If you have been scouting for a guide on paddle boarding in Vancouver, look no further than reading this blog post. In this guide, which is 3000+ words, you’ll explore everything about SUPing and paddle boarding in Vancouver. From the best lakes and rivers to the best paddle board rentals in Vancouver, you’ll find each and everything covered in this guide post.
With 20+ lakes and 10 great rivers, Vancouver is a perfect place for paddlers to unwind, explore the unexplored on the water, try their hands on paddle boarding and carry out loads of watersports activities and adventures. This third-largest city in Canada lies in the coast of the Mountains and the Pacific, making it the perfect destination for kayakers and paddlers alike.
Not only for paddle boarding, but this place is absolute heaven for adventure seekers with loads of picture-perfect skyscrapers, business towers, beautiful beaches and an eye-captivating lakeside view.
However, this guide is limited to paddle boarding in Vancouver. So, here are things that you’ll explore in this blog post.
1. Whether paddle boarding in safe in Vancouver or not?
2. Why should to go for paddle boarding in Vancouver?
3. Best locations for paddle boarding in Vancouver?
4. Some paddle boarding safety tricks, trips and more
So, without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling.
Is paddle boarding safe in Vancouver?
Vancouver is one of the most popular cities in Canada and the best city of paddlers because of its location between the water and mountains, which makes it even more friendly for paddlers, kayakers and watersport enthusiasts.
But have you wondered, whether Vancouver is safe for paddle boarding or not?
The short answer to this question is YES. Paddle boarding in Vancouver is 100% safe and sound. And here’s why? The overall crime rate in Vancouver is very less.
That’s why in terms of personal safety Vancouver is a great place for paddle boarding, kayaking and trying any other water sports adventure. You can reach your paddling location in Vancouver with the help of public transport or a taxi. And all the public means of transport are not at all considered dangerous in Vancouver.
Apart from that, the risk of natural disasters in Vancouver is pretty less as compared to other places for paddle boarding. Mugging and kidnapping are very rare in Vancouver as well. If you are looking for paddle board rentals in Vancouver, then let me tell you that you won’t be thugs because the scam risk is very low. People and Vancouver are very friendly and helpful.
So, there is less possibility of you getting thugs while paddle boarding in this city.
Here’s a look at Vancouver’s safety Index: https://www.travelsafe-abroad.com/canada/vancouver/
The above image clearly proves the fact that Vancouver is 100% safe and sound for paddle boarding and carrying out any watersport activity. However, make sure that you are equipped with the necessary safety gear and accessories before going for a paddle board ride on any lake and river.
Why should to go paddle boarding in Vancouver?
Here are a few reasons why should you go paddle boarding in Vancouver.
1. Spectacular and safe paddle boarding
Majestic lakes, sparkling oceans, and beautiful rivers throughout the 4 seasons make Vancouver one of the best places and cities for paddle boarding in the world. Canadians are known to be friendly and people living in Vancouver love watersport activities. So, if you are coming from another place or town, you’ll still enjoy paddle boarding in Vancouver.
2. Other activities
Apart from kayaking and paddle boarding, you can also try your hands with other activities in Vancouver which include shopping, going to sporting events, spectacular sight attractions, events, gourmet meals and a lot more – it’s all waiting for you in Vancouver.
3. Loads of lake and rivers
With more than 100+ lakes and 200+ rivers, Vancouver is surely the best to be for all paddlers, anglers and kayakers.
The picturesque lake and calm and composed water throughout the seasons makes Vancouver an even better paddling city. The lakes and Vancouver are also surrounded by mountains, magnificent waterfalls, lush green forests and a lot more, which makes it surreal.
4. Welcoming city
Just as Vancouver welcomed the world in the year 2010 for Winter paralympic games, they’ll are ready to welcome outsiders for paddle boarding tourist adventure as well. Whether you are gay, lesbian or transgender, you will be allowed to do paddle boarding in Vancouver for sure.
The public transportation of the city is also very cheap and affordable and it will take you directly to your paddling location in Vancouver, making it easy, safe and 100% accessible for all.
And guess what? Even dogs and other pets are allowed in the lakes and rivers of Vancouver.
Best places for paddle boarding in Vancouver
Let us now dive deep into the most important topic of our blog post regarding the best places of paddle boarding in Vancouver. This section will be divided into two parts, which include lakes and rivers available for SUPing in Vancouver.
