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A Guide to Sea Kayaking on Vancouver Island


West Coast Sea Kayaking: Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island

 Sea kayaking the waters surrounding Vancouver Island is an idyllic way to experience both remote and urban coastlines from a new perspective! Get to know the local wildlife, paddle around the nooks and crannies of the ocean and discover a slice of coastal wilderness as you travel with intent. 

From multi-day kayak tours to wildlife viewing and ocean exploration, British Columbia’s coastal islands offers a range of sea kayaking opportunities for beginners through to advanced paddlers. Explore the Broken Islands off the coast of Ucluelet or head out to secluded spots along the Gulf Islands and discover why slow pace living is such a big way of life on Island. 

Book a Summer 2022 Sea Kayaking Adventure

Explore the coastlines and wildlife on a guided sea kayaking adventure.

Getting Out Kayaking on Vancouver Island

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran, heading out on a sea kayaking adventure will keep you excited and entertained the whole way through. 

Bioluminescence Paddle (3 hours)

See the fireflies of the sea! Watch the beautiful emerald glow from the bow of your kayak and paddle as you glide along serene waters. This late evening paddle (8pm-11pm) provides you with the opportunity to view this natural phenomenon that’s sure to leave a lasting impression!

Ganges Harbour Chocolate Beach Tour (3 hours) 

This tour is a great intro to kayaking and the Gulf Islands environment. The safe and calm waters of Ganges Harbour ensure an easy paddle. You will paddle through Ganges Harbour to the white sand shores of Chocolate Beach, where you’ll stop to stretch your legs and enjoy the area before returning home. During your paddle you will explore the intertidal zone and get up close and personal with a Sunflower Star, experience the meditative, yet energizing experience that is Sea Kayaking, and have a whole lot of family fun on the water.

Ucluelet Harbour Group Kayak Tours (3 hours)

Experience the diverse geography, the rich sea life and wildlife, and have an excellent paddling opportunity in the Ucluelet harbour. The harbour is full of wildlife; watch for black bears along the shoreline, rich intertidal life beneath your kayak, seals and sea lions, and eagles circling overhead.

Broken Group Islands Day Tour (8 hours)

On this full day kayaking tour on the west coast, enjoy a 45 minute boat ride from Ucluelet to the Broken Group Islands, an internationally acclaimed sea kayaking destination featuring natural white sand beaches and calm ocean waves perfect for kayaking. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as eagles, whales, sea lions, seals, mink, and otters within the protected waters of the Broken Group Islands.

Single to Multi-Day Tours:

Multi-day tours are the perfect way to explore further and get some camping in! These trips are designed to help you hone your sea kayaking skills, but also get to know the area in a deeper way. Gear and kayak rentals are included with these trips too. If you’re traveling in from afar, that’s one less thing to squeeze into your luggage allowance!

Your professional kayaking guide will ensure you get the most out of your trip by staying by your side every step of the way, planning the route, navigating the waters, monitoring weather and tides, and teaching you whatever you want to learn. 

Explore the Southern Gulf Islands by Kayak

Discover BC’s Southern Gulf Islands by kayak. Head out for the day, or stay overnight at some of the most beautiful marine camping and paddling destinations in British Columbia. Stunning white shell beaches, amazing sandstone formations, abundant marine wildlife and a Mediterranean-like climate in protected waters make the Southern Gulf Islands a world-class kayaking destination.

Viva Las Vargas – 3 Day Sea Kayak Camping Tour

Explore the Southern Clayoquot Sound coastline to the shores of Vargas Island searching for wildlife, big and small on this three day kayak camp trip. Camp beneath the stars or the canopy of the rainforest. Eat delicious, nutritious and fresh meals inspired by the West Coast and prepared by the guide. Watch the sunset and fall asleep to the sound of gently crashing waves. Wake up as the sunrises over the mountains of Vancouver Island and escape from the routines of every day life and live simply by the tides.

Local Insight

Sea Kayak guide, Aaron Miller

Yervana Local, Aaron, has lived on Vancouver Island for years and knows it’s a unique spot for sea kayaking:

We have such a big playground. The currents that run through here are very dynamic. People come from everywhere to be on these waters.”

Have Fun & Stay Safe 

Whether you’re new to kayaking or it’s your first time paddling on one of BC’s coastal Islands, it’s important to be aware of your abilities and the location you’re in. To make sure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible, we would always recommend heading out with a certified sea kayak guide who can also provide you with the necessary safety gear and equipment. 

Getting your head around local currents, marine traffic and changing weather conditions can be a challenge, but that’s what your guide is for! They can ensure that you’re paddling in areas that are suited to your abilities on the water – be it calm quiet bays or somewhere a little more challenging to stretch your skills. This leaves more time for you to learn new techniques and pick up fun bits of local knowledge along the way.

Read more about Yervana’s commitment to safety.

See you on the water!

For outdoor Adventures on Vancouver Island, try Yervana. Our Local hosts can take you out kayaking from Ucluelet, floating down the Cowichan Valley River, or exploring on land with hiking Adventures in Sooke.

Related reading: A Local’s Guide to Victoria, BC


2 Night Desolation Sound Resort & Kayak Getaway

from $345 per explorer

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Röming Pirate's Cove

from $152 per explorer

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