Adventures on Water
What better way to explore the city and its natural side than via the water with this two-day itinerary bringing together adventure and culinary delights.
Start your Vancouver adventure by taking to the seas and visiting with some of the region’s most spectacular inhabitants, the whales! Companies including Prince of Whales, Wild Whales Vancouver, Vancouver Whale Watch, Steveston Seabreeze Adventures all offer tours whisking you out onto the waters of the Gulf of Georgia where you might see Orcas, humpback whales, minke whales, grey whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions, eagles, and a variety of seabirds. Tours range from intimate groups on Zodiac-style vessels that are big on adventure, to larger boats with modern comforts. No matter what you choose, you’ll learn a lot about these powerful creatures.
After you get back to downtown, enjoy a late lunch before taking some time to relax. Consider a spa treatment at one of Vancouver’s five-star hotels, especially one that uses locally-sourced ingredients such as west coast seaweed, sea salt or glacial mud. Or take a stroll down Robson Street, Vancouver’s best known shopping district. Along with famous designer brands and quirky independent boutiques, you’ll also find the people-watching is excellent. Grab a coffee at one of the many cafes and take in some of the atmosphere.
Tonight, make your way down to Coal Harbour, next to Stanley Park, where you’ll board Harbour Cruises’ sunset dinner cruise. You’ll take a leisurely tour past Vancouver’s Canada Place, North Shore Mountains and Stanley Park while you enjoy live music and a West Coast-themed buffet. You’ll have the perfect vantage point to watch the sun slowly disappear into the Pacific.
Kick off your day with a Sea Vancouver tour of the city! These are fast, fun Zodiac tours of the waters around the downtown peninsula. Your adrenaline will start pumping as your skipper takes you over to the North Shore, under the Lions Gate Bridge, around Stanley Park and down False Creek. After your tour, bring things down to a more relaxed pace and head over to Granville Island. Located right on the water, opposite downtown, Granville Island was once industrial land, but in the 1970s, it was reclaimed and turned into a hub for arts and culture. Stroll the streets, peeking into artisan studios, galleries, craft stores and workshops as you pick up some souvenirs.
For lunch, head into one of the neighbourhood’s most popular attractions, the Granville Island Public Market. Along with market vendors offering incredible local fruit, vegetables, seafood and other ingredients, you’ll find a casual food court with excellent lunch options. Pick up something here and head outside for an al fresco meal with a view of the water. Then it’s time to get active again! Visit Ecomarine Paddlesports Centres’ location on Granville Island for a different type of water adventure. They offer tours, lessons and straight rentals of both kayaks and paddleboards, and can accommodate everyone from absolute beginners to advanced experts.
Afterwards, take one of False Creek Ferries’ adorable little boats from Granville Island back over to the downtown peninsula, then take a beautiful walk around the seawall and over to picturesque English Bay Beach. Tonight you’re going to experience the perfect Vancouver adventure, combining sea and air, and nature and culture, with Harbour Air’s Taste of the West Coast package. You’ll take a scenic drive north of the city to Horseshoe Bay, then don a waterproof survival suit for your Sewell’s Marina Sea Safari. Aboard one of their high-speed, Zodiac-style vessels, you’ll cruise the deep fjords of Howe Sound, spotting the area’s abundant wildlife including sea birds, eagles, otters, deer, and lots of seals. Once you’re back on dry land, experience some of Vancouver’s best seafood with a three-course feast at The Boathouse Restaurant, with a view of both ocean and mountains. Your night finishes in dramatic fashion with a 20-minute floatplane “flightseeing” tour taking you back to downtown Vancouver.
❐ Many whale watching companies offer shuttles from downtown Vancouver.
❐ Whale Watching season operates from May through October.
❐ Harbour Air’s “Taste of the West Coast” tour can be done as the “Fly ‘n Dine Horseshoe Bay” tour, which excludes the Sewell’s Marina Sea Safari.