Premier Listings: Canoeing & Kayaking on Vancouver Island & BC Islands

Canoeing & Kayaking on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island’s vast number of lakes, rivers and ocean inlets are a perfect pleasure to explore by canoe. The large, relatively isolated lakes of the north and central portion of the island are enclaves of solitude, where the only sound you’ll hear is the call of a loon or the splash of a jumping fish. Experience breathtaking views and abundant wildlife as you glide silently, effortlessly, through morning mist and dense evergreen forests.

Plan day trips near your campsite or challenge the Lakes of the Sayward Forest Canoe Route on an exciting 5-day adventure. Canoe campers travel by canoe and are self contained for overnight stays.

Victoria: Paddling within Victoria’s Inner Harbour and the Gorge, a meandering waterway that leads from Victoria’s upper harbour through a landscaped urban environment, before widening into Portage Inlet, is a favourite destination for canoeists and beginning kayakers.

Elk Lake and Beaver Lake, 8 miles north of Victoria on Hwy 17, offer plenty of opportunities for canoeing with a number of good launching points. Brentwood Bay and Tod Inlet offer sheltered waters and interesting coastlines to explore. Explore the shoreline at Cadboro Bay or paddle through the middle, experiencing small waves and currents from the protection of the sheltered bay.

Thetis Lake in View Royal provides freshwater paddling for those with hand-carried boats. Launch from the main beach and explore the many bays and small islands that characterize the lake. A narrow channel connects the two halves of the lake system, just wide enough for a canoe or kayak.

Matheson Lake in Metchosin is set in a steep-sided, heavily forested environment, 26 km southwest of Victoria, at the foot of Mount Matheson. The park is a paddling destination for those seeking a serene, cloistered environment.

Witty’s Lagoon west of Victoria offers yet another perspective on the coastline. A long swath of sandy beach curves gently along Strait of Juan de Fuca. Witty’s offers an interesting and accessible paddling destination, but be sure to pay attention to the tides.

James Island shelters the waters of Cordova Channel in front of Island View Beach Regional Park. A boat ramp is conveniently located at the entrance to the park. Paddle over to nearby James Island, and from there to Sidney Island and Sidney Spit Marine Park.

Cowichan Lake, located west of Duncan on Hwy 18, is another favourite destination – the 43 km long lake is ideal for canoeing. Head west from Duncan on Highway 18 to the community of Lake Cowichan.

Nanaimo is a canoeist’s delight, with two excellent harbours and Newcastle Island Provincial Park between them. Paddlers will enjoy Pipers Lagoon and Quennell Lake; these waters are ideal for all skill levels, as are the waters of Nanoose Bay, north of Nanaimo.

The Gulf Islands lie snug in the Georgia Strait, between the mainland and the eastern side of Vancouver Island. Those who venture out on the water are rewarded with sheltered provincial wilderness campsites on several marine park islands. It’s difficult to overstate how pleasant it is to stay at any of them. Most of the year, those who make the effort to paddle beyond the federal docks soon have the ocean to themselves.

Come warmer weather and mellower seas, hundreds of visitors a day flock to marine parks, such as Jedediah Island Marine Provincial Park, which nearby Lasqueti Island residents refer to jokingly as ‘Club Jed.’ Not that there isn’t plenty of room; its just that from October to May, it feels truly luxurious to have so much space in which to play. Part of Jedediah Island’s charm is that it is not easy to reach. The best approach is from Lasqueti Island. Plan on taking six hours to paddle the 18-km route from False Bay on Lasqueti to Jedediah Island.

For those who journey past the south end of Lasqueti Island, there’s good reason for putting ashore at Squitty Bay Provincial Park. Not only is there freshwater from a pump in the park’s picnic area, there’s also an interesting adjacent ecological reserve. Walk out on the headland to a rock cairn, from where you look southeast to Vancouver and distant Mount Baker, and west to the Comox Valley, surmounted by the white expanse of the Comox Glacier.

