Best Places to Paddle board in Vancouver
There are so many beautiful lakes to visit for paddle boarding in Vancouver! Paddle boarding is one of the many outdoor hobbies that we have picked up since moving to here and it is so much fun but also so relaxing!
The best thing about paddle boarding is that you can do it all year-round because you don’t necessarily have to jump in the water. It may take a few tries, but soon after starting, you will start to feel more and more confident that you won’t fall in and get wet (something you definitely do not want to do in the middle of Winter). Both Dave and I were super wobbly on the board once we first started, but after a few times it became a lot less stressful.
If you are a beginner, I recommend starting out on a lake, rather than the oceanfront as the water will be much more calm, making the whole experience more relaxing.
In this guide, I have listed some of the best places around Vancouver to go paddle boarding if you have your own and also listed, are the best places in Vancouver to rent a paddleboard from.
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Where are the Best Paddle Boarding Spots in Vancouver
The below map gives you an overview of the best places to go paddle boarding in and around Vancouver. You can also hire paddleboards at the locations marked in red. At the blue marked locations, you will need to bring your own paddleboard. Each of these locations are talked about more further down in the guide.
Click here to open the map in Google Maps!
Safety First – Everything you should know about Safety Regulations before Paddle boarding in Vancouver
Depending on where you want to go paddle boarding in the world, there are different safety regulations and laws that you should make sure you are aware of beforehand. If you don’t follow the rules, you could be subject to a fine which will completely ruin your paddle boarding experience.
Parks Canada have a good guide on paddle boarding safety which provides you with a simplified overview of how to stay safe. For the official laws and regulations when paddle boarding, you can check out the Government of Canada website.
Wear a Life Jacket or PFD (Personal Floatation Device)
When paddle boarding in Canada, you are required by law to wear a life jacket or PDF (Personal Floatation Device).
We are from Australia where you aren’t required to wear any safety devices while paddle boarding so we were surprised to learn that this was the law here in Canada, however we soon realised that the reason for this is because the water is SO much colder here in Canada. A lifejacket is your best defence against cold water shock.
“A sudden fall into cold water can seriously affect breathing, nerves, and muscle strength”Government of Canada
For guidance on the best types of floatation devices, check out the Government of Canada website.
Other Water Safety Tips
Best Places to go Paddle Boarding around Vancouver – with your own Paddle Board
Having your own paddleboard opens up a much larger list of beautiful places to explore. It also provides you with a lot more flexibility because you are not restricted by rental opening or return times. This is a list of places where you will either need your own paddleboard, or hire one for a day or half day and transport it yourself.
Alouette Lake – Golden Ears Provincial Park
Alouette Lake is located in Golden Ears Provincial Park which is about a 1 hour drive from Vancouver in Maple Ridge. There is a boat rental place by the lake in the Summer months, however I don’t believe that they have paddleboards available so you will need to bring your own.
North Beach – Golden Ears Provincial Park
North Beach is also located in Golden Ears Provincial Park. You could actually paddle from the Alouette Lake foreshore where the picnic tables and parking lot are or you could parking in the North Beach parking lot and walk down the trail to North Beach. The walk to North Beach is about 2km return and pretty flat, but carrying a paddleboard (even an inflatable one) is quite a pain.
The water at North Beach is shallower than the lake and a really bright green and so so clear! It’s quite stunning to see.
Chilliwack Lake is around a 2 hour drive from Downtown Vancouver. Chilliwack Lake is absolutely stunning and an awesome place to take your own paddleboard. You could even camp there for the weekend at one of the campsites.
Spanish Banks is a beach in Vancouver with a view of the city. It is incredible there at sunset but you need to be prepared for the water to be choppy as it is the ocean. Last time we went paddle boarding there we only last about 10 minutes before giving up because it was really wild.
