British Columbia ?

Is on my bucket list. I see myself sitting beside one of those lakes in a cabin or lodge drinking coffee in the early morning looking at the mountains.

Any suggestions on places to look to begin this quest? My wife is coming,so camping is out.

Vancouver Island
We just visited the island and Victoria (the BC capital city on the island) in early September. I had been to Vancouver city and area the same time 4 years earlier and liked it (great time of year to visit), but I LOVED Victoria and the parts of the island we had time to see this trip. Cottages and very nice apartment rentals are the way to go there. It’s amazing what you can find for around $100 a night – a few places even come with kayaks!

We had hoped to make it up to Campbell River and had looked into a lovely cabin on Puget Sound there, planning to do day trips into Strathcona Provincial Park. Here’s the link.

Victoria is the most civilized and pleasant city I’ve ever visited in North America. Natural History Museum is terrific and it’s a nice city to walk around with unique shops and a variety of great restaurants. Beacon Hill park at the southeast end of downtown has floral gardens, ponds, fountains, wildlife, a petting zoo and trails that go all the way to the Sound. We didn’t make it to Butchart Gardens but heard they are wonderful. You can rent bikes and ride the Galloping Goose Trail west along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. While in the city we stayed at the Arbutus Inn 2 miles north on Douglas Street – very handy, clean and reasonably priced.

You can take the car ferry across Puget Sound through the San Juan Islands (highly recommended) to Anacortes and drive up to Vancouver city. I found Vancouver to be too crowded and hectic for my tastes, but a drive northeast to Deep Cove harbor on Indian Arm inlet is a great place for a kayaking day trip with top notch sea kayaks and gear to rent right at the marina. Or drive up Howe Sound to the west and then north towards Whistler, site of the 2010 winter olympics.

But, honestly, I could spend a month on Vancouver Island and never be bored.

If you plan on paddling while here check out the trip report section on That should give you a good idea of whats out there for destinations.

The Broughtons
Consider the Broughtons. Water taxi across Queen Charlotte Strait. Nice accommodations. Great scenery. Good folks.

Or maybe God’s Pocket out of Port Hardy?


kayaking in Victoria
The Victoria waterfront is really cool and nicely kept, with pubs and little cafes along it. Some even rent kayaks so that you can explore the sheltered inlet harbor, an outing I would highly recommend. (We had planned to do so while there but my breaking my arm the second day of our vacation nixed that.)

I think the hardest part of planning a vacation at a cottage farther north on the island would be to choose just one of the tempting locations.

for a lake and a cabin
Check out areas around Penticton,Skaha lake and the other lakes in the area.

Some friends rent a place up there every summer and always have a good time.

For saltwater and a cabin, go to the sunshine coast north of Vancouver.

From your description of sitting at a cabin, places like God’s Pocket to the north and most of west coast of Vancouver island are not what your are looking for.

Just spent 5 days in BC
I just spent 5 days paddling from the Discovery Islands Lodge and I am already thinking about a trip next year. Paddling to suit most tastes, flat water to tide race wave surfing. Surge Narrows is a 15 minute paddle, the Okisollo wave is 6 miles but you if you get the tide for the ride home if you don’t linger too long at the wave. Calm flat water too if that’s what you are into.

It takes some getting there but it is worth it.

Discovery Islands Lodge - Quadra Island

Thanks everyone! Great suggestions.

Thanks from me too! I’m going in 2013.
Very helpful information! String, thanks for asking.


Its just gorgeous
along the Stewart Cassiar Highway that runs from Kitmat to the Yukon line.

There are more bears than people. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit there this summer.

Been a Decade Ago

– Last Updated: Oct-11-12 1:13 AM EST –

But we thoroughly enjoyed whitewater rafting on the Elaho and Squamish Rivers. We stayed in Vancouver and had a shuttle van take us up into the mountains. A couple trips were no more than renting a car for a few days.

And as for Vancouver, it's the only big city I've ever enjoyed. We stayed for a couple days before and after a trip to Alaska. Stanley Park is great, views everywhere, lots of different cultures and any kind of cuisine you could name. Also, we walked a lot in the city without problems and only got a cab a few times (to the airport and back and once when we got lost).

Go up to Telegraph Cove …
on Vancover Island, and take a paddle out in Johnstone Straight with the Orcas.

You can rent kayaks and do it on your own, or take a guided trip.

It’s an experience you’ll remember the rest of your life as you paddle with a pod of them.


Ocean better than lakes
As a local I say forget the lakes and enjoy the ocean and rugged coast in BC.

Broken Island Group is a great paddling location. There’s a lodge there - Sechart Lodge, and a boat that will take you there - Lady Rose. It ha all levels of paddling, lots of sea life, bioluminessence, sea caves and arch.

Tofino is another place to check out with lots of options for places to stay (reserve in advance) and lots of paddling options.

Sooke Harbour House near Victoria is supposedly nice, but not cheap.

Lots of options for places to stay and to paddle in the Gulf Islands too, although they feel much tamer in many ways than the outer coast.

Bowron Lakes
Bowron Lakes is a 118 km lake circuit in the mountains in interior BC. At the start point is a comfortable lodge,, and you can head out on day trips or you could leave you wife and go for one overnight to Una Lake on the west side of the circuit. It is really beautiful paddling, and once you leave the first lake (Bowron), no power boats are allowed.