There are several places around the northern straits where an open canoe is just as handy as a kayak to reach one of the provincial marine parks. For example, you can paddle from Denman Island to nearby Sandy Island Marine Provincial Park. Although it’s possible on a calm day to launch from the wharf at Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island, cross Baynes Sound to the west side of Denman, and then make your way north to the park, you can reduce your travel time by taking the 10-minute ferry ride to Denman, then launching from here. Paddling distance from Denman’s ferry dock to Sandy Island is about 10 kms.

As you make your way you may be accompanied by seals, dolphins, or loons. Tall blue herons stand posted like sentries on the rocky outcroppings exposed at low tide. A long spit of land – Longbreak Point, curves out from Denman towards Sandy Island and provides a calming breakwater.

Port Alberni: Hikers can rent canoes, or bring their own, and paddle the full length of Great Central Lake, then hike to view North America’s tallest waterfall, Della Falls. Sproat Lake lies 8 miles west of Port Alberni on Hwy 4 – warm waters ideal for swimming and canoeing.

Campbell River: The Sayward Forest Canoe Route situated within the Sayward Forest covers almost 30 miles of lakes and creeks. Excellent road access to most of the lakes within the canoe route allows a variety of put-in and take-out points. Upper Campbell and Buttle Lakes, situated in beautiful Strathcona Provincial Park, offer outstanding wilderness scenery and another favourite destination for canoeists.

The islands of Quadra, Cortes, Read, Sonora and Thurlow are spread out before Campbell River. Canoeists of all skill levels can spend an afternoon or several days just cruising around or exploring these spectacular islands.

Schoen Lake Provincial Park, north of Campbell River, is known for its beautiful lake under the summit of Mt. Schoen. Paddlers will enjoy exploring the area – spend the night at one of the wilderness campsites.

Sproat Lake Provincial Park: Here you will encounter the untamed wilderness of Vancouver Island. The Nitinat Triangle boasts an unequalled chain of lakes, and presents a challenging excursion for experienced paddlers.

Paddling is possible year-round, but best from March to September. Winds are gentle in the morning and pick up in the afternoon. Canadian regulations require kayakers have with them certain safety equipment, including a personal flotation device, a whistle, a bailing device, 15 metres of floating rope and a spare paddle. For more information contact the Canadian Coast Guard.

Sea Kayaking on Vancouver Island

Whitewater Kayaking on Vancouver Island

Premier Listings

Photo of Broughton Archipelago Paddler’s Inn
Broughton Archipelago Paddler’s Inn
Adventure Location: Simoom Sound Broughton Archipelago BC Mailing Address: P.O. Box 410 Sointula BC V0N 3E0 Home Phone: 250-230-0088Visit Website

Biographical Info

Sea Kayak in comfort based from our ocean-side, or float-house accommodations in the wilderness of the Broughton Archipelago, a kayak paradise. Enjoy sumptuous catered meals, or cook for yourself. Guided kayak tours, lessons and rentals are available, as well as charter boat tours and kayak transport. We also offer Acupressure massage on-site. Surround yourself with ocean, beaches, trails, an inland lake, and quiet beauty.

Return to top.
Photo of Mothership Adventures
Mothership Adventures
P.O. Box 30 Heriot Bay Quadra Island BC V0P 1H0 Home Phone: 250-202-3229Home Phone: 604-677-5692Work Phone: 1-888-833-8887Visit Website

Biographical Info

Explore our remote coastal wilderness aboard the heritage vessel Columbia III! Join us for exhilarating and unforgettable BC adventure tours that include sea kayaking, eco adventure, natural history, First Nations culture, extraordinary wildlife viewing, photography and painting. Experience sand beaches, stunning fjords, lush estuaries, and exceptional wildlife viewing of whales and bears. Travel in luxury with a certified hospitable crew, qualified guides, gourmet food and comfortable accommodation aboard the luxury Mothership.

