Water Sports

Water Sports

Kayaking at Deep Cove. Photo by Gjenerothepatrickatrick.

With so many differing kinds of water around the Vancouver area, visitors are able to try their hands at all sorts of different water sports, from kayaking, to sailing to scuba diving and more.

You’ll find details below of some of the destinations around Vancouver for the various water sports.


There are many sheltered waterways around Vancouver, perfect for some relaxing kayaking, and with an assortment of stores who rent out kayaks and other equipment you don’t need to worry about bringing anything yourself.

For the city experience, try kayaking in the waters around Vancouver itself with Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre, or for the opposite end of the spectrum, try the waters around Deep Cove and up into Indian Arm with Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre, for the ultimate in peace and tranquility.

Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre

If you know what you’re doing, Ecomarine offer equipment rentals so you can go and paddle to your heart’s content! Alternatively for those who are new to kayaking a great idea is to join one of their guided tours as they know where it’s safe and best to paddle in the Vancouver waters. There are two Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre bases – at Granville Island and at Jericho Beach.

Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre - Granville Island
1668 Duranleau Street, Granville Island
Vancouver, B.C.
Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre - Jericho Sailing Centre
1300 Discovery Street
Vancouver, B.C.
Ecomarine Ocean Kayak Centre Website

Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak Centre

Over in Deep Cove, at the southern end of Indian Arm you’ll find the Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre. Deep Cove itself is a sheltered cove surrounded in stunning natural beauty, making this an ideal place for beginners to try kayaking and canoeing as well as a great place for the experienced to kayak in such scenic waters.

You can take an introductory course here before setting out in a rented kayak or canoe, and once you’re more confident you may like to join one of their guided tours to really get the best out of Deep Cove and Indian Arm.

Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre
2156 Banbury Road North Vancouver
Vancouver, B.C.
Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre Website
View map of Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre

Sailing & Windsurfing

Within Vancouver, the best spot for winds suitable for sailing and windsurfing is in English Bay and there is certainly enough water here to keep you occupied for some hours. Sailors may be tempted to travel a bit further afield into the Strait of Georgia or around Stanley Park and under the Lions Gate Bridge into the Vancouver Harbour area.

If you’re looking for rentals, the best place to pick these up is at the Jericho Sailing Centre in Kitsilano. There are various companies here offering lessons and equipment rentals such as Windsure Adventure Sports (Tel: 604-224-0615 or Windsure Adventure Sports website), and Mac Sailing (Tel: 604-224-7245 or Mac Sailing website).

Scuba Diving

Vancouver and the surrounding areas are quickly becoming known as a great place for scuba diving. There are several sites, especially off the North Shore and into Howe Sound, where, despite the quite cool water temperatures, the scuba diving opportunities are becoming renowned.

If you’re wanting to stay relatively near the city, it’s suggested that the best place for scuba diving is in the waters around Whytecliff Park (see our West Vancouver page for more information on the other attractions at Whytecliff Park).

The waters around Whytecliff Park feature an underwater reserve which is great all year round, though the best months to scuba dive here are between October and April, if you can stand the cold. The waters don’t get much above 10C (50F) below the thermocline, so make sure you’re well prepared with the right equipment.

For something a bit different and further out from Vancouver, try a tour out to some great dive sites around the Sunshine Coast and off Vancouver Island. The International Diving Centre (based out of Kitsilano) are one such company who offer trips around the region such as to the sunken HMCS Cape Breton near Nanaimo if you enjoy exploring sunken ships! The International Diving Centre also offers equipment rentals and courses.

The International Diving Centre
2572 Arbutus Street, Kitsilano
Vancouver, B.C.
The International Diving Centre Website
View map of The International Diving Centre

White Water Rafting

With the mountains surrounding Vancouver, there are many opportunities for white water rafting as the rivers are fed by the melt waters coming from the snow on the mountains, and there are many rivers with quite steep gradients making their way down to the coast in the Vancouver region.

There are four popular destinations within reach of Vancouver for the best white water rafting experiences – the town of Lytton is actually known as ‘the Rafting Capital of Canada’, though the four hours or so drive time to Lytton may make this a bit too far to journey for some visitors to Vancouver. A bit closer to home you have Whistler, Squamish and Chilliwack for some great rafting too.

Just north of Squamish, in the winter head to Brackendale because as well as rafting, Brackendale presents the best ever opportunities to see large numbers of bald eagles as they fly overhead looking for spawning salmon.

An hour or so drive to the east of Vancouver is the Chilliwack River where you can try the Kamihi Rapids and north of here is the expansive Fraser River with the famous Hell’s Gate Canyon for the ultimate adrenalin rush!