7 Places to Kayak in British Columbia

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With 27.2 million miles of coastline, British Columbia is a great destination for kayaking. You can explore the coastline, enjoy the peace of nature, and appreciate the wildlife. Here are seven top choices of places to kayak in British Columbia.

Lake Blue Kayak Water Clouds
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1. Gwaii Haanas

Gwaii Haanas is a Provincial Park located on Haida Gwaii, a collection of islands off the coast of British Columbia that is world-renowned for its natural beauty. To get there you can either go by air or by ferry from most mainland locations in British Columbia.

Once there it’s highly recommended that you take a sea kayaking tour to get the highest chance to see wildlife such as Humpback Whales, Steller Sea Lions, Black Beard Bald Eagles, and Harbour Seals. Sea Kayaking Exploration companies that will take you there include King Fisher Wilderness Adventures, Ocean Sound Kayaking along with a few other choices.

Some of the top places to visit in this park include Hotspring Island, Burnaby Narrows, and Windy Bay.

2. Vargas Island

Located 3.5 km from the outskirts of Tofino on Vancouver Island, Vargas Island is a natural hotspot for kayakers from all over the world. It is also a known location for cunning wolves who have learned how to get into kayak hatches in search of food. While wolf sightings on this island are not guaranteed it is still a fantastic paddle and is great for multi-day touring.

If you are relatively new to kayaking I would recommend doing a tour to ensure your safety. Some highlights include vast shorelines, unique harbors, and almost untouched wildlife. 

3. Deep Cove

For those who live in and around Vancouver, you don’t have to go miles away to get a unique natural kayaking experience. Deep Cover offers pristine natural coastlines that are touched by magnificent waterfront properties that you can cruise by in a kayak. There is also a good chance that you will see friendly seals pop their heads in and out of the water every now and again.

I personally recommend this location as its a great place to clear your head for the day and explore parts of the Indian Arm Straight. There are a variety of different places that you can explore including, Belcarra, Jug Island, and Racoon Island for a day trip. If you want to do a multi-day paddling trip right into the heart of the Indian Arm you can rent some kayaks and go to Granite Falls where you can camp along the shore in many different locations. 

4. False Creek 

This location is a bit less about nature and a bit more for the suburban folk who like to call Vancouver home.

Kayaking False Creek is the perfect way to explore Vancouver without even have to step foot on any streets. You can paddle along from Creekside kayak rentals to follow the Yaletown shoreline. Although False Creek is located in the heart of the city you can still see wildlife such as harbor seals, otters, cormorants and lots of gulls.

My favorite paddling spot on False Creek is Granville Island which can serve as an essential stop for ice cream and fish and chips, as well as the well-known Granville Island Market. 

5. Desolation Sound

Located four hours north of Vancouver, Desolation Sound offers unique opportunities to do multi-day kayaking trips and explore the surrounding coastlines and trees.

Powel River Sea Kayak recommends that you spend four to six days exploring the surrounding area. If you take a guided tour with them you can explore the Okeover inlet and Curme islands where you can set base camp and even snorkel. From there you have a full day of paddling going to Copeland Island and exploring the small community of Bliss Landing before paddling back to Okeover Inlet. 

6. Telegraph Cove 

Located north of Vancouver Island, Telegraph Cove is well known for its kayaking tours with Orcas. To have the best chance to see these magnificent creatures it’s recommended that you go for four to eight days on a guided tour.

Even if you are an experienced paddler, it’s still recommended because the tour guides know the best locations and time of day to see these animals. North Island Kayak actually has a guaranteed whale sighting rate of 90% which is almost unheard of in most kayak tours.

It’s not just whales you can see, as there are lots of Stellar Sea Lion, Eagle and Black Bear sightings that have been reported as well. If you are just planning to stop by for a day or two, there are also day trips available as well. 

7. Salish Sea 

The most southern point on this list, the Salish Sea Marine Trail consists of four legs Victoria to Sidney, Sidney to Nanaimo, crossing the Georgia Strait from Nanaimo to Sechelt, and finally, the Sunshine Coast from Sechelt to Jericho Beach. On this trip, you will see a great mix of both natural and rural environments as you travel from the city to smaller towns and finally complete natural wilderness.

Along this route, some highlights include Provincial parks with camping such as Gulf Islands National Reserve, bird sanctuaries, small towns like Chemainus and Ladysmith, as well as crossing the Georgia Straight to get to Sechelt which is on the mainland.

Once on the mainland, you will be paddling along the well-known Sea to Sky Marine Trail all the way to civilization again in Vancouver (Jericho Beach). Reward yourself with ice cream for the job well done.

British Columbia features wonderful locations along its coastlines that are ready to be explored by kayak. These are only a handful of locations to kayak in British Columbia – there is a lot more coastline to discover. If you are looking for untouched wilderness with lots of wildlife and charm British Columbia is waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

Guest Author Bio: Derek is a paddling enthusiast who resides in Vancouver British Columbia. When he is not working on his blog Floating Authority, he can be found kayaking or paddleboarding in various different locations of the Pacific Northwest. Follow him on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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