If you have access to a boat this summer you’re about to become very popular, because there’s nothing like exploring the beauty of British Columbia’s lakes and coastal waters. Whether you’re planning for a quick day-trip close to the city core, a camping trip to neighbouring islands, or just want to dip your toes over the edge of a canoe, we’ve got you covered.
Before you cast off, The Community Against Preventable Injuries has teamed up with BC Liquor Stores to share an important reminder that alcohol and boating are a bad combination. To get the message home, from the May long weekend through the September long weekend specially wrapped ice coolers at marinas across the province will feature an image of an overturned boat with the message “If you think drinking and boating is a good mix, have a word with yourself”. In addition, posters will be displayed in all BC Liquor Stores during the month of July.
The campaign’s goal is to change the public’s attitude towards drinking and boating, because it is extremely risky for both operators and passengers.
Keep your eyes out for the coolers and enjoy the drinks once you’ve docked at one of these picturesque spots for boating.
The Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast has no shortage of amazing boating locations. Experienced boaters can navigate the coast up towards somewhere remote, while leisure-lovers can enjoy the serenity of floating lazily in a glacial lake, the Sunshine Coast is Vancouver’s go-to boating playground. We recommend Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park, which is accessible only by boat, and features stunning waterfalls and ideal saltwater swimming in this placid inlet.
The Great Bear Rainforest
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If you find yourself up the Sunshine Coast and thirst for a bit more adventure, steer your way along the rocky coastline to the Great Bear Rainforest. This unspoiled forest was officially protected by the government this year, meaning over 85% of the old-growth forest is protected from logging. Pack binoculars and turn off your engines – this forest is home to a vast population of wildlife, including the rare Kermode “spirit” bear.
The crown jewel in B.C.’s boat scene, Lake Okanagan is famous for its incredible summer weather and natural beauty. Smooth waters offer endless opportunities to cool off in the lake, cruise in a speedboat or float along in a paddle boat. The region is also famous for its incredible wineries – great to partake in after you’ve docked for the day.
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One of the deepest and largest freshwater tidal lakes in the world, Pitt Lake draws boaters and canoeists from all over Metro Vancouver to its beautiful waters. The real draw, however, is the fishing. At the north end of the lake is the upper Pitt River, where anglers fight for trout year-round.
If your summer boating plans include romance on the horizon, take a trip to Pender Island, one of the Southern Gulf. Visit the secluded Bedwell Harbour, where you can check in to the Poet’s Cove Resort (it’s as romantic as it sounds) and enjoy the private marina.
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Boating, canoeing and fishing at Harrison are just a fraction of activities at this popular destination for rest and relaxation. Harrison gets busy in the summer due to its easy access from the city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still “get away from it all” – there are numerous little beaches and docks on the lake with boat access only, leaving the boat-less crowds behind at the busy main beach.
False Creek & English Bay
Arguably the best place to show off to the rest of the city that you’re on a boat in your flip-flops, False Creek is so central that you can easily schedule some sea-air-time after a day at the office. Power boat, canoe and kayak rentals are readily available on Granville Island – you can even rent a floating BBQ.
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Toss a cardigan around your shoulders and pretend you fancy as you sail past Canada’s most expensive homes. If you aren’t lucky enough to be a member at the West Vancouver Yacht Club, well, there’s always the option of renting a boat at Horseshoe Bay and sailing past with your pinkies up.
Shuswap Lake is the (unofficial) houseboat capital of BC. The lake system offers access to thirty marine parks, with numerous hiking trails and campfire-friendly beaches for when you decide to call it a night. Boating unlocks an entire new way to experience our spectacular province. Your attitudes towards safety will keep you and those around you safe while you enjoy the waters around B.C.