top of page

Best Places to Paddleboard in Victoria

Paddleboarding in Victoria offers an unparalleled blend of scenic beauty, tranquil waters, and a warm community of enthusiasts, making it a top destination for paddleboarders of all skill levels.

Whether you're a seasoned pro seeking the thrill of challenging currents or a beginner looking to gently glide across calm waters, Victoria's diverse waterways promise an unforgettable experience. From the hidden gems along the coast to the serene settings of inland lakes, this guide will introduce you to the best spots in Victoria for paddleboarding adventures.

We hope this Places to Paddleboard in Victoria Guide helps you explore the crystal-clear waters, stunning landscapes, and peaceful retreats of British Columbia's capital region.

We love maps. Here's the link to our Google Earth version of the routes below.

Disclaimer: Google Earth or any terrain based map app is not a replacement for marine charts for coastal navigation.

Best Places to Paddleboard in Victoria for Beginners

Thetis Lake & Upper Thetis Lake

  • Level of difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: 1- 5 km

  • Paddle access points: Main Beach Thetis Lake Provincial Park

  • Paddling hazards: low risk

Thetis Lake offers an idyllic setting for beginners looking to venture into the world of paddleboarding. Nestled just a short drive from Victoria, this tranquil lake is encircled by lush forests, providing a picturesque backdrop and sheltered waters ideal for those new to the sport.

The calm surface of the lake makes for an easy and enjoyable paddleboarding experience, allowing novices to focus on mastering their balance and strokes without the challenge of waves. With ample parking, picnic areas, walking trails, and sandy beaches for relaxation, Thetis Lake is not just a paddleboarding spot but a destination for a day of outdoor fun.

Langford Lake

  • Level of difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: 3.5 km

  • Paddle access points: Langford Lake Beach Park, Paisley Park & Lake Point Park

  • Paddling hazards: low risk

Langford Lake, another gem within close proximity to Victoria, stands out as a prime location for beginner paddleboarders seeking both tranquility and accessibility. The lake's calm waters are perfect for those taking their first paddle strokes, offering a safe and inviting environment to practice and grow confident on the board. Surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, paddlers can enjoy views of verdant forests and wildlife, enhancing the overall experience.

Additionally, Langford Lake features convenient amenities such as parking, public access points, and nearby cafes, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely day on the water. For beginners looking for serene waters coupled with the convenience of urban accessibility, Langford Lake is a top choice.

Prospect Lake

  • Level of difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: 4km

  • Paddle access points: Whitehead Park, Estelline Park

  • Paddling hazards: low risk

For those wanting to venture slightly further from the city, Prospect Lake is a hidden gem that offers both serenity and opportunities for adventure. Located just 25 minutes from Victoria, this quiet lake features crystal-clear waters ideal for paddleboarding as well as nearby hiking trails for an added challenge and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

While beginners can enjoy the tranquility of paddling on the lake's smooth surface and with minimal boat traffic it is a peaceful atmosphere. Prospect Lake is a top spot for beginners looking to hone their skills while connecting with nature.

Florence Lake

  • Level of difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: 1km

  • Paddle access points: Florence Lake Road Park

  • Paddling hazards: low risk

Florence Lake is a true oasis for those starting their paddleboarding journey. Located within a peaceful residential area, this small but beautiful lake offers an intimate setting that's perfect for beginners. Its sheltered waters are remarkably calm, providing an ideal environment for mastering the basics of paddleboarding. The lake is surrounded by scenic views of tree-lined shores and a gentle landscape, allowing paddlers to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature.

Unlike larger lakes, Florence Lake's manageable size ensures that new paddlers can feel safe and confident as they explore the waters at their own pace. With easy access and a welcoming community of local paddlers, Florence Lake is a charming destination for anyone looking to experience the joy of paddleboarding amidst serene natural beauty.

Elk Lake & Beaver Lake Regional Park

  • Level of difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: 1km at Beaver Lake or 1-5 km at Elk Lake

  • Paddle access points: Hamsterly Beach at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park & Beaver Beach

  • Paddling hazards: low risk, but winds from Haro Straight and Cordova Bay can blow over this lake

Elk Lake and Beaver Lake, interconnected and nestled within the expansive Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park, offer a versatile paddleboarding experience suited for beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike. While both lakes boast easy access to calm waters, they differ slightly in ambiance and landscape, providing paddleboarders with varied sceneries and challenges. Elk Lake, the larger of the two, attracts those seeking longer, more exploratory routes. Its open waters can occasionally present a mild challenge, especially when winds from the Haro Strait and Cordova Bay sweep across the surface, offering a good test of balance and skill without overwhelming novices.

