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Deep Cove and kayaking are pretty much synonymous. On any sunny weekend, you can find dozens of people outside of Deep Cove kayak rentals getting ready to hit the water and go kayaking on the Indian Arm.
Kayaking the Indian Arm is something we’d done before for a couple of hours, and we’d been lucky enough to get a boat to Granite Falls in the Indian Arm with some of our friends. However, we’d yet to go paddleboarding at Deep Cove until fairly recently where we camped on Twin Islands in the Indian Arm.
If you’re planning to go kayaking at Deep Cove, here’s what you need to know about where to rent a kayak in Deep Cove (or a paddle board!) and where to kayak in Deep Cove.
Deep Cove kayaking
Deep Cove village in North Vancouver, BC sees many people visit on a sunny weekend and it’s easy to see why. It’s super close to downtown Vancouver but feels very far away. The small village is in a beautiful location right on the Indian Arm, a steep-sided glacial fjord that extends north from Burrard Inlet into a mountainous wilderness, and yet it can still seem peaceful (if you get away from the line waiting for donuts outside of Honey’s!)
One of the most popular things to do in Deep Cove is to rent a kayak or SUP and go on a Deep Cove kayak trip. The trips vary in difficulty and length and are anywhere from an hour or two to multi-day trips where you circumnavigate the Indian Arm, camping in between. Kayaking in Deep Cove is always a fun time and here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re prepared.
Where is Deep Cove?
Deep Cove, BC is is a neighbourhood of North Vancouver, BC. It borders the Indian Arm Provincial Park, also known as Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park. This Deep Cove map shows you where it is in relation to the city.
Getting to Deep Cove, North Vancouver
Getting to Deep Cove, Vancouver all depends on the traffic and finding parking at Deep Cove can be tricky, especially on weekends. Because of this, it can often be easier to catch the bus to Deep Cove. If you’re coming from downtown Vancouver you’ll most likely have to change at the Phibbs Exchange but some routes go direct to Deep Cove from places in North Vancouver.
Deep Cove parking is mostly free, but do pay attention to parking signs, especially those reserved for residents of holders of a district of North Vancouver (DNV) permit. Additional parking at weekends can be found need Deep Cove school or on the road running along the top of the village. If you’re camping on the Indian Arm, you can’t park in the parking lots overnight so will need to find parking elsewhere.
Deep Cove Kayak Rentals and boat rentals
If you need to rent a kayak, paddleboard or boat for your adventure in the Indian Arm you’re in luck! Deep Cove kayaking rentals are your go-to for this. The Deep Cove kayak centre is right on the waterfront by Deep Cove park and adjacent to the Deep Cove marina and Panorama Park.
Pretty much everyone kayaking in Deep Cove rents from these guys as they’re the closest to the water and have everything you need to get out there.
If you’re planning a weekend rental you MUST book in advance. The rentals get booked up weeks or even months in advance so this is an activity you need to plan. You can book online through the Deep Cove rentals website or over the phone.
The cost of a Deep Cove kayak rental starts at $45 for 2-hours in a single kayak and $69 for a double kayak. Deep Cove paddle boarding rentals cost $45 for two hours and it’s also $45 for a surfski. There are no Deep Cove canoe rentals available from the kayak centre.
If you want to rent a boat in Deep Cove, you can do so through Deep Cove marina. Anyone looking to rent a boat through them does need prior experience.
Paddle boarding and Kayaking at Deep Cove
Each time we’ve paddled in the Indian Arm we’ve taken our own kayak or paddleboard. You can launch from a few places with the most common being right in front of the Deep Cove kayak centre, just try to keep out of the way of the busy rental situation they’ve got going on!
If you have an inflatable SUP like us, it’s easier to inflate on the grass just behind the kayak centre and then carry your board and gear down to the water.
Where to kayak at Deep Cove
There are lots of different routes you can take when it comes to getting out of and doing some Deep Cove paddle boarding! You can explore the cove itself, or you can take your kayak or paddleboard out of Deep Cove and to one of the following locations. This Indian Arm map mentions the locations detailed below to help get your bearings but it’s not to scale so make sure you do additional research on distances.
