Whether you want to kayak out on the open ocean, or prefer a quiet inlet for your paddling, the Pacific coast has it all. Nearly 26,000 km long, there are more than 40,000 islands along the coast, giving you an almost limitless number of kayaking spots. Jervis Inlet, Queen Charlotte Islands, Sunshine Coast, Indian Arm and Clayoquot Sound are just a few popular locations.
Not only will you enjoy the beauty of the ocean, but the coastline is spectacular. You can see the heavy forests, rocky shores, and the distant mountains. And for a little added excitement, you could plan your trip to one of the known whale habitats and do a little whale-watching too. The Vancouver Island area is known for its pods of Orca, or Killer Whales.
Some places such as Knight Inlet and Glendale Cove offer opportunities to see wild grizzly or black bears that are on the shores. If whales and bears aren’t enough, you are also likely to see sea otters and possibly bald eagles and great Chinook salmon.
If you’re not familiar with kayaking, it’s a little different than going out on the water in a canoe. With most kayaks, your legs are enclosed, and you paddle with a single paddle with blades at both ends. They are much more maneuverable than a canoe, and great for more exciting travel.
You can go kayaking for a few hours, or join a group that will take you up the coast for several days. It’s not uncommon to find packages for 5 to 7 days of boating and camping. Some of the more remote stretches of coastline may require you to fly to your destination before you hit the water. Not as convenient but you can see some of the most beautiful and untouched wilderness in Canada when you travel beyond the roads. It is particularly peaceful to go paddling in uninhabited areas.
Tour operators provide the kayaks, and usually all the equipment that goes along with them (life jackets etc.). They should also provide a lesson on how to paddle in a kayak, which allows even the newest of novices to enjoy one of these boating treks. The most important thing to learn is how not to flip your kayak! Guided tours offer coaching in how to stay upright, and what to do in the unlikely scenario of your kayak flipping – the guides will work with you to re-enter your kayak and get going again!
Some of the coastal inlets are pretty narrow, and can create as much rough white water as any of the inland rivers and waterfalls. Not all kayaking trips are suitable for first-time boaters, so you should always let your tour operator know what your experience level is before planning a route. Some of the more peaceful spots would be suitable for a trip with children as well.
Given the length of the coast, the conditions climate vary from place to place. Generally, the best times for kayaking trips is summer starting in June. Some places may be available year-round. The weather can be unpredictable, and rainfall is very common especially around the Great Bear Rainforest area.