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Paddle Power: Exploring Vancouver’s Best Paddleboarding Escapes

Paddle Power Exploring Vancouver's Best Paddleboarding Escapes

Did you know that paddleboarding was once known as “surfing for the lazy”? Regardless, over time, it has developed into one of the most exhilarating water sports in the world!  

This article is your go-to guide for finding the best paddleboarding spots in Vancouver, whether you’re a seasoned paddleboarder looking to explore new sites or a beginner wanting to try this thrilling water sport for the first time.

What are the rules for paddle boarding in BC?

What are the rules for paddle boarding in BC

If you’re out there on the water, moving from one spot to another on your paddleboard, you’re essentially navigating. According to Transport Canada’s Small Vessel Regulations, here’s what you need to have with you:

  • Whistle (sound signaling device) – a floating or waterproof whistle is recommended to alert other boaters of your presence in case of emergency. 
  • Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) – you have two options here:
    • Carry a lifejacket on board; you must also have a buoyant heaving line of at least 15m (49’3″). *This does not apply to inflatable PFDs.
    • Wear a life jacket; no buoyant heaving line is needed.
  • Watertight flashlight: bring a watertight flashlight for lowlight and night time paddle boarding to signal for help in case of emergency. 

Glide Effortlessly at English Bay

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Address: 800 Beach Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Contact details: 604-873-7000

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 7am to 10pm

Located along Beach Avenue, English Bay is one of the most famous beaches in Vancouver’s downtown. The waters here are beautiful as it’s where the shores of Vancouver meet the Pacific Ocean.

It’s a hotspot for leisurely paddle boarding excursions. As you glide atop the serene waters, you’re treated to panoramic views of the urban skyline and the rugged North Shore Mountains.

The waves here are quite tranquil, and if you need equipment, there are plenty of rentals available nearby.

Pro tip:
There’s this Cactus Club restaurant sitting right at the shoreline, it’s the best spot for staring at the beautiful sunset!

Explore Tranquility at Jericho Beach

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Address: 3941 Point Grey Rd, Vancouver, BC V6R 1B5, Canada

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 7am to 10pm

Jericho Beach lies along the northern edge of Jericho Park, situated at the western terminus of Point Grey Road, nestled between Wallace Street and Discovery Street.

Known for its sandy shores and calm waters, it’s a great spot for flatwater paddle boarding. You can enjoy a peaceful paddle along the shoreline, taking in the scenic views of the beach, the surrounding mountains, and the cityscape.

Pro tip:
The cozy café within the Sailing Centre offers remarkable vistas alongside unexpectedly delicious cuisine.

Paddle Leisurely at False Creek

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Address: 1318 Cartwright Street Vancouver, BC V6H 3R8

  • Contact details: 604-257-8194

False Creek is a short narrow inlet separating the Downtown and West End neighborhoods from the rest of the city. The waters here are truly unparalleled as the inlet winds its way through the heart of the city.

This spot provides paddlers a unique perspective as they glide beneath bridges and past verdant parks. As you venture further, you’re also treated to breathtaking vistas of distant mountain ranges. 

Renting a board from either Ecomarine Paddlesports or Vancouver Water Adventures at Granville Island provides the perfect opportunity to explore False Creek via stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).

Pro tip:
If you’re interested, throughout the day, Ecomarine provides guided tours that offer insights into the rich tapestry of local history.

Drift Peacefully at Deep Cove

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Address: Deep Cove, North Vancouver, BC V7G 1T8, Canada

Contact details: 604-990-2311

Deep Cove stands as a tranquil and visually stunning paradise for paddle boarding devotees, nestled within Vancouver’s North Shore and celebrated for its immaculate waters.

The surroundings of Deep Cove are adorned with verdant forests and imposing cliffs, creating a serene atmosphere. Additionally, the area boasts secluded coves and concealed beaches, adding to its allure.

Pro tip:
When preparing for your adventure, it’s advisable to bring along ziplock bags to protect your phone and other belongings from potential moisture.