Jug Island and Bedwell Bay
One of the most popular, and closest routes to kayak from Deep Cove is Jug Island. Jug Island lays just off of Belcarra Regional Park. You can paddle up to the island and enjoy a picnic in the beachy areas or explore Bedwell Bay and the calmer waters out of the way of the boats going up and down the Indian Arm.
You can also hike to Jug Island from Belcarra. I’ll leave it to you to decide which is more fun!
Boulder Island and Grey Rocks Island
These small islands are more just large rocks but they make a good destination to aim for if you’re not sure where to go. Our first time kayaking on the Indian Arm, we headed out to this area and enjoyed marvelling at the fancy houses with their amazing views!
Kayak to Cates Park
For a longer trip, kayaking to or from Cates Park to Deep Cove is becoming more popular. This trip will require a bit more paddle experience as the waters around Cates Park tend to be a bit rougher than those closer to Deep Cove and busier with boats. However, if you’re up for it it’s a great route!
Twin Islands camping
While there’s no Deep Cove camping permitted, you can go camping along the Indian Arm.
For an easy overnight kayaking or paddle boarding trip, head to Twin Islands! This was what we did on our most recent trip where we took our paddle boards to Twin Islands and camped for a night before paddling back.
Camping is permitted on the north island and there are some great spots to be had. It does get extremely busy though so if you can go mid-week that’d be more enjoyable!
The paddle took about an hour on the way there and 1.5 hours on the way back. We saw tonnes of jellyfish, moon jellies and lions mane jellyfish, as we paddle boarded from Twin Island to Deep Cove. While they do sting, they’re unlikely to do too much harm. Still, I wouldn’t have wanted to fall off in the middle of them!
Read more about Indian Arm camping and camping on Twin Islands here.
Multi-day camping trips in the Indian Arm
For more Indian arm camping you can kayak further up and camp at south Granite Falls, on the eastern side, and south Bishop’s Creek on the western side of the Indian Arm.
Take a Deep Cove kayak tour
If you’d rather have someone else be in charge of where you go, book a Deep Cove kayak tour!
There are a range of tours you can book including the Friday Night Lights special where you head out in the dark, the full moon tour where you can even see bioluminescence light up the water if the conditions are right, and day trips varying in length.
Top tips for kayaking at Deep Cove
Before you go kayaking at Deep Cove there are a few things to bear in mind for your safety and the protection of this beautiful area.
- LEAVE NO TRACE: Pack out everything you take with you.
- Watch for boats: The Indian Arm gets a lot of motor board traffic on sunny weekends. Watch for boats and make sure you’re visible by wearing a brightly colours PFD (personal floatation device/life jacket).
- Sun cream: It’s easy to burn when you spend your day on the water. Opt for reef-safe sun cream to protect marine life.
- Dry bags: take a dry bag to keep your valuables and an extra layer in.
- Hat: A hat will help protect you from the sun.
- Snacks: Paddling can be hard work!
- Water: enough for a few hours or overnight if you’re camping as there are no water sources at Twin Islands campground and you’ll need a filter or purification if you get water from Granite or Silver Falls.
- Check the Deep Cove weather, winds and tide: This site was useful for planning our trip and making sure we didn’t get caught out by the wind!
Other things to do in Deep Cove
Kayaking in Deep Cove isn’t the only thing to do! Here are a few more things to do if you’d rather stay on land…
Hiking in Deep Cove
Though there’s more than one trail to hike in Deep Cove, there’s one Deep Cove hike that gets all the attention and that’s the Quarry Rock hike. Most people who’ve gone hiking in Deep Cove have done this trail and you can read more about it on my Quarry Rock hiking guide.
However, there are other Deep Dove hiking options such as the Baden Powell Trail and other trails at the foot of Mt Seymour.
Coffee and donuts
Going to Deep Cove and not picking up a donut from Honey’s Donuts is almost a crime! They’re very tasty and make the perfect post-paddle snack!
Deep Cove Brewery
Not actually in Deep Cove, but not far away either, Deep Cove brewery is fairly new to the craft beer scene in Vancouver and has a great selection of beer.