In contrast, Beaver Lake presents a more enclosed environment, with its smaller size and densely forested perimeter creating a serene and sheltered paddling experience. Its calm waters are ideal for beginners or those looking for a peaceful paddle amidst nature. The parks around both lakes are well-equipped with amenities, including picnic areas, beaches, and trails, making it easy to spend an entire day exploring the lakes at a leisurely pace. Whether you’re in search of a tranquil solo paddle, a fun group outing, or a full day of water-based adventure, Elk and Beaver Lakes provide an idyllic setting for all paddleboarding activities.

Durrance Lake

  • Level of difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: ~ 1km

  • Paddle access points: Durrance Lake Park with a dock

  • Paddling hazards: low risk

Durrance Lake serves as an exquisite destination for paddleboarders seeking a serene and picturesque paddling location away from the hustle of the city yet within easy reach. Tucked away in the folds of nature, this hidden jewel is surrounded by lush forests and a rugged landscape that commands attention. The lake's surface mirrors the sky, offering crystal-clear waters that are as inviting for beginners as they are for more experienced paddleboarders.

With its easy access point at Durrance Lake Park, complete with a convenient dock, entering and exiting the water is a breeze. The calmness of the lake coupled with the scenic beauty makes it an ideal spot for those looking to practice yoga on the paddleboard or simply to glide over the water, absorbing the tranquility of the surroundings. The lake's perimeter is relatively short, making it possible for paddlers to enjoy a relaxed session on the water without venturing too far from shore. Durrance Lake's charm lies in its peacefulness and natural setting, providing a perfect escape for those wishing to connect with nature.

Glen Lake

  • Level of difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: ~ 1km

  • Paddle access points: Glen Lake South Beach or Glen Lake Park

  • Paddling hazards: low risk

Glen Lake, nestled in the heart of Victoria, BC, offers an idyllic paddling experience for those new to the sport or seeking a leisurely day on the water. With its level of difficulty rated as easy, this tranquil lake spans approximately 0.75km, perfectly sized for a relaxed paddleboarding or kayaking session. Access to the water is straightforward, with entry points available at Glen Lake South Beach or Glen Lake Park, catering to convenience and accessibility for all paddlers.

Being a low-risk paddling destination, it is particularly appealing to beginners or those paddling with family. The gentle environment allows for unhurried exploration of the lake's natural beauty, without the worry of strong currents or significant boat traffic.

Glen Lake's welcoming atmosphere is further enhanced by its local community and the amenities available at the nearby park areas, making it a fantastic spot for a picnic or a casual day out in addition to water sports. Whether you are looking to improve your paddleboarding skills, enjoy a serene kayak trip, or simply float and relax amid nature, Glen Lake offers a peaceful retreat into the great outdoors, embodying the joy of easy paddling in Victoria, BC.

Best Places to Paddleboard in Victoria for Intermediate/ Advanced Paddlers

Equaimalt Lagoon

  • Level of difficulty: Easy

  • Distance: ~ 3km

  • Paddle access points: Matilda Park Put In and Colwood Waterfront Put In

  • Paddling hazards: medium risk

Equaimalt Lagoon stands out as a captivating destination for paddleboarders with its pristine waters bordered by open sea vistas. The lagoon's level of difficulty is marked as easy, making it accessible to paddlers at various skill levels, but its unique location offers an experience akin to intermediate or advanced paddleboarding scenarios due to the potential for varied wind conditions and currents. Spanning approximately 3km, it provides ample space for a paddleboarding adventure.

With paddle access points at Matilda Park and Colwood Waterfront, entry to the lagoon is straightforward, inviting paddlers to explore its serene waters against the stunning backdrop of the Olympic Mountains in the distance. These access points also facilitate an easy transition for those wishing to experience the open sea conditions, adding a layer of adventure to the paddleboarding outing. The lagoon's medium risk level is attributed to the changing environmental conditions, which can introduce a sense of challenge and excitement, especially for those looking to test their skills against the unpredictability of wind and waves.

