The Best Kayaking and Paddle Boarding Locations Near Vancouver

22 Min Read
Sep 25, 2023

Hey there, ready to uncover the ultimate kayaking & paddle boarding spots in Vancouver? Get set to dive into a world where lakes, beaches, and creeks become your playground. 

No matter if you're a newbie or a seasoned paddler, Vancouver's got something for everyone. We're your guide to all the best spots, whether you're up for a leisurely float or a wild ride. Join us as we spill the beans on these aquatic gems, each with its own unique vibe and adventure.

Paddleboarding & Kayaking - LAKES:

1. Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake is nothing short of a sanctuary for those who adore paddle boarding and kayaking in the Vancouver area.

Surrounded by an awe-inspiring backdrop of mountains and dense forest, this lake presents an idyllic setting that's hard to rival. It's no wonder it has established itself as a local favorite.

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Now, let's address the elephant in the room: popularity can sometimes equate to crowds, especially on balmy summer weekends. Although the parking lot may fill up quickly, the ambiance and the pristine conditions of the lake make it worth navigating the hustle and bustle.

The lake itself remains peaceful, largely due to a fantastic regulation—no motorboats are permitted. This means you can paddle or kayak without the disturbance of boat wakes.

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For those interested in more than just water activities, Buntzen Lake offers an excellent trail that encircles the water. This 12-kilometer route provides a wonderful alternative for individuals or families looking to diversify their outdoor adventure.

In terms of amenities, the area is well-equipped with washrooms, picnic benches, and a dedicated boat launch for paddleboarders and kayakers.

Location: Buntzen Lake - Google Maps

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2. Brohm Lake

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Brohm Lake. Just a hop, skip, and jump north of Squamish, this lake is a treasure trove for outdoor enthusiasts.

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Unlike some of the more conventional lakeside settings, Brohm Lake offers an intriguing twist—large rock outcroppings surround the water instead of the usual sandy or grassy areas.

These rocks serve as ideal platforms for sunbathing, picnicking, or simply admiring the lake's serene beauty. The absence of motorboats ensures that the lake stays as peaceful as it looks, making it a haven for paddleboarders and kayakers alike.

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Now, a word to the wise: Brohm Lake may be smaller in size, but don't let that dissuade you. What it lacks in expanse, it more than makes up for in charm and warmth—literally.

The water here is surprisingly warm, clear, and still, making it a joy for any paddleboard or kayak outing.

Location: Brohm Lake - Google Maps

3. Burnaby Lake

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Burnaby Lake offers an experience that's both refreshing and enlightening. Situated within the city of Burnaby, this lake is a living museum of sorts.

Created 12,000 years ago by a glacier, the lake has a storied past that includes being a crucial site for Coast Salish activities and, more recently, hosting sawmills on its shores. Today, it's a haven for outdoor adventurers looking for an enriching paddle boarding or kayaking experience in the Greater Vancouver area.

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What sets it apart is its vibrant ecosystem. As you paddle along, you're not just navigating water—you're traversing a habitat bustling with life.

From busy beavers crafting their lodges to diving ducks and turtles feeding in the marshes, this lake is a microcosm of the natural world. And if you're an avian aficionado, make sure you don't miss the viewing tower. This structure grants you a bird's-eye view (pun intended!) of an array of wildlife that calls the lake home.

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While Burnaby Lake may not be as vast as some other locations, its charm lies in its intimate scale and the richness of its history and wildlife. It's a locale that appeals to the heart as much as it does to the paddleboarder or kayaker in you.

And given its convenient location, you don’t have to venture far from the urban hustle to dip your paddle into a world teeming with life and stories.

Location: Burnaby Lake - Google Maps

4. Sasamat Lake

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This place offers something for everyone and stands out as a multifaceted destination for paddle-boarding and kayaking aficionados.

At its heart lies White Pine Beach—a beach that actually lives up to its name with real sand! That's right, you can build sandcastles in between paddling sessions or sunbathe to your heart's content.

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Not only does White Pine Beach have picnic benches and washrooms, but it also comes to life with a concession booth during the summer.

Now, because Sasamat Lake has got all these perks, it's no surprise that it can get a bit busy. The parking can resemble a game of musical chairs on a hot summer weekend, so a pro tip: arrive early to claim your spot.

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For those who prefer a touch of solitude, fear not. Sasamat Lake is encircled by walking trails and features smaller, more secluded beaches that you can discover as you paddle along the shoreline.

A day at this lake is not just about being on the water; it's an adventure that beckons you to explore its every nook and cranny.