Best lakes for paddle boarding in Vancouver
1. False Creek
When speaking about the best places for paddle boarding in Vancouver, False Creek has been on top of my list.
Surrounded by ferry boats, coffee shops, pubs, clubs, cafes and loads of restaurants at various points, this creek region is one of the popular paddling spots in Vancouver to explore without fail. You can reach this spot on foot, by bike, or by public transport or take a mini boat.
False Creek is located in the southern edge of Vancouver and it connects with the west end and Yaletown to the north. It flows from the entrance to English Bay between Vanier park and Sunset Beach, which is another prominent place for Surf boarding in Vancouver
Apart from surfboarding in this region, False Creek is also home to stunning visual attracts, eye-captivating locations and breathtaking places of interest like Granville Island, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, the Museum of Vancouver and Vanier Park, which makes this place must visit for paddlers.
2. Kits Beach
When speaking about the best places for paddle boarding or surfing in Vancouver, how can we forget about the Kits or Kitsilano beach that has got everything covered for a true watersport lover or enthusiast? Whether you are into paddle boarding, wakeboarding, surfing, kayaking, or jogging, Kits has got your back covered.
For recreational purposes, this beach in Vancouver will always remain my personal favourite and here’s why? The beach connects with the Pacific Ocean and there are a few sections that are specially created for the purpose of paddle boarding, swimming, kayaking and boating. While kayaking or paddle boarding with the dog, you can get an amazing view of Vancouver’s skyline and the lush-green nature of the surroundings.
If you are not into kayaking, paddle boarding or surfing, then the enclosed Kits small-size pool is a great alternative where you can unwind. The water here is as salty as in the Pacific Ocean, however, you’ll be more safe and sound here.
Apart from watersport activities and adventures, another great way to experience Kits beach is by cycling. You can plan a trip from hip Kitsilano quarter all the way to Granville Island or False Creek. There are ample bike and cycle rentals available in this region which you can opt for.
3. Cates Park
The Cates park is one of the largest seaside park in North Vancouver for paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking and many other water sport activities and adventures. There’s also a playground, tennis and basketball court, cafes, small restaurants and a lot more to explore in this park.
Most of the time the water in this park remains calm and less choppy, making this place suited for paddle boarding in Vancouver for kids, beginners and newbie paddlers as well. The park is located at 4141 Dollarton Highway in North Vancouver with loads of parking space available, so you don’t need to worry about carrying and transporting your kayak.
You can carry your kayak or paddle board with a car rack or big-size trailer and park it anywhere near the beach.
The best way to get to Cates Park is by car, not public transit. You can take bus service from Lonsdale Quay.
4. Jericho Beach
Jericho Beach is home to Vancouver’s biggest folk music festival, making it a perfect spot for paddling and surfing in Vancouver. Although the beach was damaged during the storm of Jan 2022, it is now completely repaired and ready to welcome you.
Located on the west side of Kitsilano Beach, Jericho is surely one of the most beautiful seaside locations for paddling in Vancouver. This beach remains always busy in the summer, especially during mid-july when tourists from all across the globe visit this place for its famous Folk Music Festival.
Being a sandy beach, Jericho will offer you ample of recreational facilities if you are not here for kayaking, paddling or surfing. It has got wonderful small size ponds, which be used by kids for swimming, a grass lawn for playing tennis or beach volleyball and picnic tables for relaxing and spending time with friends and family.
Besides kayaking and paddle boarding, biking trails from Spanish Banks to Kitsilano and beyond is also a great option to enjoy Jericho beach. You can also enjoy the odd refreshment stalls located throughout the beach side offering ice-creams, cold drinks and chilled beers.
5. Deep Cove
Paddleboarding or surfing in Vancouver will be left out if you are visiting Deep cover.
This wonderful seaside village located in the eastern edge of north Vancouver is a wonderful place for camping, hiking, backpacking, wakeboarding, boating, kayaking and paddle boarding. It attracts millions of visitors every year in summer.
Along the waterfront for kayaking and paddling, there are ample of nice restaurants, clubs and pubs which on Friday evenings in the summer host free live concerts. The sheltered bay area near Deep Cover is perfect for kayaking, taking photos, boating, and any other kind of water sports activity. Kayaking rentals are also made available in this area.