Discover Serenity at Belcarra Regional Park

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Address: 2375 Bedwell Bay Rd, Belcarra, BC V3H 4S3, Canada

Contact details: +1 604-520-6442

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 7am to 8pm

This picturesque park is located in Port Moody boasts breathtaking vistas of the encompassing mountains and the glistening waters of the Indian Arm.

It offers convenient access to the water and serves as an ideal launching point for your paddle board adventure. The tranquil and sheltered waters of the Indian Arm cater to paddle boarders of all skill levels.

Pro tip:
The park also provides an array of amenities, including picnic areas, hiking trails, and a sandy beach.

Embark on Adventure at Kitsilano Beach

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Address: Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Contact details: 1499 Arbutus Street. Vancouver, BC V6K 1B5

Situated on Cornwall Avenue at the northern terminus of Yew Street, Kitsilano Beach overlooks English Bay, offering a protected bay that’s perfect for honing paddle boarding skills and fostering confidence on the water.

For novice paddle boarders, this area provides a serene and sheltered environment within English Bay, making it an excellent spot to get started.

Conveniently located nearby, you’ll discover a variety of rental shops and paddle boarding schools, providing easy access to equipment and opportunities for lessons to learn the fundamentals of paddle boarding.

Pro tip:
We highly recommend that you go here via public transport as park availability is limited.

Navigate Gracefully at Deer Lake

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Address: 6450 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby

Contact details: 604-294-7450

Operating hours: Monday to Friday: 7am to 3:30pm

Nestled against the shores of the beautiful lake from which the Town derives its name, Deer Lake is a great spot for paddle boarding.

Spanning a mere 850 meters from end to end, Deer Lake is a cozy gem nestled amidst a well-maintained network of trails and picnic spots.

Here, you’ll encounter fellow enthusiasts enjoying the water, fostering an atmosphere ripe for connections, shared experiences, and valuable tips.

Pro tip:
One major downside of Deer Lake is that the water is quite muddy and swampy so make sure to wear appropriate footwear if you plan on exploring the area.

Float Leisurely at Bowen Island

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Address: 432 Cardena Drive, Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada

Contact details: 604-947-4255

Right in the middle of Howe Sound, Bowen Island is just a  20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver.

This island is so gorgeous, with verdant forests and awe-inspiring vistas of the Pacific Ocean. You’d get to see hidden coves, rugged cliffs, and a vibrant array of marine life as you traverse the island’s unspoiled waters.

Pro tip:
For a truly unique experience, consider signing up for SUP Yoga classes where you’ll practice yoga while balancing on your paddleboard.

Cruise Gently at Spanish Banks

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Address: 4801 Northwest Marine Drive, Vancouver, British Columbia

Contact details: 604-257-8400

Operating hours: dusk till dawn

Located on West Vancouver, Spanish Banks is a beautiful stretch of sandy shores, expansive views of the ocean, the North Shore mountains, and the downtown skyline.

Paddle boarding at Spanish Banks is a unique blend of tranquility and adventure. The waves are gentle and there’s enough space for everyone to have fun.

It’s also quite easy to launch your paddle board straight from the beach and embark on a peaceful journey along the shoreline.

Pro tip:
Make sure you come here to catch one of the picturesque sunsets to add an extra touch of magic to your paddle boarding experience.

Wander Freely at Alouette Lake

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Address: 24480 Fern Crescent, Alouette Lake, Maple Ridge, British Columbia

Contact details: +1 604-466-8325

Operating hours: Monday to Sunday: 7am to 7pm

Alouette Lake is nestled within Golden Ears Provincial Park, and it lies approximately an hour’s drive from Vancouver in Maple Ridge. 

While the beach is passable, it may not be the most ideal. It tends to be rocky rather than sandy, and in certain areas, it can become muddy both in the water and along the shore

Despite that, the view of the lake is stunning, with mountains all around and the giant lawn in front of the beach is a great place for picnics.

Pro tip:
During the summer months, a boat rental facility operates by the lake; however, it’s worth noting that paddleboards may not be available for rent, so you’ll need to bring your own.