Location: Sasamat Lake - Google Maps

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5. Levette Lake

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Sometimes, the best gems are the ones you have to search for, and Levette Lake exemplifies this perfectly.

Tucked away near Squamish, this hidden oasis offers an exceptional, more secluded experience for paddleboarding and kayaking. It's as if the lake whispers an invitation only to those adventurous enough to seek it out.

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First things first: getting there requires a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, a subtle gatekeeper that keeps the crowds at bay.

This makes Levette Lake the ideal destination for folks craving solitude and a connection with nature that's sometimes hard to find in more popular spots.

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Let's talk about the lake's standout features. One of the most enchanting aspects of Levette Lake is the charming little island within paddling distance, perfect for some exploration or a fun swimming detour.

Add to that a rock that's just begging to be sunbathed on, and you've got the recipe for an unforgettable day on the water.

Location: Levette Lake - Google Maps

6. Deer Lake

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If you're new to the world of paddleboarding and kayaking, or simply crave a more serene setting, Deer Lake is your go-to destination.

Nestled in Burnaby's charming Deer Lake Park, this body of water offers a different flavor of adventure compared to more bustling locations like Jericho Beach. Here, calm waters beckon newcomers and seasoned paddlers alike, providing an atmosphere that's as laid-back as it is captivating.

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One of the most convenient features of Deer Lake is the on-site boat rentals. That's right, Deer Lake Boat Rentals has you covered. So, if you don't own a kayak or paddleboard, no worries—you can easily rent one for the day.

This means even spontaneous outings become effortlessly possible; just show up, rent your gear, and you're all set for a day of tranquil paddling.

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However, there's a tiny seasonal twist worth mentioning: if you're planning a winter escapade, you'll need to reserve your board or kayak ahead of time.

While the idea of paddling in colder weather may not be everyone's cup of tea, for the adventurous, it's a unique experience that promises its own kind of magic.

Location: Deer Lake - Google Maps

7. Cultus Lake

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Cultus Lake, a slice of paradise that's a bit of a drive from Vancouver but oh-so-worth it. As you head there, you're not just traveling in distance; you're journeying toward an atmosphere that's both effervescent and, somehow, soothing at the same time.

The community around Cultus Lake embraces the summer season like a long-lost friend, offering a variety of amenities that make the trip rewarding and convenient.

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Now, the lake itself is a delightful setting for paddleboarding and kayaking. The water tends to be quite warm—perfect for those who love to dive in after a good paddle.

While the lake does allow motorboats, it's expansive enough to offer pockets of tranquility. So yes, you can have your cake and eat it too: a lively atmosphere and secluded spots for quiet reflection on the water.

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What adds to the charm of Cultus Lake is the sizable dock that becomes a social hub in the summer. Here, you'll often find folks sunning themselves, diving off the sides, or simply soaking in the blissful vibes.

It's not just a lake; it's a summer experience, a mini-vacation from everyday life that invites you to leave your worries at the shore and paddle your cares away.

Location: Cultus Lake - Google Maps

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8. Rolley Lake

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When it comes to Rolley Lake, think of it as the cozy, welcoming neighborhood café of paddle sports locations around Vancouver.

It’s the kind of place where you don't need to be an expert to have a great time. Just a short distance away, this small lake is enveloped by hilly pine forests, giving it an intimate feel that's perfect for beginners and families.

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One of the best parts about Rolley Lake is its forgiving conditions. The lake is typically not very windy, making it easier to navigate, especially if you're new to paddleboarding or kayaking.

But don't let its modest size fool you; Rolley Lake packs a lot of charm into its borders. It offers a wonderful backdrop for a day of water activities, including swimming and fishing, without overwhelming you with size or complexity.

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And if you've got a bit of an explorer's streak, the loop trail surrounding the lake is a bonus feature you'll definitely want to check out.

This trail meanders through the surrounding pine forests, offering an ideal detour to stretch your legs and take in some nature between paddling sessions.

Location: Rolley Lake - Google Maps

9. Hayward Lake

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This hidden gem is nestled in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, just waiting for paddle enthusiasts to discover its serene waters.

If you're seeking calm, look no further; Hayward Lake is like the yoga instructor of water bodies—always inviting you to find your balance and soak up peace.

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One of the major perks? This isn't just a lake; it's also a reservoir, which means it’s exceptionally well-maintained. But don’t let the term "reservoir" scare you off; it’s managed by BC Hydro and trust me, they’ve got your back.

We're talking free parking, showers, and toilets, making your paddle boarding or kayaking excursion as hassle-free as possible.

