Kayaking is as popular as hiking in Vancouver, Canada, known for its natural beauty. Being on the water is an ideal way to discover all that the inlets, beaches, and bays have to offer. Most Vancouverites grew up spending at least summers on the water and will tell you that kayaking brings you in touch with nature like no other sport. To look waterfowl in the eye while paddling at the same level and to encounter a seal bobbing up and looking at you while doing some sea kayaking, makes for a memorable outing.
Kayaking around this Canadian city is appealing for two reasons: it doesn't require any special skills (although you should read the Transport Canada Sea Kayaking Safety Guide), and it immerses you in nature in a way no land-based activity can. It's also lots of fun and great exercise for the whole family.
These suggestions for places to kayak around Vancouver include businesses where you can rent kayaks nearby.
False Creek in Downtown Vancouver
One of the best year-round kayaking spots is False Creek, the inlet that divides downtown Vancouver from the southern parts of the city. It's fun to paddle among the boats moored there, see the little round ferries that ply the waters going across the inlet and look up to see stunning views of Vancouver’s downtown area.
It's not all urban. You'll spot wildlife like harbor seals, cormorants swooping in the water to catch a fish, and geese swimming lazily close to you.
Rent a kayak and start paddling at Granville Island, head east to explore Yaletown's waterfront, the marinas and Science World, or head west to Vanier Park (home to the Museum of Vancouver (MOV), the Vancouver Maritime Museum, and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre). And if you are on the water in the late afternoon, experience a beautiful sunset before you return your kayak.
Kayaks are available for rent at Ecomarine Paddlesport Centre at Granville Island.
For sea kayaking from April to October, head to Jericho Beach on the western coast of Vancouver between Kitsilano Beach and Spanish Banks Beach. Here, kayakers can head north toward amazing views of Vancouver and the north shore mountains, or follow the coastline south to Spanish Banks, a series of beaches along the shores of English Bay.
You may encounter kiteboarders who are launching their boards from Spanish Banks Extension—it's a one-year pilot program at the beach.
Kayak rentals from businesses like Ecomarine Paddlesport Centre at Jericho Beach are typically available for weekends only in April, then daily from mid-May through mid-September.
English Bay Beach and Stanley Park
Ten minutes northwest of downtown Vancouver, English Bay Beach and Stanley Park are two easy spots to kayak. The summer (June through September) is the most popular season, however, you can kayak from English Bay Beach on the West End any time of year. Paddle around Stanley Park for some of the best views of the snow-capped North Shore Mountains.
Many have walked Stanley Park, but seeing the park from the water is a unique way to get closer to the shorebirds, tidal life, and natural beauty. Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres offer a Sunset Kayaking Tour which takes you to the Stanley Park beaches to watch the sun go down over the water.
You can rent kayaks on the beach at Ecomarine Paddlesport Centre at English Bay.
Deep Cove (Indian Arm),
As one of the Top 10 Attractions in Vancouver, Deep Cove is not to be missed and is best kayaked April through October. While kayaking around this stunningly scenic area in the Lower Mainland, keep your eyes peeled for a range of wildlife, including seals, eagles, and sea lions.
You can take a break and stop into one of the quaint eateries at Deep Cove. Fuel up at Honey Doughnuts & Goodies, popular with the locals—try one of the delicious honey doughnuts.
Kayak rentals (as well as surf skis and stand-up paddleboards) are available at Deep Cove Kayak.
Deer Lake in Burnaby
Just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Deer Lake in Burnaby is a great option for all ages with the kayaking best from April through October. The water here is smooth and calm and motorized boats are not allowed making it an ideal family-friendly spot to teach the kids how to kayak.
With city views, Deer Lake Park provides a peaceful natural environment that is part of the City of Burnaby’s arts and heritage offerings. The park is busy in summer with people enjoying the walking trails connecting the lake, the Burnaby Art Gallery, the Burnaby Village Museum and Hart House Restaurant housed in a beautiful Tudor mansion.
Kayaks (as well as canoes, pedal boats, and rowboats) can be rented at Deer Lake Boat Rentals.