Return to top.
Photo of Ecosummer Expeditions
Ecosummer Expeditions
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 156 Clearwater BC V0E 1N0 Ecosummer Orca Camp Warden Beach Vancouver Island BC Home Phone: 250-674-0102Home Fax: 250-674-2197Work Phone: 1-800-465-8884Visit Website

Biographical Info

Awaken to the song of the Humpback whale. Fall asleep beneath the hushed canopy of a temperate rainforest. Fill your days whale-watching, kayaking with Orcas, observing sea lions romp through an underwater forest of kelp, and eagles fishing along the shore. Linger over lunch on a deserted island, scanning the horizon for signs of Orca activity.

Sign up for Ecosummer’s guided Orca Camps to kayak in the realm of Killer Whales. Explore the rainforest, hiking to waterfalls, or along ancient First Nation trails. Marvel when dolphins swim so close you wish you could reach out and touch them. Tune in to the rhythm of the tides. Escape the hubbub of your everyday world and restore life’s equilibrium on the shores of BC’s Johnstone Strait, one of the best places to whale-watch in all of British Columbia. Paddle the same waters as these gentle giants on three, four, or six-day kayaking adventures with Ecosummer Expeditions for a family vacation you’ll always remember.

Return to top.
Photo of Ocean Light II Adventures
Ocean Light II Adventures
#363 – 1917 West 4th Avenue Vancouver BC V6J 1M7 Home Phone: 604-328-5339Home Fax: 604-731-7066Visit Website

Biographical Info

Ocean Light II is a beautiful and spacious 71ft sailboat offering comfort, a classic natural wood interior, 5 guest cabins, fishing gear, 7 seakayaks, and a 19ft hard-bottom inflatable. Her crew has 34 years of experience offering natural history and photography tours on the BC Coast, including Haida Gwaii, and specializing in grizzly viewing tours in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, and spirit bear and grizzly tours in the Great Bear Rainforest. We also offer whale watching and eco tours, from totems to intertidal treasures, rocky shores to sandy beaches, and spawning salmon to towering trees. We offer five spectacular adventure trips between May and October, each to a different region and each highlighting the awe-inspiring beauty of the beautiful BC coast.

Return to top.
Photo of Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & Vacations
Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & Vacations
685 Heriot Bay Road Quadra Island BC V0P 1N0 Home Phone: 250-204-0420Visit WebsiteVisit Blog

Biographical Info

Wildcoast provides memorable kayak vacations for adventure travellers that combine spectacular scenery, scrumptious food, and abundant wildlife encounters, including whales, dolphins, bears and eagles. Kayak with Killer Whales at our Orca base camp in Johnstone Strait, or take one of our kayak expeditions to Desolation Sound or the Discovery Islands. Our top-rated service caters to both local and international clientele. All kayak tours are fully inclusive and no kayaking experience is required. Only have a day? Visit our storefront for paddleboard and kayak Rentals or Day Tours in the stunning vistas surrounding Quadra Island.

Return to top.
Photo of Quatsino Lodge Kayaking
Quatsino Lodge Kayaking
Kayaking Location: Quatsino Sound BC V0N 2V0 Mailing Address: 6288 Michael\’s Drive Courtenay BC V9J 1P4 Home Phone: 250-338-7473Home Fax: 250-338-7473Work Phone: 1-866-279-5061Visit Website

Biographical Info

Quatsino Lodge specializes in guided sea kayaking & sportfishing. Kayaking guests enjoy day trips exploring ever changing coast lines, secluded beaches, remote islands and secret coves with abundant sea life. Our heated cabin cruisers take us out to the chosen area, and collects us at the end of the day, eliminating the need to paddle long distances, camp out or live on board a boat, evenings are spent warm, dry and pampered in the comfort of the lodge.

Return to top.
Photo of Sidney Whale Watching
Sidney Whale Watching
#105, 2537 Beacon Avenue Sidney BC V8L 1Y2 Home Phone: 250-656-7599Work Phone: 1-888-656-7599Visit WebsiteVisit Blog

Biographical Info

Sidney Whale Watching offers whale watching and wildlife sightseeing Tours and charters for killer whales (Orcas), sea birds, seal colonies, and other marine life. Three to three and a half hour tours start right from Sidney’s waterfront, near the highest percentage of Orca sightings and porpoise and dolphin feeding grounds. The seas in Sidney are much calmer than Victoria or Vancouver due to it being protected by the Gulf Islands. Waterfront kayak tours, kayak rentals, and kayaking lessons. Five minutes from ferry terminals and airport, with free airport and ferry pick up.

