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 our 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 our waterways the possibilities are endless and easily accessible. (with a little pre-planning of course) So grab your best buds and read on for our top ways to get out on the water!  


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 be looking for orcas and humpback whales in addition to Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dahls 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 boat. 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 coastlines of BC are rich in history. 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. Tours focus on a range of topics for you to choose from, such as detailing 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 will give you a new appreciation for those who lived and currently live in remote coastal outposts along our coast. (And 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. Start your journey by setting 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. Guests are treated to traditional songs and stories throughout the trip. Once you reach the blue-green waters of Bute Inlet, you will climb aboard a small zodiac boat to travel up the Orford River, as your guides point out different native plants and their uses. Once the boat docks you carry on 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 highlight of your trip and leave you with a new appreciation and understanding of not only the Homalco people and their rich culture but also 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 on the ocean with a local guide. While cruising to the various fishing grounds, you’ll pass by islands, inlets, secret waterfalls and towering mountains. Cast your lines and wait for the fish to bite as you sit back and relax in your stunning surroundings. Whether the day is a success catch-wise or not, you’ll be glad to have experienced fishing in the Campbell River region. 

5.Kayaking on the Campbell River and Estuary

Take a guided tour of the Campbell River Estuary with Island Joy Rides. Tours are suitable for all skill levels, knowledgeable guides will 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 9 lakes and 47km of paddling and portaging this is truly an incredible undertaking! For those who choose to take on the challenge, they are treated to beautiful landscapes and secluded marine accessible campsites. This trip is an unforgettable experience, that you will remember fondly for years to come. 

**Water levels fluctuate seasonally, during the summer months be prepared to work out those muscles and portage lots! 


Ocean Rapids Tour 

The waters in the Discovery Passage are notorious for their 7 ocean rapids and fast-moving currents. Timed with the tides, Campbell River Whale Watching takes guests out on their zodiac boats to experience the power of these rapids. This experience is sure to get the blood pumping and is a must for any self-proclaimed adrenaline junkies.


With all these options and more there’s no wrong way to experience the waterways of Campbell River. Share how you get out on the water this summer with us on Instagram and Twitter by using #DiscoverCampbellRiver.

Learn More about Marine Tour Operators

Marine and Wildlife Tours

Marine and Wildlife Tours