Go with the flow on B.C.’s magnificent inland waterways
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By Lisa Monforton
We could easily write a hefty book about all the ways to get out on the water around British Columbia. But, we’re not going to attempt that. However, we will try to inspire you to get out of the city and find some secret waterfalls and hidden coves, beaches (yes, even for dogs!) and swimming holes.
Vancouverites already have an entire ocean on their doorstep, but sometimes a refreshing dip in a saltless body of water does the soul good.
Here are a few of our favourite places for a splashing good time.
When you're biking the KVR, you're never far from the lake.
Okanagan wine, bike and lake time
Whenever we head to the Okanagan, we have a hard time deciding how to spend our days. Should we check out a few new vineyards and cideries, bike the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) trail, or head directly to the beach? We always try to fit it all in, because, well, that’s just the way we roll. (One side-note during Covid-19 is that many wineries request that you make a reservation for a tasting.)
Afternoon temperatures can go as high as 40C, so we start early in the day stocking up on our favourite beverages, having an early picnic lunch along the KVR. By then we are ready for a cool down in Lake Okanagan.
Pets make a great companion to bring with you on your adventures.
We could head downtown to the beach, but it’s often a busy spot on a scorching summer day. So we’ve found the perfect spot that allows our four-legged doggies to cool down while we get in a little SUP-ing at Kalamoir Beach. Ever see a dog smile? It's the best.
But wherever you travel along Okanagan Highway you can just pull off the road and easily find some water sports. Half the fun is just letting the road take you to the next beach.
Start trip planning and follow along on our adventures
Take a dip in water on the Sunshine Coast.
Cool down Sunshine Coast
We like to call this the two-ferry advantage because you are truly getting off the beaten path when you have the time to hop that extra ferry from Earl’s Cove to your jumping-off point at Saltery Bay on the northern Sunshine Coast.
Magical old-growth forests meld with massive lakes and burbling creeks that by mid-summer are the perfect temperature for cooling down. One of our favourites when we’re camping is at Homesite Creek Provincial Recreation area. Just a few steps from your campsite, lay a couple of hidden, clear swimming holes, surrounded by towering Douglas Firs and ferns that dance in the afternoon breeze. (Don’t forget your water shoes for the most relaxing swim.) This is forest bathing at its best.
Read this ZenSeekers story: Sail away for a fishing day on the Sunshine Coast.
There's nothing more relaxing than an afternoon on the lake.
Fresh water on island time
Vancouver Island’s landscape is so diverse: mountains, old growth forests, caves, tree-rimmed lakes and rivers and waterfalls. It would take a lifetime to discover it all.
Your first adventure is just getting there with the always relaxing ferry ride, with a very good chance of spotting breaching humpback or orca whales. By the time you reach the island, you'll be ready for water-side adventures at inland lakes like one of our favourites, Lake Cowichan. Our idea of a perfect summer day, is heading out just before the sun is ready to set to bask in the glow of the island's awesomeness.
We'd be remiss if we didn't highlight two of our favourite oceanside places on the island.
- For a completely unique ocean-side Indigenous adventure, you can take a tour of the ancient Kiixin Village. Read about it here.
- And, if you've never been to the beautiful oceanside town of Tofino, read this story about all the ways you can unplug and relax there.
- Read this story about chasing waterfalls on Vancouver Island.