8 Ways to Enjoy the Water around Vancouver

Traditional cedar Tsleil-Waututh Canoe near Vancouver, BC

Photo credit: Takaya Tours

Vancouver is a water-oriented city. With the ocean all around us and lots of lakes, getting out on the water is easy. But choosing how to do it, might be a challenge – there are so many options! Here are our picks for the best ways to enjoy the water around Vancouver.

Go Kayaking or Stand-up Paddleboarding

If you want to get out on the water under your own power, hop on to a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Local rental shops can get you set up with a boat or board and all the safety gear you need. If you want to learn about the local environment and get some paddling pointers, sign up for a guided tour with Bowen Island Sea Kayaking, Deep Cove Kayak, or Vancouver Water Adventures.

Kayaking near the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver

Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver / Rishad Daroowala


Paddle a Traditional Tsleil-Waututh Canoe

Join Tsleil-Waututh First Nations guides from Tayaka Tours to paddle a traditional 13-metre-long cedar canoe. Trips launch from Whey-Ah-Wichen (Cates) Park in North Vancouver and head out into the waters of Deep Cove. Along the way, you’ll hear traditional songs and stories and learn about Tsleil-Waututh culture.


Go Whale Watching

Every year between March and October humpback whales and orcas (killer whales) cruise the waters of the Salish Sea near Vancouver. Book a whale watching tour to see these magnificent marine mammals up close along with seals, eagles, sea lions, and more. You can choose from an exciting ride in an open zodiac or a cruise in a fully enclosed catamaran.

Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver / Prince of Whales Whale Watching

Rent a Boat or Seadoo

Explore the ocean at your own pace. You can cruise around English Bay, see Lighthouse Park from the water, or visit Bowen Island. If you want to head further afield, motor up Burrard Inlet to the quiet waters of Indian Arm, or float past the islands of Howe Sound. Rent a boat at Granville Island Boat Rentals or Sewell’s Marina, or a seadoo at Vancouver Water Adventures. They come with safety gear and pre-trip pointers for beginner drivers.


Ride the Aquabus or False Creek Ferry

One of the easiest ways to get out on the water in Vancouver is to hop on a ferry. Choose from the rainbow-painted Aquabus or the cheery blue False Creek Ferries. These cute little boats cruise around False Creek from Science World, past Granville Island, all the way to Sunset Beach. With a variety of stops to choose from, you can use them to get from Point A to Point B or stay onboard for some sightseeing.

Aquabus Ferry in False Creek in Vancouver

Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver / Tanya Goehring


Go SCUBA Diving or Snorkelling

While Vancouver’s waters aren’t tropically warm, they are nutrient-rich and support an incredible biodiversity of marine life. You can explore kelp forests and try to spot elusive creatures like the wolf eel and giant Pacific octopus. If you’re lucky, friendly seals may even come by to say hello. Book a SCUBA or snorkelling trip with Sea Dragon Charters to find out why BC is one of the world’s top cold water diving locations.


Float with Eagles

Every year thousands of eagles spend the winter in Squamish. One of the best ways to see them is by floating down the Cheakamus and Squamish Rivers. In the summer these rivers are raging white water, but in the winter the water calms down, the banks are blanketed in snow, and eagles perch in the cedar trees. Bring your camera for some incredible photo opportunities. Both Canadian Outback Rafting and Squamish Rafting Company offer eagle float trips between November and February.


Catch a Fish

From world-famous salmon runs, to giant Fraser River sturgeon, to backwoods flyfishing, there are lots of angling options near Vancouver. To get insider info on where the fish are biting, book a fishing charter. They’ll set you up with all the gear you need to land one that is “this big!”

Group fishing from a boat near Vancouver

Photo credit: Tourism Vancouver / Sewell’s Marina / J.Haydahl


Check out #VancouverComeBack Deals for discounts and special offers on water-based activities.


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