Deep Cover has also got a sandy beach which can be leveraged by small kids and seniors for relaxing and chilling. If you have got a converted or hybrid kayak, you can use its seat to relax on the beach side as well.
On the Northern side of the Deep Cover, you’ll find loads of restaurants, picnic spots, grassy lawns, a hill and kids’ playground area. Here the famous Panorama Park is also located which is known for conducting summer concerts and live shows.
6. Bowen Island
Bowan Island is yet another spot for paddle boarding and surfboarding in Vancouver which is just 20 minutes away from Horseshoe Bay in West of the Vancouver. This quiet and alluring place and suited for those who want to paddle down at the location away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city.
Best known for relaxing, resting and escaping away from city life, Bowen Island has got an array of indoor as well as outdoor recreational facilities to enjoy. From nature hikes to camping in lush green forest, from paddling to kayaking, from wakeboarding to surfing in Vancouver and everything in between – this island has got it all.
This island is also known for conducting many converts and live events. For indoor activities, Bowen has got historical art galleries, museums, art classes, dining points, cafes, and more.
Yoga, dance, massage, bodywork, gyms and other wellness centre are also located on Bowen Island.
7. Deer Lake
From walking trails in wide open spaces to kayaking in the deep sea and sunny beachside, Deer Lake is surely a perfect spot for paddle boarding in Vancouver. Deer Lake is a popular park in Burnaby City. It is home to the famous Burnaby Art Gallery and Heart House which is a historic building and currently serves as a restaurant for the locals and tourists here.
The Town of Deer Lake is strategically located in the Humber Valley, at the intersection of the Trans Canada Highway, the Great Northern Peninsula, and just a short distance from the beautiful White Bay.
The mighty Humber River also flows into Deer Lake, meaning you can carry out whitewater or river paddle boarding here as well. Plus, the lake as got ample salmon fish, allowing you to try your hands with stand-up or fly fishing on this lake as well.
This was all about summer activities. What about winter? When it comes to winter tourism, Deer Lake is your hotspot for all the watersport and ice activities. From the stunning snowmobile trails to winter hiking, snowshoeing, and ice skating, Deer Lake has boundless winter activities to offer.
8. Alouette Lake
The next on my list of best lakes for paddle boarding in Vancouver is Alouette Lake at Metro Vancouver, which gives stunning visuals of mountains from the lakeside. Alongside the beach, you’ll also find a swimming area, a small pond for kids and toddlers, canoe and kayak rentals in the summer, BBQs, picnic tables, and some quiet restaurants for refreshments.
However, this lake is slightly small in size and not suited for long-distance or camping paddle-boarding adventures. If you are planning for short-distance paddling it’s a great spot for you. Also, the condition of the lake is not upto the mark, making it slightly untidy and less clean as compared to others mentioned on the list.
9. Port Moody
Sasamat Lake is a beautiful Metro Vancouver lake that is perfect for a leisurely walk at Belcarra Regional Park. It’s just a 12-minute drive from Port Moody. White Pine Beach is one of the region’s most popular parks and it’s located on the east side of the lake.
With average water temperatures of 21 degrees Celsius in the summer months, Sasamat Lake is a very popular destination year-round, especially from June until early September.
For visitors traveling by car, there is a parking lot at the northeast end of the lake. The only way to access the park is via Bedwell Bay Road. To get to Sasamat Lake, take the first right turn off after you enter the park.
There is a bus stop that serves the TransLink 150 bus line. This is a seasonal bus that runs on weekends and holidays during the year, plus every day from June until around the beginning of September. You also have the option of taking bus route 182 and then walk up White Pine Beach Road.
10. Pasley Islands
Pasley Island is a beautiful place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its sandy beaches, serene Howe Sound location and breathtaking sunsets, it’s easy to see why this is a sought-after spot for vacationers. The original Pan-a-bode cedar log cabin has three bedrooms, a cosy living room with a fireplace, and a comfortable kitchen. There is also an adjacent sleeping cabin that would be perfect for bunk beds.
The cabin is surrounded by decks with stunning views of the beach and bay. If you’re looking for a place to relax and rejuvenate, look no further than Pasley Island.