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Not only is the lake itself a haven for paddling, but its absence of bustling boat traffic transforms it into a meditative space.

Think of it like a private reading room, but for paddleboarders and kayakers—a place where you can glide effortlessly through the water, uninterrupted by wakes or waves.

Location: Hayward Lake - Google Maps

10. Chilliwack Lake

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Chilliwack Lake, a spectacular water haven that's worth the journey. Sure, it's about a two-hour drive from downtown Vancouver, but this is the kind of place that makes every minute in the car completely worthwhile.

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Now, why is Chilliwack Lake the road trip of your paddleboarding and kayaking dreams? Imagine gliding through glass-like waters with mountainous backdrops that could steal the show from any postcard.

This lake isn't just a body of water; it's a full-on experience. The kind of spot that leaves you speechless but fills your Instagram with photos that speak volumes.

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But wait, there's more. If you're smitten by the lake's beauty and aren't ready to leave, you don't have to! Yep, you can extend your aquatic adventure by camping at one of the lake’s campsites.

Consider it your own mini-vacation, where you can wake up with the sunrise and be on the water before anyone else.

Location: Chilliwack Lake - Google Maps

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11. Lost Lake (Whistler)

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If you're seeking a slice of serenity with a dash of breathtaking beauty, then let me tell you about Lost Lake in Whistler.

Now, you might be thinking, "Isn't Whistler all about skiing and snowboarding?" Sure, it's a winter wonderland, but come summer, Lost Lake turns into a paddler's paradise. And the best part? Getting there is a breeze. Just hop on a shuttle bus that departs every 15-20 minutes from Whistler Village, and you're on your way to tranquility.

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The moment you arrive, you'll feel like you've stumbled into a hidden gem. The lake offers an intimate, peaceful setting that makes you forget the hustle and bustle of daily life.

It's the kind of place where each paddle stroke seems to echo softly, almost as if the lake itself is mindful of its own tranquility.

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But don't let the quietness fool you. The environment around Lost Lake is nothing short of spectacular. With panoramic mountain views framing the water, every moment feels like a living landscape painting.

Whether you’re paddleboarding or kayaking, the scenic backdrop elevates the experience from enjoyable to downright spiritual. Plus, the lake's gentle waters make it an inviting destination for paddlers of all skill levels.

Location: Lost Lake (Whistler)- Google Maps

Paddleboarding & Kayaking - BEACHES & CREEKS:

1. Deep Cove

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Picture this: You're nestled in North Vancouver, surrounded by lush forests, towering cliffs, and you’re floating on crystal-clear water that reflects the sky like a mirror.

Sounds like a daydream, right? Well, folks, welcome to Deep Cove, the kind of place where reality feels better than your wildest dreams. From the moment you launch your paddleboard or kayak, you'll know you're in for a treat.

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In the heart of Vancouver's North Shore, Deep Cove offers a sweet escape from the city's hustle without actually having to travel far.

You can opt for a serene paddle, exploring the nooks and crannies of various tranquil coves. Or, if you're the adventurous sort, test your skills against some challenging currents. Either way, the water’s calm enough to suit paddleboarders and kayakers at any skill level, yet engaging enough to keep you coming back for more.

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And let’s not forget the breathtaking vistas! The mountains serve as a dramatic backdrop that just begs to be photographed. You even can book a guided Kayak Explorer Tours from Deep Cove Kayak - these tours provide an immersive experience amidst the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest!

It's as if Mother Nature herself decided to create a natural stage just for paddleboarders and kayakers to showcase their skills.

Location: Deep Cove - Google Maps

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2. Barnett Marine Park

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Barnett Marine Park—what a delightful hideaway for paddleboarding and kayaking enthusiasts! Situated not too far from the urban hustle, this park is like a breath of fresh air for anyone eager to paddle their cares away.

And let me tell you, it's a hotspot for paddlers, especially as the weather turns warm and inviting. So, if you've been considering a visit, here's your nudge to go for it!

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One of the coolest things about Barnett Marine Park is the flexibility it offers. You can launch your kayak or paddleboard into the inlet and decide on your route as you go along.

Feeling adventurous? Paddle your way up to Belcarra. Want a scenic, laid-back experience? Consider heading over to Burns Point. And if you're keen on exploring, Boulder Island is another must-visit.

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It's the kind of place where you can set your own pace. You could knock out a brisk 2-3 hours on the water or take it slow and relish the natural beauty surrounding you.

Along the way, you'll find small beaches that are perfect for a little breather, a snack, or even a quick swim.