What makes Equaimalt Lagoon especially appealing for paddleboarding enthusiasts is the blend of tranquility within the lagoon's sheltered waters and the thrill of the adjacent sea's dynamic conditions. This dual experience, coupled with the breathtaking scenery and wildlife sightings, including birds and marine life, ensures a memorable paddleboarding experience. Whether looking for a peaceful paddle in calm waters or an adventurous excursion on the edge of the open sea, Equaimalt Lagoon offers an extraordinary setting that appeals to both the spirit of adventure and the quest for peace amidst nature's beauty.

Richards Island - Thetis Cove

  • Level of difficulty: Moderate

  • Distance: ~ 3km (round trip)

  • Paddle access points: Beaumont Park or Stewart Beach

  • Paddling hazards: moderate risk due to currents

Paddleboarding around Richards Island, located near Thetis Cove, offers an invigorating challenge for those looking to elevate their paddleboarding experience. This 3km round trip begins either at Beaumont Park or Stewart Beach, leading adventurers around the scenic vicinity of Richards Island. The voyage is classified as moderate difficulty, catering to paddleboarders with a bit of experience under their belt, willing to venture a little further and test their skills against the currents.

The waters around Richards Island present moderate risks, with currents that demand a careful approach and a good understanding of paddleboarding techniques. However, the rewards are unparalleled; the surrounding waters are teeming with marine life and the views of the island from the water are breathtaking. Paddlers can expect to find secluded nooks along the shore, perfect for a brief rest or a picnic.

Richards Island offers a unique paddleboarding adventure near Victoria, combining the thrill of exploration with the serene beauty of Thetis Cove. This route promises an unforgettable experience, blending physical challenge with the tranquil pleasure of being close to nature. Whether you're looking to improve your paddleboarding skills or simply in search of a new waterscape to explore, paddling around Richards Island provides an excellent opportunity.

Cole Island

  • Level of difficulty: Moderate

  • Distance: ~ 1-2 km loop if circumnavigating Cole Island

  • Paddle access points: Tovey Shoreline Access or Dukrill Shoreline Access

  • Paddling hazards: Medium risk, mainly currents and winds

Cole Island National Historic Site presents a unique paddleboarding adventure for those interested in combining their love for SUP with a dash of history. The paddle out to Cole Island offers a moderate level of difficulty, ideal for paddleboarders with some experience looking for a bit more than a leisurely paddle. The loop around the island, approximately 1-2 km depending on the route taken, give you the chance to explore the island's historic naval structures up close from the water.

When planning a SUP outing to Cole Island, it's important to consider the currents and wind conditions, which can vary and significantly affect the paddling experience. The waters around Cole Island are subject to winds that can pick up quickly due to the open areas around Esquimalt Harbour. Similarly, the currents around the island can be strong due to the nearby stream and shallow bay and require a mindful approach and proper planning for a safe paddleboarding experience.

Paddling to and around Cole Island not only invites exploration of its historical artifacts but also offers an enriching experience as you navigate through the tranquil yet challenging waters.

Gorge Waterway

  • Level of difficulty: Easy- moderate

  • Distance: 3 km one-way or 6 km return

  • Paddle access points: Craigflower-Kosapsom Park, Gorge Waterway Park, Curtis Point and Banfield Park Dock

  • Paddling hazards: low risk however Reversing Falls must be paddle at slack tide to avoid strong currents

Paddleboarders can delight in a 3 km stretch of serene waters heading one way, or opt for a 6 km return trip, providing ample opportunity to absorb the scenic beauty along the waterway. The Gorge Waterway is known for its easy to moderate paddling conditions, making it an ideal choice for both beginners wanting to gain confidence on the board and intermediate paddlers seeking a tranquil paddle.

It's important to note that while the waterway is largely low-risk, paddlers should plan their trip around the Reversing Falls near the Tillicum Bridge to avoid strong currents during non-slack tides. This natural phenomenon can present a unique challenge, but when timed right, you can complete the full route. Gorge Waterway Park, with its easy access and beautiful surroundings, serves as the perfect gateway to explore Victoria BC from the water, offering paddlers an experience that is both peaceful and invigorating.

Gonzales Bay

  • Level of difficulty: Moderate-Challenging

  • Distance: 1.5 km or less

  • Paddle access points: Gonzales Park

  • Paddling hazards: Medium risk, mainly tides, currents and winds

Stand up paddling in Gonzales Bay offers an enticing blend of scenic views and challenging conditions for adventurous paddleboarders. Nestled within Victoria BC, this picturesque beach is known for its relatively moderate to challenging paddleboarding due to the varying tides, currents, and winds that characterize the area. With a distance of 1.5 km or less, it provides a manageable yet stimulating outing for those looking to push their limits or enjoy an invigorating session on the water.

