With the summer weather now upon us, it is finally time to turn to the remarkable waters throughout the province to play and cool off. We are lucky to have some of the most stunning coastal scenery in all of of Canada, as well as some of the prettiest lakes and rivers, all of which are absolutely wonderful spots for kayaking (or perhaps canoeing). So grab your paddle and get ready to explore.
This list has places all around BC that range in difficulty and scenery so you're sure to find something that suits your fancy. Remember to always plan ahead and be safe. Have fun out on the water and paddle on.
Here are just a few of the best places one can go kayaking. Of course there are near endless others, but for a guaranteed amazing day of paddling these spots are hard to beat:
Photo cred - @coachsuki
1. False Creek // Vancouver
If you don't have too much time to escape the city, or simply want to take in the impressive cityscape from the water, this is the paddle for you. Peruse the dock systems, admiring the many boats, find a place to tie off and have an ice cream creekside. Go at dusk for a cool view of the city's lights.
Photo cred - @erikainamerika
2. Indian Arm // North Vancouver
One of the nicest places near Van for Kayaking. From Deep Cove you can travel hours towards Squamish through protected waterways, which makes for easy paddling on glassy, cool waters. Find a place to swim, navigate islands and discover some beautiful waterfalls.
Photo cred - @pnwbyphone
3. Pitt Lake // Grants Narrows Provincial Park
40 km to the east of downtown Vancouver, you can explore the cold, freshwater of Pitt Lake. The lake is the second largest in the lower mainland and thusly is a popular spot for all kinds of water sports. There's lots of places to swim and fish, and you will likely see some seals!
Photo cred - @andrwjk
4. Skookumchuck Narrows // Egmont
If you're a more serious kayaker, this is a world famous whitewater destination. Low tide is doable as an intermediate kayaker, but come high tide, the flow of water switches direction creating some extreme rapids. It takes about 2 hours to paddle, but make sure you're up for the challenge.
Photo cred - @hlrowbotham
5. Copeland Islands // Lund
Near the Skook, but for a much more relaxing paddle, this collection of islands is teeming with marine wildlife and offers many secluded coastline inlets, typically protected from harsh weather.
Photo cred - @blairstretch
6. Desolation Sound // Lund
Head out from the islands into the expansive sound, where the water is warm and there are many great swimming spots. And with an expansive amount of shoreline, you'll be able to paddle for days.
Photo cred - @beldridge7
7. Kicking Horse River // Golden
Another extreme river for only the experienced paddlers, but it certainly deserves a mention as it is the longest section of whitewater in the Canadian Rockies. Class III to V rapids makes this a serious paddle, but for those with the expertise, one of the best.
Photo cred - @girlwithatroutaddiction
8. Thompson River Canyon // Lytton
Now, this is a exciting river run for those who have at least a little experience. If you think you can keep from tipping too often, this Class III river is a lot of fun, not too dangerous, and has several entry and exit points if your journey gets too intense.
Photo cred - @wing3r
9. Bowron Lakes // Bowron Lakes Provincial Park
This is considered one of the best canoe/kayaking destinations in the entire world! You can make a trip out of it by completing a 116 km circuit over the course of a few days. You will experience a wide range of pristine scenery and a variety of paddling, making this an absolute must for any of you devoted paddlers out there.
Photo cred - @travelling_tai
10. Vargas Island // Tofino
3 km northwest of Tofino, Vargas Island makes a great weekend trip if you want to camp. There is a chance to spot gray whales in the coastal waters and wolves on the shores. Otherwise, you can make a day trip out of it if you leave early.
Photo cred - @cosmos85
11. The Broken Group Islands // Barkley Sound
On the ocean side of Vancouver Island, this group of isles allows for calm paddling, until leaving the protection of westwardly land, where the full force of the Pacific Ocean creates terrific sea-kayaking, in often good-sized swells. There are also occasional sandy beaches.
Photo cred - @kevinrushby
12. Johnstone Strait // Telegraph Cove
If you want to see a whale, this is your best bet. Crossing the strait is considered to be pretty dangerous, but there are several tours that take you exploring amongst the whales. Seeing the majestic orca from just feet away in a little, flimsy boat may be somewhat nerve-racking, but an experience you'll likely cherish forever.
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