Location: Barnett Marine Park - Google Maps

3. False Creek

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False Creek is where you want to be. Seriously, this inlet is like a tapestry of Vancouver's finest qualities—majestic mountains, a dynamic skyline, and crystal-clear waters.

Now, that's what I call a paddleboarding paradise right in the heart of a bustling city.

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As you glide through the placid waters, you get to paddle under intriguing bridges and alongside lush parks, all while taking in panoramic views that'll have you pinching yourself. Is it serene? Absolutely. Adventurous? You bet.

The beauty of False Creek lies in its versatility. Whether you're a paddleboarding newbie or an old hand, this place has something for everyone.

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But what really makes False Creek stand out is its unique urban setting. Here, you're not just surrounded by nature; you're in the midst of a city that's alive and pulsating.

Picture this: One moment you're drifting past stunning parks and the next you're gazing at floating homes and marinas. And if you're up for it, you can take a detour to uncover secluded spots that offer a stark contrast to the urban vibe.

Location: False Creek - Google Maps

4. Widgeon Creek

Imagine embarking on an adventure that starts at Grant Narrows Regional Park and leads you into an almost surreal slice of nature that’s teeming with life.

After a brief paddle across Grant Narrows, you'll find yourself at the entrance to Widgeon Creek, and let me tell you, this place is pure magic.

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From the first paddle stroke, you leave behind the buzz of boat motors and get enveloped in this stunning bird sanctuary.

Yes, you heard that right! It's a sanctuary that's music to the ears of bird lovers and a visual treat for everyone else. Towering mountains with snowy peaks serve as your backdrop, making it impossible not to be captivated by the landscape.

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The creek is filled with twists and turns that make your paddle feel like a delightful treasure hunt.

You might also find yourself chuckling at the sight of less-experienced paddlers trying to maneuver around gravel beds and sandbars. Oh, the joys of summer!

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But the adventure doesn’t stop there. When you reach a certain point, you can pull up your paddleboard or kayak and set off on foot toward Widgeon Falls.

A hike here offers a different set of joys and challenges, but that's a story for another day.

Location: Widgeon Creek - Google Maps

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5. English Bay

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If you've been on the hunt for a paddleboarding or kayaking spot that’s not just about the water, but also offers a feast for your eyes, this is it. Nestled along the southern shore of downtown Vancouver, English Bay is pretty much a postcard come to life.

On one side, you've got the glittering city skyline as a backdrop, and on the other, the majestic North Shore Mountains. Not to mention, the Pacific Ocean extends as far as your eyes can see. Talk about paddleboarding with a view!

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Summer is when this bay really comes alive. Locals and tourists alike flock to the beach to catch some sun, make sandcastles, and of course, get out on the water.

What makes it a hit, especially among those who are new to paddleboarding, are the calm waters. It's like the bay itself is coaxing you to give it a try, saying, "Come on in, the water’s fine!"

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Don't own a paddleboard or kayak? No sweat! There are plenty of spots around the bay where you can rent all the gear you need.

Location: English Bay - Google Maps

6. Rocky Point Park - Port Moody

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Picture this: a large, inviting grassy area perfect for picnics or tossing a frisbee, tantalizing eateries that range from kiosks selling fish and chips to an irresistible ice cream shop, and if you're a fan of craft brews—oh boy, are you in for a treat!

Dubbed the "Brewery Row," this park is surrounded by several craft breweries, all within a stone’s throw of each other. It's basically a playground for adults and kids alike.

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But let’s not forget why we're really here—the water. Tucked into the scenic backdrop of stunning mountains, the ocean along Rocky Point Park is perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking.

The atmosphere is so chill and relaxed, you'll feel your worries drifting away as you paddle out into the serene waters.

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Parking? Check. Washrooms? Check. Good vibes? Triple check. It's not every day you find a place that's got great on-land and on-water activities in equal measure.

Location: Rocky Point Park - Port Moody - Google Maps

7. Kitsilano Beach

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Kitsilano Beach, or "Kits Beach" as the locals call it, is pretty much a paradise for anyone wanting to dip their toes into the world of paddleboarding or kayaking.

Nestled within the embrace of English Bay, Kits Beach is a sanctuary for newbies. Why? Because the waters here are calm and sheltered, giving you that nice, cozy feeling of stability. Plus, the predictability of the tides and currents makes it an ideal learning ground.

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But don't just take my word for it; there are paddleboard rental shops and schools right around the corner.

Whether you want to rent gear for a couple of hours or take a full-on lesson to master the basics, you've got options. It's like the universe is saying, "Hey, no excuses. Get out there!"

