US border, you’re also just a few minutes away from our southern neighbours for a day shopping or relaxing in Birch Bay.
In White Rock and South Surrey, every day is an invitation to embrace the great outdoors and create lasting memories. Adventure and tranquillity coexist beautifully in this seaside paradise.
Down to business.
Here are some of the most popular local businesses in White Rock and South Surrey, BC.
3 Dogs Brewing
The best beer in White Rock and South Surrey comes out of 3 Dogs Brewing, a spot that’s quickly become a local favourite. Since 2017, they’ve been offering over 12 rotating beers and ciders ranging from new in-house brews to guest taps and seasonals. We like all the staples but come back frequently for the rotating taps. They just released a strawberry-rhubarb sour that’ll make your cheeks pucker and your knees buckle.
Come grab a flight and listen to some live music, or sign up for one of their brain-busting movie, TV or music trivia nights. Fun times are in your future at 3 Dogs Brewing.
You down with OPP?
From being voted one of the top pizza spots in Vancouver by readers of the Vancouver Sun, to the best pub in Surrey by the Surrey Now, Ocean Park Pizza has the accolades to get you in the door. But it’s their attention to detail and delicious food that will keep you coming back for more. They’ve been serving the community for over 40 years, having gone from a small storefront to a large wooden cabin that feels like home. Don’t miss out on this incredible slice of Ocean Park.
When the wind hits your hair, and the sound of waves gets to your ears, there’s only one thing missing, and it’s a thing of beauty. Ice cream and the beach go hand in hand, and Bravo Gelato is here to satisfy your sweet tooth when you head to Crescent Beach. This is traditional Italian gelato and sorbetti, made fresh on site and featuring all of the classic flavours. Pistachio, hazelnut, and salted caramel will not disappoint.
Uli’s has been a staple in White Rock for over 30 years, which might as well be 300 years in the restaurant world. They’ve maintained their status as one of the best restaurants in White Rock by never cutting corners and staying true to what they do best: eclectic, West Coast-inspired cuisine.
Uli’s is a family-run restaurant founded by Ulrich (Uli) Blume, with Uli’s son Tyson now at the helm. Local farms and vendors are used as much as possible. Try the bison carpaccio, Dungeness crab cakes, or fish and chips to taste the flavours of BC. If it’s your first time at Uli’s, make no mistakes about your order: the paella is a show-stopper.
Top of the class.
When it comes to education in the south corner of our province, White Rock and South Surrey schools are both operated by school district number 36.
Established in 1906, the Surrey School District stands as the largest in terms of student enrollment in British Columbia, with over 77,000 students to care for. It's also among the few districts in the province experiencing growth (making up 130 schools and counting).
Serving the urban areas of Surrey and White Rock, along with the rural region of Barnston Island, the district plays a vital role in the educational landscape of the region.
Students are taught to think both creatively and critically, to communicate with skill, and to show compassion for themselves and others. Secondary schools in White Rock and South Surrey include Semiahmoo, Elgin Park, and Earl Marriott, with over a dozen elementary schools spread across the region.
Coastal living at its finest.
In the picturesque landscapes of British Columbia, the distinct characters of White Rock and South Surrey paint a vibrant picture of coastal living. White Rock, with its bustling beachfront and upward-trending real estate, offers a blend of leisure and luxury. Crescent Beach, on the other hand, is a hidden gem where community bonds are strong, and the views are breathtaking. Morgan Creek, with its family-focused ambiance and Whistler-style properties, provides a tranquil retreat for those seeking a serene lifestyle. Together, these communities encapsulate the diverse appeal of the region, offering something for everyone, from the adventurous outdoor enthusiast to the family seeking peace and quiet to the retiree looking for a scenic place to settle.