Best rivers for paddle boarding in Vancouver
Let us now explore about best river and whitewater rapids available for paddle boarding in Vancouver.
1. Fraser River
If you are looking for a great fishing experience in Vancouver, this is the river you should be at. With over 850 miles or 1378 km in length, this is the longest river of British Columbia, Canada that rises on the western slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, giving you a stunning viewpoint and ample of picturesque moments while kayaking or paddle boarding on the river.
The river is best suited for carrying out fishing paddle boarding activities as it is dominated by Salmon. Millions of Salon fish return in this river basis and its tributaries that included all the major species of Salmon Sockeye, Pink, Chum, Chinook, Coho and Steelhead.
Some of the salmon migrate upriver in the northern tributaries of the river, while some of them swim 1000 miles from the ocean to the gravel beds where they are born and complete their life cycle. According to facts, 800 million salmon migrate along the river each year.
Therefore, this river is considered to be the best for fishing in Vancouver.
2. Vancouver River
With stunning diverse geography, the Vancouver river offers stunning kayaking and paddle boarding opportunities for paddlers of all skill levels. From flatwater paddle boarding to surfing on river rapids – this river is a perfect gateway to all your paddle boarding adventures. For a peaceful ride, this river flows through breathtaking spots and waterfalls, beach sides and inlets, so that you can paddle with peace of mind.
Following are some of the best places where you can go for paddle boarding in Vancoiver river.
A. Gold River: Suited for whitewater and fast-moving rapids.
B. Oyster River: Suited for flatwater and calm water paddle boarding.
C. Woss River: Kids and beginner-level paddlers can opt for this river.
3. Englishman River
Featuring two stunning waterfalls, loads of picturesque destinations, a lush green forest and a camping ground, the Englishman river is yet another great spot for paddle boarding and surfboarding in Vancouver.
Both the waterfalls located in this park flow into the deep canyon, which is yet another place for watersport activities in this region. The lower fall submerged into a deep crystal pool, which is ideal for swimming, snorkelling, diving and fishing in the summer when the river levels are flowing and the water is calm.
Pets and domestic animals like dogs and cats are allowed but you need to keep them on a leash every time. You’ll be completely responsible for their behaviour and you also need to depose their poop. Make sure you don’t take your pets in the backcountry area because of the wildlife animals present over there.
Swimming is allowed only in the lower falls, but you will be responsible for your own safety as there are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks. So, make sure you get a life jacket as well.
4. Nimpkish River
If you personally ask me which is the river for surfing in Vancouver, I would go with the Nimppkish River. This is one of the most calm and flat water rivers in Vancouver with scenery all around.
You can also take fishing pontoon boats as the Nimpkish offers great steelhead fishing from June to September and again during winter from January to April. During winter this region is suited for ice fishing.
When not for paddle boarding or surfboarding, you can also plan a visit for camping in this river as it is located in the middle of mountains with lake forest surrounding it all over. You can even plan an overnight camping tour with your friends and family. Just make sure you carry all the safety gear, tools and accessories.
5. Nanaimo River
We have so many spots for paddle boarding in Canada and one of them is the Nanaimo river featuring many rocky cliffs, deep coves, and seaweed beds with mesmerizing scenic beauty and beaches. There are loads of channels and currents flowing across the riverside, making it suited for slightly experienced paddlers only. You can launch your kayak from the end of Raines Road, Chase River Estuary Park Duke point.
The most popular place for exploring this river is Newcastle Island which is a historic place and very beautiful with loads of beaches, sandy and some pebby. There are some cool formations of overhand and rock cliffs as well.
Besides, you can also visit protection island. It’s only 1.15 km from the marina in downtown Nanaimo to the floating Dinghy Dock Pub and restaurant at Protection Island.
6. Puntledge River
Speaking of the best places for surfing and paddle boarding in Vancouver, Puntledge River has to be on my list. During summer, kayakers grab their paddles and boats and start running to the source of the sound of this river. With its 16 km long course, the Puntledge River drops from sandstone rock cuts and waterfalls from the dam located at Comox Lake.
The only drawback of this river is that it gets slightly soaked up in summer because of the heat. So, the best time to visit this place is the rainy season when things can get exciting. Rains in this region happen on early to mid-October depending on weather conditions.
Winter and spring can also be great options for visiting this place.