Access to the bay is conveniently provided through Gonzales Park, making it an accessible spot for locals and visitors alike. Here, paddleboarders can expect to encounter a dynamic environment where conditions can change, offering both a test of skill and an opportunity for growth. Despite the potential challenges, the rewards are significant, with stunning views of the coastline and the chance to immerse oneself in the natural beauty and serenity of the surrounding area.

Gonzales Bay Beach is not only a destination for physical activity but also a spot where one can connect with the marine environment, often leading to encounters with local wildlife and moments of peaceful reflection. Whether you're navigating the currents or simply floating and taking in the scenery, stand up paddling here promises an unforgettable adventure on the waters of Victoria BC.

Oak Bay via Willow Beach

  • Level of difficulty: Easy- Moderate

  • Distance: 0.8-1.6 km linear route

  • Paddle access points: Willows Beach, Cavendish Beach Access, or Bowker Beach Access

  • Paddling hazards: Medium risk, mainly tides, currents and winds

Exploring Oak Bay via Willow Beach provides paddleboarders with a quintessentially picturesque setting, characterized by its stunning coastal landscapes, and abundant marine life that calls the Juan de Fuca Stright home. This route, with a manageable distance of 0.8-1.6 km, is suited for those seeking both an enjoyable and moderately challenging paddling experience. With easy put in's from Willows Beach, Cavendish Beach Access, or Bowker Beach Access, paddlers can test their skills against the varying conditions of tides, currents, and winds. Being mindful of the tidal changes and wind patterns is crucial for ensuring a safe and enjoyable outing.

Paddling through Oak Bay offers an incredibly scenic voyage, with opportunities to glide past elegant waterfront homes, explore hidden coves, and potentially spot local wildlife such as seals, otters, whales and various seabirds.

Cadboro Bay

  • Level of difficulty: Easy- Moderate

  • Distance: 1-4km

  • Paddle access points: Hibbens Beach Access, Cadboro-Gyro Beach Access, Killarney Beach Access, Flower Island Beach Access, or Loon Bay Park

  • Paddling hazards: Medium risk, mainly tides, currents and winds

Cadboro Bay in Victoria BC offers stand-up paddleboarders a delightful blend of accessible waters and challenging elements, making it an ideal spot for both novice and seasoned paddlers. With distances ranging from 1 to 4 km, it's perfect for short, leisurely sessions or longer excursions for those looking to challenge themselves. The bay's entry points, including Hibbens Beach Access, Cadboro-Gyro Beach Access, and others, provide various options for starting your paddleboarding adventure.

Once on the water, paddlers can expect a moderately challenging experience due to the changing tides, currents, and winds that characterize Cadboro Bay. However, these conditions also add to the excitement and variety of each paddleboarding trip, demanding a degree of skill and adaptability. The scenic backdrop of the bay is nothing short of breathtaking, with views of the San Juan Islands in the distance and the occasional sighting of marine wildlife, such as seals and seabirds, adding to the allure of the location.

Where to Rent Paddleboards in Victoria

For those looking to explore the waters of Victoria BC but do not own a paddleboard, there are several reputable rental companies available in the city. Here's a list of establishments where you can rent paddleboards, complete with their websites for easy access:

  • Ocean River Sports: Offers a wide variety of rental options, including stand-up paddleboards. Their knowledgeable staff can also provide guidance on the best spots to paddle in Victoria.

  • Pacific Paddle Boarding: Specializes in paddleboard rentals and lessons, catering to both beginners and experienced paddlers. They pride themselves on their high-quality equipment and friendly service.

  • Victoria Waterfront Tours: While known for their waterfront tours, they also offer paddleboard rentals for those who wish to explore at their own pace.

  • Boardworks Canada: Offers a comprehensive selection of paddleboards for rent, ranging from beginner boards to those suited for advanced paddlers. Their experts can also offer tips on navigating Victoria's waters.

  • South Island SUP: Options for rentals with a variety of boards.

  • Palli Palli: This newer addition to Victoria's paddleboarding scene offers both paddleboard and e-bike rentals, making it a great option for those looking to enjoy the area's natural beauty from the water or land. Their website provides all the necessary information for a hassle-free rental experience.

Where will your SUP adventure take you this summer?

Share your adventures with us in the comments below.

32 views0 comments


bottom of page