Porteau Cove is around a 40-50 minutes drive from Downtown Vancouver up the Sea to Sky Highway towards Whistler. It is a gorgeous little cove with a mountain backdrop where you can camp and paddle board! We love stopping here to watch the sunset on the way back from our weekend adventures in Squamish or Whistler.
Best Places to Rent Paddle Boards around Vancouver
If you don’t have your own paddleboard, don’t worry! There are plenty of places to rent paddleboards in Vancouver, many of which are conveniently located by a beautiful lake or oceanside.
Buntzen Lake in Anmore is a 1 hour drive from Downtown Vancouver and is actually a BC Hydro reservoir. Because of this, the rangers are pretty strict with rules such as no alcohol, no dogs allowed in the main picnic area (there is a designated dog park section) and no time out on the water without a PFD or life vest.
Even with all of the rules, Buntzen Lake is beautiful and one of our favourite places to paddle board. During the Summer you can rent kayaks and paddleboards from the Anmore Store & Recreation Ltd which is located just outside the area on your left as you drive into the park.
Another thing to note is that a day parking permit system was put into place in Summer 2022 and will continue in 2023 during the peak season. This just means that you need to book a parking spot online before you go.
Buntzen Lake has a great hike that you can do before or after your paddle boarding session called Diez Vistas which is definitely worth checking out!
Jericho Beach is a great spot for sunset paddles because the entire city lights up with the golden sunset light, making it an unforgettable evening adventure! If you decide to go for a paddle at Jericho Beach, make sure you have check the weather beforehand and be prepared for the water to be much more choppy compared to a lake.
On Jericho beach, you will find Jericho Beach Kayak Centre which is a kayak and paddleboard rental located right on the water however you do need to reserve ahead of time. The company also offers tours and lessons.
Windsure Adventure Watersports is another place where you can rent paddleboards on Jericho Beach at the Jericho Sailing Club. They also offer lessons.
Deer Lake Park
You can rent kayaks and paddleboards at Deer Lake Boat Rentals which is located in Burnaby at Deer Lake Park. Compared with Jericho Beach, Deer Lake is a much better option if you are a beginner at paddle boarding as the water will be calmer. During Winter, you need to reserve a board ahead of time.
Deep cove is located about a 30 minute drive from Downtown Vancouver. You will be paddling on the shores of Indian Arm which is a really beautiful area and you can rent paddleboards and other watercraft from the Deep Cove Kayak Centre. The company also offers guided sea kayak and SUP tours as well as lessons.
You can get awesome views of people paddle boarding down on the water from Quarry Rock which is a short hike.
Inflatable Paddleboards – Are they worth it?
We live in a tiny apartment with barely any storage and so, like many other people in the current world we live in, we simply couldn’t invest in a huge paddleboard that would need a large garage to be kept in. We also like to go on road trips a lot and it didn’t make sense for us to have to worry about a paddleboard being on the roof of our car and getting stolen.
Luckily, inflatable paddleboards have become more and more popular over the past couple of years and so we decided that this was the best option for our current lifestyle.
Our inflatable paddleboards are from Thurso Surf and they have been on loads of road trips and day trips with us. They come in bags with wheels which you can also use as a backpack so really great for throwing in the car to go on an adventure! You can also hike short distances with them. They are pretty heavy so you wouldn’t want to go too far, but you can still get to places a little more off the grid.
Other Amazing Places to Paddle Board in Canada
There are so many gorgeous lakes in Canada! Some of our favourite lakes are located in Canmore and Banff in the Canadian Rockies.
British Columbia is a great place for paddle boarding as there are so many beautiful lakes and ocean shorefronts to explore. It is one of our favourite outdoor activities and a great way to explore as an alternative to hiking. I also find it is a great way to relax and is an extremely calming activity.
You might also enjoy:
- 16 Beautiful Lakes to Paddle Board in Canmore and Banff
- How to Spend an Incredible 3 Days in Jasper National Park
- How to Spend 1 Day in Banff in Summer
- 7 Best Sunset Hikes in Vancouver
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