2023 is almost over, and not a moment too soon. After the craziness of the holidays, January 1 feels like the perfect time to start new habits, whether it’s committing to spending more time outdoors, eating healthier, reading more books or spending more time with friends and family. So let’s kick off the new year in White Rock with some fun (and mostly free) activities to do on New Year’s Day on your own, with friends or with family.

Watch the first sunrise of 2024

The first sunrise of the year, which obviously, can only be seen on January 1 is referred to in Japanese as the “hatsu-hinode”. It’s a New Year tradition in Japan and is thought to bring good luck for the year ahead. Sunrise in White Rock on January 1 is at the very civilized time of 8:05 am and if it’s a clear day, the end of the White Rock Pier is one of the best spots for watching the sun come up.

Take the Polar Bear Plunge

Celebrate the new year with a splash, literally, by taking part in White Rock’s annual Polar Bear Plunge. Join other plungers and enthusiastic onlookers for this chilly New Year’s Day tradition of a dip in Semiahmoo Bay. Registration is at 10:30 am and the plunge will take place at noon. Meet at P’Quals, the white rock to the east of the pier and costumes are encouraged!


Warm up after your walk with brunch or lunch and your favourite friends or family members. Some of our favourite dishes are The Sweet & Salty at The Wooden Spoon, a delicious plate of thick brioche, double smoked bacon, poached eggs, hollandaise and maple syrup, or waffles at Leon’s Cafe –  we’re partial to the Brie Waffle, a light and crisp Brussels waffle topped with brie cheese, apples, walnuts and honey.

Take a walk along the water

Bundle up and head to the waterfront for a brisk walk on the beach or the promenade if you need to shake off the cobwebs from the previous night’s celebrations. Walk from West Beach to East Beach and keep an eye out for curious seagulls, search for sea glass and, if it’s windy there’s a good chance that there will be kiteboarders out riding the waves. Warm up afterwards with a holiday coffee or a hot chocolate at one of White Rock’s coffee shops.

Watch the sunset from the Promenade

End your day with one of White Rock’s spectacular sunsets. Grab a spot along the promenade, or the pier, and watch as the sun meets the horizon and the sky blazes with colour. Don’t forget, the sun sets early these days … sunset on January 1 is around 4:25 pm.

Check out Bright Walk in White Rock

White Rock’s Memorial Park is lit up for the holidays with a magical winter lights display. The lights will be turned on nightly after dusk until January 7 … lots of time to visit the enjoy the lights and the seaside.