Vancouver and the Island are world-renowned for its natural beauty, closeness to the coast, and of course, it’s unique kayaking and paddleboarding. Located off the Pacific Northwest of North America, Vancouver is nestled in the temperate rainforest which makes it an ideal natural wonder for those who love kayaking below mountains and scenic coastlines. Vancouver and Vancouver Island have a variety of different routes that are available for all paddling skill levels. If you are a beginner take a look at some of the basics before getting started!
Best Kayaking Around Vancouver
Skill Level: Easy-Moderate
Where to rent: Deep Cove Kayak
Port Moody is located about a half-hour from downtown Vancouver and is one of the go-to places to kayak around the Greater Vancouver area. Along Deep Cove, you will see a splendid mixture of beautiful houses blended in with trees that surround the Indian Arm. There are several beginner routes you can take including Jug Island and Bedwell Bay. For those more experienced you can rent some kayaks for a few days from Deep Cove Kayak and paddle all the way from Deep Cove to Wigwam Inn. When I rented kayaks for the day I kayaked to Lone Rock where there were some amazing dream-like houses all scattered throughout the coast.
Skill Level: Easy
Where to rent: Vancouver Water Adventures, Kayak Vancouver
Kits Beach is located just slightly West of downtown Vancouver. Heck, you can even walk there from downtown depending on where you start off. Kits beach is a great location for beginners to simply rent a recreational kayak for a few hours to a day and explore the coastline of Vancouver city. Some possible destinations include paddling to False Creek and English Bay to longer paddles that span to Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks. While you may see the occasional seal and eagle it’s more about the beaches where you can see volleyball tournaments, eat ice cream and enjoy the view along the Burrard inlet. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to see Vancouver in a different light.
Skill Level: Easy-Medium (Tide Dependant)
Where to Rent: Crescent Beach Paddle Shack
You probably won’t see this location mentioned too often in these best kayaking in Vancouver lists but It’s one of my personal favorites. Located next to Crescent Beach, it is a great route to explore. For folks who are renting kayaks or paddleboards you will be starting at Crescent Beach. From there you hang a right and paddle along the river where, if you go farther enough you can see some boats floating along as you get past the boat launch. If you have your own kayak or paddleboard you can launch at Heritage trails, which is a popular spot for the South Surrey Rowers club. It’s a fantastic place to see Eagles, King Fishers, and even seals and minks along the shoreline resting or actively fishing. It’s one of my favorite places because of it’s small communal Maritime Vibe. I should warn you though, the tides comes in and out very quickly so it can be pretty difficult to paddle if you are caught in it. Make sure you look at the tide tables before going out.
Skill Level: Easy
Where to rent: Creekside Kayak Rental, Kayak Vancouver
If you are located central to the city and just want to paddle for an hour or two False Creek is the best place to do this. Truthfully you can even use this as a route to get to Kitsilano as it’s not too far away. Along this route, you can do some quick stops and grab ice cream by the water as well as explore the Grandville Market. Paddling under the Grandville Bridge is quite the sight as you will see lots of different kinds of boats sprawled along the various different docks scattered throughout False Creek. If you want to venture for longer you can head out to English Bay and Second Beach located in Stanley Park. From there you can see the Sea Wall and even Lions Gate Bridge if you paddle long enough.
Best Kayaking Around Vancouver Island
Clayoquot Sound/ Tofino
Skill Level: Medium Light – Medium Hard
Where to Rent: Tofino Sea Kayaking, Paddle West Kayaking, Majestic Kayaking
If you want the true Pacific Northwest wilderness vibe then Clayoquot Sound is for you. Located just off of Tofino there are lots of different routes available for different skill levels, If you are new to sea kayaking it is probably best if you do a sea kayaking tour with one of the above-suggested outfits. They will have a guide that will take you through some of the most unique spots to see wildlife as well on routes such as Harbour islands, and Meares Island. If you are more experienced sea kayaker who wants to do a multi-day trip then a suggested route is Hot Springs Cove, where you can explore the Halfmoon Beach and Flores Island. Out of all the suggested locations, this is where you have the best chance to see the most unique wildlife. Killer Whale, Sea Lion, Humpback whale, coastal wolves, and black bear sightings are all within the realm of possibilities.
Skill Level: Easy-Medium
Where to Rent: Coastal Expression, Adventures Wild Heart Sea Kayaking Tours
While Nanaimo is fairly well known on the island it’s not particularly well known for its kayaking. I think that should change as it is an area that has a lot of options available for paddlers of all skill levels. I personally launched my kayak from Living Forest Campground and had a nice day paddle in and around the Nanaimo Estuary. If you are looking for a well-organized day trip then the Day Tripper package by Wild Heard Sea Kayaking allows you to paddle along the protected channels of the Salish Sea to the coastlines of DeCourcy and Mudge and Link Islands. On this trip, you will see a good variety of wildlife all within the day paddle. You will also be able to be close to Nanaimo which has a lot of cool restaurants and coffee shops scattered throughout the city and the rural towns. If you like paddling in freshwater I personally liked bringing my inflatable paddleboard to Westwood Lake Park located just west of downtown Nanaimo.
These are some of our favorite locations within Vancouver and Vancouver Island to paddle but there are so many other worthwhile places that we have not mentioned. Which are some of your favorite destinations to go to around Vancouver and Vancouver Island?