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7 Awesome things to do on the water in Vancouver


Vancouverites love to cool down on the water in the summer. It’s not surprising since the city is surrounded by it. And, even though I’ve heard a dozen times that the water in the city is super dirty, I can assure you it’s far, far cleaner than The Thames and the beaches downtown pass water quality tests. If you’re looking for a way to cool off in Vancouver (now that summer is finally here!!), here are 7 awesome things to do on the water in Vancouver.

Joe’s BBQ Boats

What’s better than a sunset BBQ? A sunset BBQ on a boat of course! Joe’s BBQ boats are the only one of their kind in Vancouver. The bright orange, circular boats seat 8 people and are hired for 2 hours at a time with additional 30 mins of safety briefing.

At $249 + tax for most time slots it’s not exactly the cheapest way to hit the water. But shared between friends it’s not so bad.

You’ll need to bring your own food, but utensils are included. Just don’t return late or you’ll be on the receiving end of a hefty fine!

Stand up paddle board

There’s been a lot of people out on paddle boards now that the weather has warmed up. Paddle boards are super easily to get the hand of, bug don’t be surprised (or disheartened if you fall in). Even the more nervous paddle boarders will find themselves standing up after 20 or so minutes.

You can rent paddle boards from numerous places in Vancouver. Both Kitsilano and English Bay have a stand directly on the beach. They have different deals throughout the week. The stand on English Bay does 2 for 1 on paddleboard rentals every Tuesday.

There’s also Yes Cycle Bike Rentals & SUP Paddleboard Rentals on Burrard & Harwood and Ecomarine Paddlesports or Vancouver Water Adventures, both $20 plus tax for 1 hour, on Granville Island.

Kayaking the creek

kayaking in false creek things to do on the water in Vancouver

Most of the places offering paddle board rentals will also offer kayak rentals in either single or double kayaks. Kayaking around False Creek or along the shores of Spanish Banks and Jericho is a great way to see the city. You might even see a few seals pop their heads out of the water on your trip!

Jet ski Howe Sound

Prefer things to do on the water that are a bit faster? Then this next one is for you. Hire a Seadoo from Vancouver Water Adventures on Granville Island and tear up the water (safely). It costs $99+ tax for 1 hours on a Seadoo. You can also hire them for longer and make your way up Howe Sound. Pack some snacks in a dry bay and you’re good to go!

Whale Watching

whale watching vancouver

Ever wanted to go whale watching? Vancouver is a great place to hop on a whale watching tour. Sure it’s a bit further out from the prime whale watching spots but it’s still doable.

There’s a bit of choice when it comes to picking your whale watching tour and you can opt for half day or full day tours.

The whale migration happens between March and October so this is the best time to catch sight of these incredible mammals.

Pirate Ship

Fancy being a pirate for the day? Well you’re in luck as Vancouver has it’s very own pirate ship! The ship sails up and down False Creek hitting unsuspecting passersby with water, singing, dancing and just having fun. It’s a pretty unique idea for an adult birthday party because who says this should just be for kids?

Ocean Swim

When it’s really hot outside there’s only one thing for it: jump in the ocean! You can do this anywhere for free (best are Sunset Beach, English Bay, Kits & Jericho), or you can join the Vancouver Open Water Swim Association on Mondays & Thursdays. You just turn up at 6pm (find the table and crowds of people in wetsuits by the Boathouse Restaurant on Kits Beach), fill out a waiver, pay $5 as a drop in fee and hit the water! These swims are lifeguarded and it’s a nice way to get out in the water for a longer swim without worrying too much.

Last Updated on May 11, 2024 by Hannah

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