Return to top.
Photo of Canadian Adventure Rentals
Canadian Adventure Rentals
12263 – 248th Street Maple Ridge BC V4R 1J5 Home Phone: 604-466-5940Work Phone: 1-855-525-5940Visit Website

Biographical Info

Pickup and Return:
Vancouver, BC

Self-Drive Camping Vacations in British Columbia. Canadian Adventure Rentals will help you create the ultimate outdoor adventure. All packages include a luxury sports utility vehicle (unlimited mileage) fully equipped with camping gear for one to four persons. We also provide mountain bikes, kayaks and canoes, and will reserve campsites across BC for you.

Return to top.
Photo of Spirit of the West Kayaking
Spirit of the West Kayaking
P.O. Box 569 Heriot Bay Quadra Island BC V0P 1H0 Home Phone: 250-285-2121Home Fax: 1-888-389-5736Work Phone: 1-800-307-3982Visit Website

Biographical Info

Kayaking British Columbia is the ultimate way to view BC’s abundant wildlife.

We want you to fall in love with kayaking and our unique coast, and our passion shows in everything we do. Choose among several professionally-guided 4-8 day trips for all experience levels around Vancouver Island. ‘Glamping’ basecamp-style with wood-fired hot tub overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or expedition-style paddling from camp to camp and paddling between 100s of islands through the Broughton Archipelago, famous Desolation Sound and the wild Great Bear Rainforest on the Central Coast. Savouring a fresh salmon BBQ in the open air, explore and view fascinating wildlife and wilderness and wake up on remote islands with the sound of the whales. Unique and breathtaking.

Our adventures are for everyone and are designed to cater to all levels of experience and abilities. We take care to introduce you to the sport in a fun and safe manner. All that we ask is that you welcome adventure with an open mind and are able to laugh and have fun when encountering the unexpected. Our groups are small, ranging from 8 to 13 people, depending on the trip, in order to provide you with the best experience possible. We provide everything you need for a once in a lifetime kayaking adventure. We provide high-quality fiberglass kayaks, paddling equipment, camp cookware, eating utensils, and camping gear.

Our guides take care of you for the entire duration of your tour, prepare delicious, organic and local meals, and have extensive training and experience in sea kayaking and in sharing the natural and cultural history of the area.

During the Northern Hemisphere winter, we also offer kayaking trips to the glacier-fed South American wildlife paradise, the Chilean Patagonia Archipelago, and multi-day escapes to sun, sand, remote beaches and the warm crystal clear waters of the Bahamas. Please contact us for all details of these amazing winter getaways!

Return to top.
Photo of Remote Passages Marine Excursions
Remote Passages Marine Excursions
Box 624 51 Wharf Street Tofino BC V0R 2Z0 Home Phone: 250-725-3330Home Fax: 250-725-3380Work Phone: 1-800-666-9833Visit Website

Biographical Info

Whether watching whales, dipping into Hot Springs Cove, or kayaking to a rainforest trail, people of all ages have enjoyed our excursions since 1986. We launch out of Tofino in Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, just minutes from Long Beach and Pacific Rim National Park. We look forward to welcoming you aboard for a Clayoquot Sound adventure by Remote Passages.

Return to top.
Photo of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort & Spa
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort & Spa
380 Main Street P.O. Box 130 Tofino BC V0R 2Z0 Home Phone: 250-726-8235Work Fax: 250-266-0412Work Phone: 1-888-333-5405Visit Website

Biographical Info

Outpost Location:
Bedwell Sound
West Coast Vancouver Island

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort offers an ultra-luxurious resort in the remote wilds of Vancouver Island, near Tofino. The Outpost in Bedwell Sound provides 21st-century-safari style lodging in opulently outfitted prospector tents, and a massage and therapeutic treatment centre with the soul of an outpost spa. Activities include whale watching, bear watching, horseback riding, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, hot springs, fishing, and a canopy viewing platform and zip line.

