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

The coastal waters of Vancouver Island and the sheltered waters of the BC Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia are beautiful places to explore by sea kayak on guided kayaking expedition trips.

Flickr Album Gallery Pro Powered By: WP Frank

Sea Kayaking on Vancouver Island

Sea Kayaking in Desolation Sound, Sunshine Coast BC

Whitewater Kayaking on Vancouver Island

Canoeing 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.

Premier Listings

Photo of Ocean Outfitters Ltd
Ocean Outfitters Ltd
P.O Box 919 368 Main Street Tofino BC V0R 2Z0 Phone: 250-725-2866Fax: 250-725-2880Toll Free: 1-877-906-2326Visit Website

Business Information

Adventure Seekers & Nature Lovers – OCEAN OUTFITTERS is the place to kick off all your Tofino activities! Our experienced, local guides will pilot you through beautiful Clayoquot Sound to view gray whales, humpbacks, orcas (killer whales), black bears, sea otters, sea lions, wolves, eagles and other seabirds aboard one of our luxury covered boats, or one of our Zodiac boats.

Whether you’re headed to Hot Springs Cove, joining us for an inlet tour to view Black Bears, or wanting to meet up close and personal with our local gray whales, humpbacks, and orcas… we are your gateway to adventure!

Looking for a calmer and more intimate experience? Join us on a beautiful 4.5 hour guided kayak trip in a remote part of Clayoquot Sound. While kayaking through the calm waters and discussing the history of Clayoquot Sound, we will also be looking for Harbour Seals, Black Bears, Bald Eagles and various other forms of wildlife that out populate humans in this area!

Interested in fishing? We are proud to bring you some of the best fishing itineraries that Tofino has to offer! Charters are available for both experienced fisherman and families looking for fun. Tofino offers world-renown deep sea salmon fishing, as well as excellent ‘family friendly’ fishing areas with calm, protected waters, and LOTS of fish. Helping kids and novice boaters explore the wonders of our area and wildlife is a big part of what we love to do. Also available on our Fishing Charters, is our sea-to-fork ‘Gourmet At Sea’ add-on, where our guide (who is a professional trained chef) will prepare your freshly-caught seafood for you while you’re still on the water!

Our programs are not only a ton of fun, but they are also educational and encourage stewardship. We are a certified green business and are committed to connecting you with nature and to inspiring conservancy. Live the experience with Ocean Outfitters!

Our waterfront location on Main Street, in the Shore building, has all of gear needed to get you out there, as well as organic coffee to fuel your adventures! We are proud retailers of Arcteryx, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, Vortex binoculars, Pendleton, and a great collection of books. Feel free to enjoy our lounge/cafe before or after your trip.

Video: Ocean Outfitters – Your Tofino Adventure Specialists

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

Business Information

Outpost Location:
Bedwell Sound
West Coast Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island’s celebrated luxury outpost Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge skirts the banks of its namesake ocean inlet, Clayoquot Sound, and offers an escape to the still, tranquil beauty of Canada’s remote wilderness. Set among magnificent conifer forests, the lodge offers guests an unforgettable experience of the landscape and its wildlife. Twenty-five canvas tents designed with contemporary interiors complement period and local artisan-designed pieces to offer a decadent retreat.

Guests have direct access to 600-acres of gloriously wild nature reserve where opportunities for adventure, education, natural enrichment and personal connection abound. Experiences span equestrian, marine-based, land-based, helicopter and fishing adventures.

Drawing inspiration from Vancouver Island’s wild beauty, Executive Chef Asher Blackford translates the landscape to the plate through the sights, scents and tastes of the region and uses premium sustainable, locally grown and foraged ingredients to deliver a 5-star taste of the destination.

Adventure-filled days are bolstered by the freedom to unwind at the spa, where physical and spiritual sanctuary are found in restorative treatments for body and soul. Featuring a waterfront massage tent, saunas and cedar hot tubs for relaxing and drinking in the view.

