A trip to Campbell River isn’t complete without getting out on the water and exploring the region’s 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 – the possibilities are virtually endless and easily accessible … with a little pre-planning of course!
1. Whale Watching
Cruise through the Discovery Islands and secluded inlets, backdropped by the Coastal Mountain Range. One of the most popular ways to get out on the water is on a whale and wildlife excursion. Your guide will look for orcas and humpback whales, plus Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoise, seals, sea lions, bald eagles and other water birds. Ride in comfort in a covered vessel or get a taste of adventure in a Zodiac. Whatever you choose, a day spent looking for animals on the water will be a day well spent!
2. Historic Boat Tours with The Museum at Campbell River
The entire BC coastline is 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 with a range of topics to choose from, such as the short-lived whaling station on Cortes, the history of Quadra Island or the stories of some of the remote inlets in desolation sound.
Exploring the coast this way provides 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 with Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours. Set off 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 stories of their people’s history and connection to the land and water, and treat guests to traditional songs and stories.
Upon reaching the blue-green waters of Bute Inlet, you’ll board a small Zodiac to travel up the Orford River, before continuing by foot through the Homalco people’s territory as they point out culturally modified trees and teach the basics of cedar weaving.
This tour is sure to be a trip highlight and leave you with a new appreciation and understanding of the Homalco people and their rich culture, and a deeper knowledge and connection to the natural world.
Getting out on the water and casting your lines is about as Campbell River as it gets.
Long renowned for excellent sport fishing, this is an experience that should be on your list whether you’re an experienced angler or a complete novice.
While freshwater opportunities abound in the Campbell River and Strathcona Region, for your first Campbell River fishing experience, we recommend heading out with a local guide. While cruising to the various fishing grounds, you’ll pass by islands, inlets, secret waterfalls and towering mountains, then relax in your stunning surroundings as you wait for the fish to bite.
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. As knowledgeable guides take you through the hidden channels of the estuary, keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles, herons, seals and other waterbirds.
Other Local Favourites: Paddle a Chain of Lakes – Sayward Canoe Route
Got your own gear? Grab your crew and embark on a multi-day freshwater excursion to the Sayward Canoe Route. Encompassing nine lakes and 47km of paddling and portaging, this is truly an incredible undertaking!
Those who choose to take on the challenge are treated to beautiful landscapes and secluded marine-accessible campsites. This trip is an unforgettable experience that you’ll remember for years to come.
(Note that water levels fluctuate seasonally, so during summer, be prepared to work out those muscles and portage lots!)
With all these options and more there’s no wrong way to experience the waters around Campbell River.
Plan your summer adventures at campbellriver.travel
Share how you get out on the water this summer with us on Instagram and Twitter by using #DiscoverCampbellRiver.