Canada turns 150 in 2017. What better way to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial than enjoying her natural beauty experiencing her seas, lakes, and rivers! Here are our top 10 insider tips on the best ways to explore the waters of Vancouver’s North Shore.
A guided boat tour is one of the best ways to get up close and personal with our local wildlife. At Sewell’s Marina in Horseshoe Bay you can take a ride on the wild side with a sea safari. Sewell’s experienced guides will regale you with stories and point out local wildlife while you cruise through the waves.
Kayaking Indian Arm offers a truly unique kayaking experience. Setting out from Deep Cove in the tranquil waters of Indian Arm, you can see eagles flying overhead as you paddle down the scenic fjord surrounded by mountains. There are many must-see destinations along Indian Arm including islands, waterfalls, gothic architecture, and secluded bays. Depending on your route your paddle can last anything from a half hour to a full day.
As close to the water as you can get without getting wet! The Seawalk in West Vancouver takes you along 1.7 kilometres of shoreline from the neighbourhood of Ambleside to Dundarave. The walk has scenic views of the inlet through to the mountains with Instagrammable glimpses of the Lions Gate Bridge, beaches, and passing ships.
If you are looking for a more immersive cultural experience, Takaya Tours, a cultural tourism business owned by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) of North Vancouver, offer guided kayak tours where guests paddle through the waters of the Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm while guides from the Coast Salish Nation sing songs, tell legends and point out ancient village sites.
5. Waterfront Dining
All you foodies can still enjoy the sights and sounds of the lapping waves without getting wet! Pier 7 restaurant, in the historic Shipyards of Lower Lonsdale, is famous not only for its fresh boat-to-table menu, but for sweeping 180-degree views over the water. As you eat fresh seafood dishes on their waterside patio you have one of the best restaurant views in North Vancouver of the bustling port, anchored tankers, Vancouver skyline, and Stanley Park.
6. Stand-up Paddle boarding
Stand-up paddle boarding has exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. The sport became popular as surf instructors and photographers looked to get a better vantage point then the surface of the water. For this reason, stand-up paddle boarding is a fun way to experience the unique natural surroundings of the North Shore. We would recommend heading to Deep Cove for beautiful views of Indian Arm while giving your core a great workout! For paddleboard rentals and lessons contact Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak Centre.
7. Lake Swimming
On a sunny day there’s nothing better than taking a dip in our cool glacial water lakes. Many of our trails play host to off-the-beaten track swimming holes for you to cool off in. Capilano Canyon’s locale by the Capilano River means it’s a treasure chest of swimming spots, but one of our favourites is Granny’s Cove. Another popular swimming location is Lynn Canyon’s Twin Falls. The falls offer the ideal place to stop for a picnic before sliding into the waters. Lynn Canyon is also easily accessible by public transport for those travelling without a car.
8. Bowen Island
Within reach, beyond compare Bowen Island is a quiet, forested island within arms reach of the North Shore. Only a enjoyable 20-minute ferry ride away from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, it makes for an idyllic day excursion during your trip to Vanouver’s North Shore. Known as “Vancouver’s Best Kept Secret” it offers a taste of the simple life, away from the stresses of the big city. For a small island it offers a big range of activities: shop for island-made gifts at Artisan Square, visit the world’s tiniest candy store, try your hand at axe throwing (a local’s favourite), have a game of golf at Bowen Island Golf Club, or stop for lunch at one of the Island’s many restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bakeries.
9. Ambleside Beach
Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver is widely known by locals as one of the nicest beaches in Vancouver. On a sunny day grab your bucket and spade and set up shop on the long sandy beach that has panoramic views of the Burrard Inlet, coasts, and mountains. The water is cool and clear, ready for some midday paddling. No need to leave four-legged family members behind either as there is a designated dog-friendly area!
10. Picnic on the Pier
The Shipyards in North Vancouver are one of the most historic and significant sites in the North Shore’s history. Right in the middle, you’ll find the Burrard Dry Dock Pier stretching out into the beautiful waters. The pier makes for a perfect picnic stop, being in close proximity to Lonsdale Quay Market where you can pick up all the fresh produce, baked goods, and international dishes you need to fill up your picnic basket. Tuck into your sandwiches on the pier as you take in 360-degree views of the North Shore and Vancouver skylines.