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And you know what else you’ll love? The view. Paddle along the coastline and you'll be awestruck by the scenery.

The dazzling city skyline on one side, majestic mountains on the other, and the golden sands of the beach itself will make you feel like you're in a postcard. No kidding!

Location: Kitsilano Beach - Google Maps

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8. Jericho Beach

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Jericho Beach. If you're after a place that’s just right for a mellow paddleboarding or kayaking outing, then look no further.

You’ve hit the jackpot! Picture this: sandy shores stretch out like a golden carpet, the water is calm as morning dew, and the backdrop is a breathtaking blend of city skyline, rugged mountains, and endless sky. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?

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What makes Jericho Beach special is its calm, flatwater conditions. These are absolutely perfect for beginners who are still learning to navigate their board or kayak.

You can paddle at your own pace along the shoreline, so there's no pressure, just pure joy.

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Now, here’s the icing on the cake: SUP yoga. Yep, that’s Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga for those not in the know. Imagine striking a yoga pose while balancing on a board that’s floating on water.

Talk about taking your yoga practice to the next level, right? The serenity of Jericho Beach makes it the ideal venue for this combo of yoga and paddleboarding.

Location: Jericho Beach - Google Maps

9. Spanish Banks

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Get ready for a paddleboarding escape that's nothing short of magical. Welcome to Spanish Banks, a local gem tucked away on Vancouver's west side.

This stretch of beach is the real deal. It offers panoramic ocean views, a stunning glimpse of the North Shore mountains, and a front-row seat to the downtown skyline. Sounds like a postcard come to life, doesn't it?

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One of the best parts about Spanish Banks is the mood of the place. It's a tranquil haven, making it superb for first-timers eager to find their paddleboarding sea legs.

The waters here are calm with only the gentlest of waves, so it's easy to focus on honing your skills without worrying about being knocked off balance.

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As you glide across the water, you’ll feel like you’ve got the best of all worlds. Sky, sand, and sea all converge to make your paddling experience as picture-perfect as possible.

Location: Spanish Banks - Google Maps

10. Boundary Bay

Grab your paddleboard or kayak and head to Boundary Bay, where natural beauty meets international borders.

Situated right between British Columbia and Washington State, this shallow bay is a go-to spot for paddle enthusiasts craving a unique outdoor experience. And when we say unique, we mean it. Where else can you paddle along an international boundary line under a sky full of stars?

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The setting is so serene, you might feel like you're paddling in a painting. Because the bay is relatively shallow, the water is often calm, making it an excellent choice for paddlers of all skill levels.

Whether you're a newbie getting the feel of the board beneath you or an experienced kayaker looking for a leisurely afternoon, Boundary Bay delivers.

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As evening falls, the experience takes a celestial twist. The night sky here is incredible, putting on a star-studded performance that's a feast for the eyes.

Location: Boundary Bay - Google Maps

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11. Bowen Island

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Bowen Island, the hidden gem that's just a ferry ride away from the hustle of Vancouver, is an absolute wonderland for paddleboarders and kayakers.

If you're yearning for a place where you can truly disconnect and recharge, this might just be your paddle paradise. Picture this: you, your paddleboard, and miles of pristine coastline, flanked by forests that look like they've been painted on a canvas.

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As you skim across the water, the only sounds are the gentle lap of the waves and maybe a seal or two barking in the distance.

Don't be surprised if you also spot some curious dolphins or even a majestic orca. They love the peaceful vibes here just as much as you will. And those views? Oh, let me tell you. Whether you're catching the golden hues of sunrise or the warm glow of sunset, the ocean seems to sparkle in a way that's pure magic.

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Feeling more adventurous? Bowen Island has its share of hidden coves and rugged cliffs waiting to be explored. Bring a waterproof camera along to capture the vibrant marine life you'll encounter on your journey.

Location: Bowen Island - Google Maps

To Sum It All Up

Alright, so there you have it—some of the absolute best spots for paddleboarding and kayaking in and around Vancouver. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a total newbie, there's a slice of watery heaven waiting for you somewhere in this incredible city.

Each of these locations offers something unique, something magical, that keeps both locals and visitors coming back for more!

From the urban charm of False Creek to the rustic serenity of Widgeon Creek, we've got spots that offer just about anything you could wish for.

Feel like snapping that Insta-perfect city skyline shot from the water? Head on down to English Bay. Want to combine your yoga practice with paddleboarding? Jericho Beach is your go-to.

Or maybe you're looking to venture out and feel like you've entered a whole new world without actually leaving the city? Bowen Island calls your name.

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