7. Cowichan River
Here’s introducing a heritage Canadian river best suited for river paddle boarding and whitewater water spot adventures of yours. The river is located in the centre of the provincial park, so you can also watch through hundreds of animal species and 200+ bird species over there. Yes, you can also carry out hunting activities in the area.
Tours, rentals, kayaking and paddle boarding coaching, kids’ recreational activities and everything else is available on the river basin.
There are three major tributaries of this river. One of them is solely suited for whitewater paddle boarding and kayaking, the other is suited for swimming and flatwater kayaking and the last one is perfect for fishing activities.
8. Sarita River
The Sarita River which is also called The Heart of the people is one of the most important rivers and creeks in Huu ay aht territory of Vancouver. The river is 100% free for paddle boarding in Vancouver and is also home to elk, deer, trout fish, birds and other wildlife animals, making it a perfect spot for camping, hiking and kayaking.
There are many historical sites located near the river basin that depicts the rich culture and tradition of Vancouver and the people living there.
Accessories that you need for paddle boarding in Vancouver
1. Safety jacket:
If you want to enjoy a safe and hassle-free paddle-boarding experience in Vancouver or anywhere in the world, safety should be your top priority. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are equipped with a 100% safe paddling life jacket certified by NMMA and US Coastal Guard Association.
The boating or paddling life jacket will safeguard you from accidents, especially if you don’t know about swimming.
If you are planning for a long-distance paddling trip in Vancouver, you surely need to look after your food, drinks and other beverages. This is where a paddle board cooler comes into the picture. Get an insulated cooler with ample storage space.
A paddleboard cooler will keep your food and beverages fresh for a long time and allow you to enjoy the best time paddling in Vancouver.
3. Depth finder:
Knowing the depth beneath your paddle board could be the difference between catching a limit or getting skunked. Depth finders are surely essential gear for anyone looking forward to paddle boarding in Vancouver. They’ll help you with not only knowing what is the depth beneath the water but also showing you a visual map of the body of water you are paddling on.
4. Fishing accessories:
If you have a knack for fishing while paddle boarding, then you must load yourself with fishing accessories and gear like rod holders, fish finder, casting reel, bait for fishing and many other accessories that will take your paddle board fishing in Vancouver to the next level.
Paddling in Vancouver is surely a fun activity. You can paddle around a remote island in the city or on the beach side. You can also glide through the longest river in Vancouver or try a hand at fishing on black lake.
However, in order to play it safe, you need a proper way to map and navigate your ideal location, or you might get lost. This is where the kayaking GPS or fish finder system comes into the picture. A kayaking GPS system will surely help you with navigation, mapping, tracking location and fish, knowing about the depth of water and a lot more. Hence, it is a must-have accessory on the trip.
6. Kayaking speaker:
Paddle boarding in Vancouver is surely a daunting activity. And it is quite possible you might get tired or bored in between your paddling adventure. So, what can you do to unwind? Of course, listening to music in the middle of your paddling journey is the best thing you can do to unwind and refresh.
Opt for a waterproof kayaking speaker with GPS connectivity, allowing you not only to listen to your favourite music but also to stay in contact with your loved ones.
A GPS smartwatch will help you track the time and might also help you with connecting with your friends and family if you are not carrying your cell phone.
8. Dry storage bag:
I am 100% sure you want to carry your necessary kayaking accessories and gear while kayaking or canoeing in Vancouver, right? If yes, then a kayak dry storage bag is the perfect gear for your next wilderness.
FAQs About Paddle Boarding In Vancouver
When you are using your own paddle board, you must be aware of restrictions and licenses required at specific locations. In Vancouver, you can paddle anywhere in a non-tidal location by taking permission from the relevant authorities.
Yes, you can also kayak or paddle board in Vancouver at night without worrying about any accidents. For at night, you need to make sure you are equipped with the latest kayaking gear, gadgets and tools which include light, GPS system, depth finder, wireless cell phone and safety jacket.
Yes, kayaking is 100% legal in Vancouver. You can kayak anywhere by taking relevant permission from the local authorities. Some places allow free kayaking, while some are paid.
There are a variety of lakes, rivers, seas and beaches available in Vancouver for paddle boarding and kayaking. However, some areas might require a specific skill, or license and some areas may be free to kayak or canoe anywhere in Canada