Victoria is a one-of-a-kind place on the Pacific Coast of Canada. Surrounded by water and full of adventure, this city is sandwiched between the tranquil Salish Sea and the mighty Vancouver rainforests. Yes, you may have already guessed it – this means there are some pretty amazing places to go with a paddle board!
With Regional Parks in every direction and the coast on your doorstep, you cannot go wrong with finding somewhere to paddle and have an adventure. It combines the best of land and sea, giving something to everyone.
So if you are wondering where you can go paddle boarding in Victoria, here are the top 10 places to check out. With unbelievable views and dreamy conditions, it truly is a gem of Vancouver!
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Kicking off with one of the most visited Parks in British Columbia, Thetis Lake Regional Park is an awesome place to head out on a paddle board. There is over 40 km of trails surrounding picturesque lakes, offering panoramic views and challenging hikes through dense green forestry.
Head to the main car park on the south side of the Park to have easy access to Thetis Lake beach. This sand is ideal to launch your SUP from and is a much-loved swim spot for locals from Victoria. It is only a 30-minute drive out of the city! Quality paddle boards are available to rent from nearby. Check out Palli Palli Paddle if you do not have your own paddle-boarding gear yet!
The Sooke River flows through the heart of this Regional Park. There are several tranquil swimming holes along the banks that are great for taking a refreshing dip or heading out with a paddle board. Sooke Park is also dog friendly, so you can bring your four-legged friends along for a day out.
This is an extremely chilled-out place to go stand-up paddle boarding in Victoria. If you are new to the sport or want a super tranquil float, this is one of the most chilled rivers in the Victoria area and definitely the place to go.
Sandy beaches, an abundance of trails, and a breathtaking lake to paddle, Mateson Lake Regional Park is a perfect place to explore with a SUP in Victoria. Inflatable boards are hugely popular here. You can easily carry your SUP equipment down to the lakeshore, practice your skills on calm waters, and gain all the paddling confidence you need.
There are fishing opportunities at Matheson Lake. So if you find yourself wanting to add to the fun and cast a line from your SUP, head over to Matheson for a spot of SUP fishing.
The Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park is open to just about every outdoor activity. Swimmers, water-skiers, fishers, windsurfers, and paddlers all can enjoy the water. Hikers, horse riders, and cyclists can enjoy the trails. There are several sandy beaches that make launching your SUP super easy and give you a good place to relax post-paddle.
Beaver Beach is at the southern end of the lake. This is the perfect place for beginners to head out on a paddle board or book a quick lesson to get to grips with the skills. For the more experienced paddle boarder, you can enjoy a tour around the various offshore islands.
Eagle Beach is to the north of Elk Lake. Paddling here is dreamy and secluded. On the shore, you can relax under Pacific willow trees and just take in what nature has to offer in British Columbia.
Victoria’s Inner Harbour is one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. Rich in history and full in culture, exploring this part of Downtown Victoria by paddle board is an experience of a lifetime. A paddle on the Inner Harbour is gentle and suitable for all levels.
Join one of the many guided tours and be delighted by the sights. Be cautious as you navigate around the sailboats and other vessels. But be sure to keep your eyes peeled for harbor seals and even whales breaching the surface of the water.
Paddle boarding the Gorge Waterway is a new perspective to Victoria. This is a 6 km stretch of the sea that flows from the Selkirk Trestle (Upper Victoria Harbour) to the head of Portage Inlet.
As you paddle the length, you will pass from industrial districts to pure nature with raw beauty. It is definitely worth charging up the waterproof camera for this paddle as you will pass interesting landmarks and beautiful bridges.
A firm favorite for locals of Victoria, Gonzales Beach is the perfect hangout spot. The calm waters gently lap on sandy shores. The vibe is chilled and friendly, giving you the best Vancouver Island experience.
As it is a bay, the waters are sheltered from harsh conditions. There is a rocky coastline around the beach that makes Gonzales Beach an interesting place to paddle board, giving you plenty to look at while out on the water.
Willows Beach is a popular SUP spot nestled in Oak Bay, both for locals and tourists. There is a diverse marine life in the Salish Sea, tucked away in hidden coves and rocky shorelines in the area.
There is camping nearby Willows Beach, so why not make it your weekend getaway spot out of the city! Just be cautious of strong winds whipping across the bay. Always be sure to check the forecast before heading out on your SUP.
Cadboro Bay is another part of Oak Bay and is the location of some of the most expensive and exclusive homes in Canada. This is a fairly sheltered spot making it great for beginners to give paddle boarding a go.
There are forestry trails around the coast that offer great vantage points across the ocean. Keep an eye out for the elusive “Cadborosaurus” – a fabled yet friendly sea monster, somewhat similar to the Loch Ness Monster.
Last but not least, we have Langford Lake. This is the largest lake in Victoria and offers an amazing experience to discovering the outdoors of BC. It is a great place to SUP from dawn to dusk because it is sheltered from high winds.
Swimming, boating, fishing, and of course paddle boarding, are all welcomed at Langford Lake. Make the most of the calm waters and give SUP yoga a try, if you are feeling balanced and up for the challenge!
Looking for a route to enjoy by SUP? Here are 4 of the best paddle excursions in Victoria to try, depending on your ability.
Launch from: Pacifica Paddle Sports in Brentwood Bay
Hazards: Can get busy
While you are here, you can also enjoy whale watching or visit the Butchart Gardens, and picnics. This is a great place to learn how to paddle board and find your balance.
Launch from: Millstream Launch
Distance: 3.2 km from the marina, around the island, and back
Hazards: cannot paddle south of the marina - restricted access, do not paddle too close to seals on docks, and do not land on a private island.
You can also hike in Goldstream Provincial Park, or join a snorkeling and diving trip for something different.
Launch from: Pacifica paddle sports in Brentwood bay
Distance: 12km from Brentwood Bay to Millstream
Hazards: This is a 12 km unsupported paddle so conditions may vary
While on this route, keep your eye peeled for seals and eagles up above.
Launch from: Pacifica Paddle Sports Swartz Bay
Hazards: Ferry Traffic, crossing main channels, must be familiar with marine traffic rules, and winds can pick up
From Piers Island, you can also book on to a Pat Bay Air Floatplane Tour and enjoy an overnight stay on Piers Island. This is bound to make your SUP trip unique and memorable!
The climate is temperate year-round in Victoria. However, the get the best conditions for paddle boarding, you want to be thinking about the summer months. Between May and September will give you the least amount of wind and the warmer days. Be warned though, the water will be chilly regardless of the air temperatures!
There are so many awesome SUP spots in Victoria for first-timers. However, Brentwood Bay is often considered the best place for beginners to learn how to paddle board. We always recommend booking a lesson to get the most out of your time on the water.
Regulations within British Columbia require you to wear a life jacket while paddle boarding in Victoria. This PFD also needs to have a sound signaling device, ie. a whistle, to meet standards.
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