Kayaking is one of the best ways to spend time outside and enjoy nature for all it’s worth.
It has a ton of health benefits – both mental and physical – and the best part is that you don’t even have to own one to try it! There are plenty of rental spots available that will give you as much time as you need to explore. The truth is you don’t have to stray too far from Vancouver to be out on the water surrounded by nature.
For most of these destinations you don’t even have to drive an hour to get to them from central Vancouver. Each one is unique and has a different story to be told. Who knows what you may stumble into on your paddling journey! Just remember, be safe and don’t forget to wear a life jacket!
Here are the top 10 kayaking destinations in and around Vancouver.
Deep Cove is a bustling harbour community that is surrounded by mountains, lakefront properties and trees. It is also listed as the best location to kayak for two reasons, its beauty and the support it gets from passionate paddlers thanks to Deep Cove Kayaking. Deep Cove Kayaking offers a wide variety of different services from rentals of kayaks, surf skis and SUP’s to full-day kayaking tours.
If you want a prime view of Vancouver, the waterfront Jericho beach is the place to go. Jericho Beach features long stretches of beach that is home to residents and travellers looking to relax and soak up the region’s beach scene. It is also home to the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club which features a wide range of unique looking sailboats. You can rent kayaks from Ecomarine and have the choice of exploring for two hours till the full day. Other places of interest to visit include Wreck Beach and Kitsilano should you want a longer paddling journey.
Should you want to see Vancouver City up close, paddling False Creek would be your best bet. You can rent kayaks from Creekside Kayaks and paddle along the cove taking in the sights of the city. Some popular stops you may want to pass by include Granville Island, which has a fantastic local market to explore, Science World and English Bay. This is the best paddling destination for the urbanist who would like access to craft beer and ice cream after their paddling excursion.
Crescent Beach/ Nicomekl River
This is a personal favourite of mine.
Located south of Vancouver, Crescent Beach sits just north of White Rock and features some unique natural landscapes. It is not uncommon to run into harbour seals, herons and bald eagles along the beach and the Nicomekl River. The Nicomekl is one of my favourite spots because of its uniqueness at every bend.
Paddling down the river you will stumble into the Nicomekle Rowing club and Elgin Heritage Park. As you paddle even further you will see parked old boats scattered throughout the river. Be wary though; look at the tide tables before heading over there because paddling against the current can become quite the chore, especially if you are paddling a recreational kayak.
Cole Harbour (Vancouver)
Another destination for the Vancouver urbanist, Cole Harbour offers unique views of Canada Place, North Vancouver and Stanley Park. One of the best places to paddle is along the sea wall and into Stanley park’s harbour which is home to the Vancouver rowing club and a variety of different boats ling up the marina. Sometimes you will even stumble upon frolicking otters and seals that like to lie on the docks.
Port Moody is a great little harbour town that is surrounded by hiking trails that gives you the choice between freshwater and saltwater kayaking. Choose between Sasamat Lake (White Pine Beach) and the more northern Buntzen lake for freshwater destinations. If you are looking for kayak rentals Rocky Point has you covered as you can rent kayaks, paddle boards and canoes around the port from anywhere from two hours to multiple days if you are planning on going somewhere.
Home to the largest commercial fishing harbour in Canada and a certain curious sea lion, Steveston is also a great location to view the Dyke trail dog park, London Heritage Farm as well as Steveston Harbour and the accompanied Garry Point Park. If you are a more advanced paddler you can also paddle southward to see Shady Island and the Reifel bird sanctuary where you can see a wide variety of waterfowl. You can also rent kayaks from Kaymaran Adventure tours where they give you in-depth information on the fishing community and on one of Canada’s largest rivers, the Fraser River.
North Indian Arm
If you have your own kayak and you want to venture north of Deep Cove for a bit more nature and fewer people the Indian Arm is for you. The Indian Arm stretches for 20 km and is surrounded by provincial parks such as Belcarra Regional Park, Say Nuth Khaw Yum and Mt Seymour Provincial Parks. Should you want to make it a multi-day trip there are wilderness campgrounds at Bishop Creek (west side), Granite Falls, and Twin Islands which are particularly popular among kayakers.
Home of the Fort Langley Canoe Club, Fort Langley is located along the Fraser River mainly sheltered by Mcmillan island. It is a cool little historic up and coming town that lines up waterfront property and mud flats. There is a spot for kayak rentals on Mcmillan island called Ridge Rentals.
Located just on the US border, White Rock beach is a cool beach town to kayak that features lots to overlook, such as the Pierre, East Beach and Coldicut Park. There are rental places for kayaks and SUP’s on both the West Beach and East Beach area depending on where you are stationed but I personally like Feral Board Sports. If you fancy a bit of a journey try paddling from White Rock to Crescent Beach, where you will probably see at least a few eagles, herons and the surrounding rocky shoreline that transforms into sandy beach once you hit either White Rock or Crescent Beach.