Return to top.
Photo of Cape Lazo RV & Campground
Cape Lazo RV & Campground
685 Lazo Road Comox BC V9M 3X2 Home Phone: 250-339-3946Work Phone: 1-888-558-3946Visit Website

Biographical Info

The Cape Lazo RV & Campground is a 6.5 acre beachside property with 64 beautifully landscaped campsites, just metres from the beach and minutes from downtown Comox. We offer a family friendly campground facility with kayak and paddleboard rentals, accessible boat launch, playground, on site store, and pavilion for group picnics. The Comox Peninsula on the east coast of Vancouver Island is spectacular at any time of year with miles of shoreline to explore and great recreation opportunities for all ages. Cape Lazo is perfect for a weekend, a week or even months of camping in the Comox Valley.

Return to top.
Photo of Coast Mountain Expeditions
Coast Mountain Expeditions
Kayaking Base: Quadra Island BC Mailing Address: Box 25 Read Island Surge Narrows BC V0P 1W0 Home Phone: 250-285-2823Work Fax: 250-285-2823Visit Website

Biographical Info

Lodge based multi-day sea kayaking tours in the Discovery Islands, off Central Vancouver Island. We operate in and around the Discovery Islands, Desolation Sound, and mainland inlets. View marine parks, wildlife, BC’s highest mountains, glaciers and waterfalls. Watch grizzly bears from your kayak, paddle with seals, dolphin, and porpoise. Incredible marine inter-tidal life. No experience necessary. We are Canada’s longest operating sea kayak company, now entering our 28th year. Recommended by National Geographic as one of Canada’s top places to visit. Join us for an adventure of a lifetime!

Return to top.
Photo of Misty Isles Adventures
Misty Isles Adventures
P O Box 137 Manson’s Landing Cortes Island BC V0P 1K0 Home Phone: 250-935-6756Visit Website

Biographical Info

Misty Isles Adventures is Cortes Island’s only sea kayaking outfitter and sailing charter vessel offering guided day paddles, kayak mothership trips, kayak instruction and sea kayak rentals. The 43-foot schooner Misty Isles departs Cortes Island for day sailing and sightseeing explorations of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and mainland inlets. Longer multi-day trips are also available.

Return to top.
Photo of Strathcona Park Lodge
Strathcona Park Lodge
P.O. Box 2160 Campbell River BC V9W 5C5 Home Phone: 250-286-3122Home Fax: 250-286-6010Visit Website

Biographical Info

Guests are drawn from around the world by the lifestyle at Strathcona Park Lodge and the irresistible scenery, wildlife, and opportunities for adventure that begin on our doorstep. We have comfortable, rustic accommodation, delicious buffet meals, kayaks and canoes for rent, and lots of friendly, knowledgeable instructors. We offer guiding in rock climbing, canoeing, whitewater and sea kayaking. Enjoy our backcountry adventures in beautiful Strathcona Provincial Park; alpine hiking, backpacking, mountaineering and camping.

Return to top.
Photo of Majestic Ocean Kayaking
Majestic Ocean Kayaking
1167 Helen Road Ucluelet BC V0R 3A0 Mailing Address: Box 287 Ucluelet BC V0R 3A0 Home Phone: 250-726-2868Home Fax: 250-726-2860Work Phone: 1-800-889-7644Visit Website

Biographical Info

Kayak the Majestic West Coast waters of British Columbia. Our ecotourism adventures will take you to Barkley Sound, the Broken Group Islands, Pacific Rim National Park, Clayoquot Sound and the Deer Group Islands. We provide Part-day, Full-day, and Multi-day trips. Camp on pristine beaches, eat gourmet food, hike through dense rain forests, and learn about the rich variety of Pacific Coast seashore life. Rental kayaks available.

Return to top.