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Image may be subject to copyright
Image may be subject to copyright
Image may be subject to copyright
Image may be subject to copyright


A Kayaker's Paradise

Kayaking Areas

The west coast of Vancouver Island is a kayaker's paradise. Choose from easy to challenging tours. Enjoy sheltered inlets, island chains, and secluded beaches. Watch gray whales as they migrate along the coast or humpback whales as they travel through the area. The possibilities are endless. Barkley Sound and Clayoquot Sound are two popular destinations in the Tofino and Ucluelet area.

Barkley Sound is just south of Ucleulet. It is the entrance to the Alberni Inlet, and, as such, is teeming with marine life. Salmon, halibut, seals, sea lions, sea otters, and whales are just some of the species that populate the sound. Kayaking conditions can range from sheltered inland conditions to the fully exposed sea kayaking conditions of the Pacific Ocean.

The Broken Group Islands are part of Barkley Sound. Made up of over 100 islands, islets, and outcrops, they are scattered in throughout the center of the sound. The largest forested islands include Effingham, Turret, Nettle, Dodd, and Gilbraltar islands. Camping is allowed on Dodd Island and Gilbraltar Island. Because the Broken Group Islands lie in sheltered waters, they are extremely popular with boaters and paddlers. However, the vast area covered by the islands makes it relatively easy to explore remote, desolate areas. Note that the Broken Group Islands are within the Pacific Rim National Park. If you decide to camp in the area, you'll need to choose from one of the eight designated camping areas.

Clayoquot Sound contains Meares Island, Flores Island, and Vargas Island, along with numerous other islands and islets. In general, Clayoquot Sound is protected, but windy days can be challenging when traveling between islands in the sound. Clayoquot Sound is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including wolves, cougars, and black bears. Keep this in mind if you decide to hike in the area.

Tour Guides

In the Tofino and Ucluelet area, you can choose from a number of excellent kayaking tours guides and kayak rental companies. A few a listed here.

Majestic Ocean Kayaking is Ucluelet's original kayak company. The offer a variety of kayaking adventure tours in Ucluelet, Barkley Sound, and the Broken Group Islands, as well as the Clayoquot Sound area. Tours include all kayaking and camping equipment.
  • Phone: 250-726-2868
  • Email:

Paddle West Kayaking was founded in 2001. Their guides will provide you with a wilderness kayaking experience that is fun and educational. Explore Barkley Sound and Clayoquot Sound, as well as other beautiful and exciting areas along Vancouver Island's west coast.
  • Phone: 250-726-7444
  • Email:

Tofino Sea Kayaking has been in business since 1988. They offer a variety of tours suitable for all skill levels, from beginner to experience paddlers. Their Hidden Places tour is especially popular. You'll get the opportunity to explore lesser know routes and inlets in the Clayoquot Sound. No experience necessary for this tour.
  • Phone: 800-863-4664


Zodiac Whale Watching Tour

An unforgettable experience, perfectly pitched. Our skipper and guide, Dylan, had a very welcoming and easy-going manner coupled with amazing local and wildlife knowledge. You knew everything he did and said was to be totally trusted. The fast boat ride out to see the whales was so exciting! We had such a lot of time to spot and follow a Humpback whale which was incredible, with Dylan making sure we knew exactly where to look. We also saw a sea otter, sea lions, porpoises and bald eagles. A tour not to be missed!

-TheCavs, Trip Advisor

Breathtaking tour that we won't easily forget

We were lucky to be the last guests on Al & Toddy's sailing home for this season. The weather conditions were perfect and we felt very much at home during this very personal and entertaining boat trip. A trip on which we spotted grey whales, bears, eagles, sea lions and a sea otter. Therewith completing 'the big 5' of this part of our planet. We are very happy to have lived this day the way we did and surely recommend it to anyone who is keen for a well serviced, well catered, knowledgeable and personal tour on the waters of Vancouver Island.

-NJeroen B, Trip Advisor


The whale watching tour was done by highly qualified personal and took an hour longer than formerly announced as the crew did everything to show as much wildlife as possible: orcas, sealion, sea otters, baldheaded eagles and even a huge blackbear were to be found on our tour. Great job, experience of a lifetime.

-Dorothee E, Trip Advisor

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