8 Best Places for Paddle Boarding in Vancouver
Vancouver is known for its beautiful coastline where ocean meets mountains, and scenic views are everywhere you look. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a day on your paddle board and explore everywhere this gorgeous space has to offer.
But where exactly are the best places to paddle in Vancouver, how can you access them with a paddle board, and what can you expect?
We’ll cover all this and more in this complete guide to the best places to paddle in Vancouver.
Let’s jump in.
Where can you paddle board in Vancouver?
You can paddle board almost anywhere in Vancouver. Since the city touches the Pacific Ocean, your paddle options are nearly endless and include a ton of locations throughout the stunning Burrard Inlet including Kits Beach, Jericho Beach, English Bay Beach, and all the way through North Vancouver into Deep Cove.
The best places for paddle boarding in Vancouver
English Bay Beach
1. Kitsilano Beach
Kits Beach is undeniably gorgeous, making it Vancouver’s most popular beach for a reason. Launch from the beachfront and paddle with the city’s skyline behind you, the Pacific Ocean’s vast horizon in front, and the North Shore mountains beside you.
The nice thing about Kits is that there’s plenty of paid parking available just steps from the beachfront. This makes inflating your board with an electric pump a great option here. Friends of yours who don’t own a board can rent one through Vancouver Water Adventures. They also rent kayaks and seadoos and run boat tours.
Kits can be a little busy (especially on weekends during the summer months) and water conditions can vary depending on the weather. But overall, Kitsilano Beach is the perfect place to watch the sunset from your board and combine some beach volleyball into your day of adventure as well.
2. Jericho Beach
Another stunning location for paddling with Instagram-worthy views in Vancouver is Jericho Beach. Friends of yours who don’t have a board can rent paddle boards and other water sports gear (such as windsurf and skimboard gear) from a company called Windsure that operates on Jericho Beach.
Luckily, there’s a decently sized paid parking lot just a few steps from the beach so you won’t have to walk far if you use an electric pump to inflate your paddle board at your vehicle. In classic Vancouver fashion, this location can also be quite busy and water conditions will vary based on the weather. Since this beach is on the Pacific Ocean coastline, there might be some waves on windy days but the winds tend to calm down closer to sunset.
3. Spanish Banks
Spanish Banks Beach is a large sandy beachfront with Vancouver’s skyline and mountain ranges as its backdrop. With multiple paid parking options close by, you can inflate your board at the car with an electric pump and only need to walk a few feet to get to the water. It can be busy at times so expect typical Vancouver crowds and varied water conditions.
4. English Bay
English Bay Beach is the best place to launch your paddle board from if you want to paddle near Vancouver’s famous (and lush) Stanley Park. There are a few paid parking lots near English Bay but you’ll have to do a bit of walking to get to the beachfront. For this location, we recommend carrying your board in its backpack and inflating it with your manual pump at the beach. This location is in the heart of the city just on the coastline so expect crowds and variable water conditions.
5. False Creek
There are a number of large parks and iconic skylines on either side of False Creek, making it a scenic place to enjoy an afternoon paddle. You’ll be accompanied by motorboats and other watersport lovers. It’s a busy body of water but this actually makes it quite good for beginners as it’s contained and known for being well-used by paddlers. You may think that there would be more shelter in the creek on a windy day, but because it’s still close to the coastline, winds and waves can still be present.
Since this creek runs through the heart of Vancouver, there aren’t a lot of options to launch your board from. Your best bet is to launch from the Village Dock or the Dragon Boat dock near Science World. Parking can be sparse in this area, but there are a few paid parking options nearby.
Make the most of this trip and paddle to Granville Island. Here, you can tie your board to the public dock outside of the market and stop for a coffee, snack, and some great photos mid-paddle.
6. Bowen Island
Escape from the city and find some jaw-dropping views in a peaceful setting on Bowen Island. In just a short ferry ride from Vancouver’s west terminal (Horseshoe Bay) you’ll be able to launch your paddle from one of the public docks or piers and enjoy the day taking in the stunning scenery. For any friends or family members that don’t own an inflatable SUP, there are SUP and kayak rentals located just next to the ferry dock with lessons available.
Keep an eye out for wildlife and have your cameras ready to try and capture the beauty. Bowen Island won’t be as busy as other locations on the list (especially once you get onto the water), but still be mindful of watercrafts and sailboats.
7. Porteau Cove
Just 30-minutes out of Vancouver is a beautiful coastal gem called Porteau Cove. It’s the perfect spot for a full weekend of adventure where you can camp, paddle, and hike all in one day (although we recommend breaking up the adventure and staying the night for some star gazing).
8. Deep Cove
Deep Cove is known for its beauty and tranquility. On the eastmost part of North Vancouver, you can escape the hustle and bustle of downtown and explore the breathtaking landscape of the Indian Arm. Both Corner Beach or Bessie Beach in Deep Cove are easy beachfront launch spots that are perfect for beginners. You can often expect calm waters at Deep Cove as you are far from the coastline but this, like always, depends on the weather.
There is 3-hour parking available off Panorama Drive so be sure to set a timer once you pay. Summer parking in Deep Cove can be busy but if you’re patient (and a little lucky), you’ll be able to find a spot.
Safety tips for paddling boarding Vancouver
Boats & motorcrafts
When paddling in the Vancouver area, be mindful that there are a number of watercrafts on the water including large tankers, motorboats, sailboats, seadoos, and more. Watch and listen for these vessels, always keep your distance, and never assume they can see you.
Do you have to wear a life jacket on a paddle board in BC? According to Transport Canada, you are required to wear or carry a life jacket on board with a whistle when using a paddle board. If you’re paddling after sunset, you’re also required to have a watertight flashlight with you. If these rules aren’t followed, you could be subject to a $200 to $500 fine.
Paddle Boarding in Vancouver with Maddle
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Shop our gorgeous collection of paddle boards and paddle board accessories to get everything you need to paddle board Vancouver.