Join Island Joy Rides on a guided tour of the Campbell River Estuary, on the lookout for bald eagles, herons, seals and other waterbirds. Tyler Cave photo / courtesy Destination Think

Join Island Joy Rides on a guided tour of the Campbell River Estuary, on the lookout for bald eagles, herons, seals and other waterbirds. Tyler Cave photo / courtesy Destination Think

5 ways to get out on the water in Campbell River

A trip to Campbell River isn’t complete without getting out on the water and exploring the picturesque coastline. Cruise through the Discovery Passage in search of whales and other wildlife, explore the glacier-coloured green-blue waters of Bute Inlet, experience a historic boat cruise and learn about the working history of the Discovery Islands or chill riverside with a leisurely kayak through the calm waters of the Campbell River estuary.

When it comes to exploring the local waterways, the possibilities are endless and easily accessible – with a little pre-planning of course!

From whale watching and fishing to kayaking and mountain activities, you’re never far from outdoor adventure on the north Island! Michael Hack photo / courtesy Destination Think

From whale watching and fishing to kayaking and mountain activities, you’re never far from outdoor adventure on the north Island! Michael Hack photo / courtesy Destination Think

  1. Whale & Wildlife Watching – One of the most popular ways to get out on the water is on a whale and wildlife excursion. Cruising through the Discovery Islands and secluded inlets, backdropped by the Coastal Mountain Range, your guide will be looking for orcas and humpback whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoise, seals, sea lions, bald eagles and many more species. Ride in comfort in a covered vessel or get a taste of adventure in a Zodiac – either way, your day on the water will be time well-spent.

    Craving more adventure? Discovery Passage waters are notorious for their ocean rapids and fast-moving currents. Timed with the tides, Campbell River Whale Watching takes guests on their Zodiac to experience the power of these rapids – a must for every adrenaline junky.

  2. Historic boat tours with the Museum at Campbell River – BC’s coastlines are rich in history and the waters and islands surrounding Campbell River are no exception. Join the Museum at Campbell River for a four-hour tour focusing on the unique histories of our beautiful coastline. With a range of themes to choose from, topics include the short-lived whaling station on Cortes, the history of Quadra Island or stories from some of Desolation Sound’s remote inlets. You’ll gain a new appreciation for those who lived and currently live in remote coastal outposts along our coast. (Not to mention an appreciation for your wifi connection and local coffee shop!)
  3. People, Water, Land Tour with Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours – Experience culture, land and connection, beginning your journey from Campbell River on a scenic boat ride to Bute Inlet, the traditional territories of the Homalco people. Along the way, knowledgeable Homalco guides share traditional songs and stories of their people’s history and connection to the land and water. Upon reaching the blue-green waters of Bute Inlet, you’ll board a small Zodiac to travel the Orford River, as your guides point out different native plants and their uses. You’ll then explore by foot through the Homalco people’s territory as learning about culturally modified trees and the basics of cedar weaving. Sure to be a highlight of your trip, you’ll leave with a new appreciation and understanding of the Homalco people’s rich culture and a deeper connection to the natural world.

  4. Fishing – Casting your lines is about as Campbell River as it gets. Long renowned for excellent sport fishing, this is a must-do experience whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice. While freshwater opportunities abound in the Campbell River and Strathcona Region, for your first experience, an ocean excursion with a local guide. While cruising to the various fishing grounds, you’ll pass by islands, inlets, secret waterfalls and towering mountains. Drop your lines and wait for the fish to bite, then relax and soak in your stunning surroundings. At the end of the day, you’ll be glad to have experienced fishing in the Campbell River region

    Casting your lines is about as Campbell River as it gets. Tyler Cave photo / courtesy Destination Think

    Casting your lines is about as Campbell River as it gets. Tyler Cave photo / courtesy Destination Think

  5. Kayaking on the Campbell River and Estuary – Take a guided tour of the Campbell River Estuary with Island Joy Rides. With tours suitable for all skill levels, knowledgeable guides will take you through the hidden channels of the estuary, on the lookout for bald eagles, herons, seals and other waterbirds. Got your own gear? Embark on a multi-day freshwater excursion to the Sayward Canoe Route – encompassing nine lakes and 47km of paddling and portaging. An unforgettable experience, those taking on the challenge are rewarded with beautiful landscapes and secluded marine-accessible campsites. (Note that water levels fluctuate seasonally, so during the summer, be prepared to work those muscles and portage lots!)

With all these options – and more! – there’s no wrong way to experience the waterways of Campbell River.

Plan your trip here and find plenty more inspiration in Facebook and Instagram!

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