Return to top.
Photo of Hello Nature Adventure Tours
Hello Nature Adventure Tours
200 Hemlock Street Ucluelet BC V0R 3A0 Phone: 250-266-1247Toll Free: 1-844-706-2751Visit Website

Business Information

Located in the quaint fishing village of Ucluelet, close to Barkley Sound, the Broken Group Islands, and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, our kayaking and hiking tours range from short half-day tours to week-long adventures. Whether you are an experienced or novice sea kayaker and/or hiker looking for a new and exciting adventure, or someone who is not really sure what the west coast of Vancouver Island is all about, we promise we will find the right experience for you.

Hello Nature Adventure Tours Video

Kayaking and hiking are great ways to explore the beautiful beaches, peaceful coves, offshore islands, wildlife and the native forests that make up our coastline. Participate at your own pace by sampling a half-day trip, full-day trip, or come on a guided overnight trip and allow us to take you to all of our favorite places.

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 Phone: 250-285-2823Toll Free: 1-855-485-9453Visit Website

Business Information

In 1987 we built our off-grid kayaking lodge in the Discovery Islands with a dream of crafting life-changing multi-day sea kayaking experiences. We still live where we paddle, and our passion for exploring our remote corner of British Columbia has only grown stronger.

Guided trips combine skills instruction, wilderness adventure, and meals prepared from our own garden produce, local sea foods, and home baking. Our kayaking tours explore sheltered routes amid marine parks, abundant wildlife, and rainforest islands – all with spectacular views of the highest peaks of the rugged Coast Mountains.

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 Phone: 250-726-2868Fax: 250-726-2860Toll Free: 1-800-889-7644Visit Website

Business Information

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

Business Information

Sea Kayak in comfort based from our ocean-side, or float-house accommodations in the wilderness of the Broughton Archipelago, a kayak paradise. The phrase ‘Walking Softly in the Wilderness’ has always been a guiding principle for our homesteading lifestyle and approach to developing our inn. Paddlers Inn has earned a Gold rating from Green Tourism Canada for our efforts to continually reduce our impact on the environment, while supporting others to do the same. We also offer Acupressure massage on-site. Surround yourself with ocean, beaches, trails, an inland lake, and quiet beauty.

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 Phone: 250-285-2121Fax: 1-888-389-5736Toll Free: 1-800-307-3982Visit Website

Business Information

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 Ocean Light Adventures with the vessel Afterglow
Ocean Light Adventures with the vessel Afterglow
Box 64594 Como Lake PO Coquitlam BC V3J 7V7 Phone: 604-328-5339Fax: 604-731-7066Visit Website

Business Information

Ocean Light Adventures introduces their new vessel for summer 2021. The powerboat Afterglow is a 60ft Monk designed Gulf Commander with 5 staterooms and 3 heads, offering amazing wildlife viewing from all windows and from the spacious top deck. 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 The Flow Wilderness Retreat
The Flow Wilderness Retreat
Maurelle Island Discovery Islands BC Mailing Address: Box 706 Quathiaski Cove Quadra Island BC V0P 1N0 Phone: 250-287-0946Toll Free: 1-888-435-2925Visit Website

Business Information

The Flow Wilderness Retreat is located on the wilderness Maurelle Island, just east of Quadra Island in the Discovery Islands, surrounded by emerald green waters offering some of the finest kayaking in the world. Our central location allows us to explore three unique provincial marine parks and return to our luxury base camp each evening.

Enjoy a fresh shore lunch at a different scenic location each day. Relax after a day of adventure with our cedar-wood-fired hot tub, hot showers, hammocks and your private, cozy, cabin accommodation. Three-course gourmet meals with wine are served each evening on our seaside patio overlooking the islands of the Surge Narrows Marine Park.

Water-taxi pick up from Campbell River on Vancouver Island or Heriot Bay on Quadra Island can be arranged through our office with Discovery Launch Water Taxi. Kick back, relax and enjoy a scenic cruise through the enchanting archipelago that is the Discovery Islands.

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

Business Information

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 Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & Vacations
Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & Vacations
685 Heriot Bay Road Quathiaski Cove Quadra Island BC V0P 1N0 Phone: 250-285-9453Toll Free: 1-855-485-9453Visit WebsiteVisit Blog

Business Information

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.