Unlike Malibu or Santa Monica, though, the seas are relatively free of swimmers, who instead head for the saltwater swimming pool at the beach's western end.
The $6 entry fee will leave me with just $1.20 for my final meal (which I'd have to enjoy without the luxury of underpants, given that I'd left my swimming shorts in London), but the romance of the moment is too much to resist.
I pay up, strip off and float across to the pool's far side, rest my arms on the pool's edge and admire a magnificent sunset.
But I can't remember a time that I've felt more hungry, and the past three days' diet of bad croissants, expired cashews and street food hasn't left me in the best of conditions.
I have two options: head to the nearest dollar store and trade my remaining money for as many calories as I can get, knowing I'd only failed my challenge a little bit, or break out the credit card, sample Vancouver's pricey side and add a little perspective to the past three days of wallet-watching.
In the end, it's an easy decision: if I'm going to fail, I may as well fail properly.
And so I find myself in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia -- one of two five-star hotels in the most expensive city in North America.
On-site restaurant Hawksworth has been called, by many, the best restaurant in Canada and I have a table for one.
As my main course of tandoori-grilled sturgeon floats into view (a dish whose price tag immediately eclipses the past three days' budget, and then some), I don't feel a single pang of guilt.
My challenge had, admittedly, been a churlish one, and though trying to do Vancouver on a budget had yielded some interesting results, the inescapable truth is that expensive places are best enjoyed with a willful ignorance of the economy.
All in all, I'd say I got my money's worth.
Vancouver's top 5 cheap and free things
Vancouver is home to more than 300 pieces of public art. Itinerary maps and information on the latest additions can be found at the city's public art registry.
The city's mobile grub scene is one of the liveliest in North America. You can find out who's selling what and where with the Vancouver Food Trucks app.
"Mother nature's stairmaster" isn't easily conquered, but it beats paying $40 for the cable car and the views are spectacular.
Like an infinity pool in a posh hotel, this public swimming spot offers incredible views of English Bay for just $6.