• Two kayakers gaze up at Mount Denman in Homfray Channel near Toba Inlet

Desolation Sound Kayak Vacations

Vacation-style 4 & 5 day guided kayak tours designed to help you immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Desolation Sound

Join one of our multi-day Desolation Sound kayak vacations, where warm ocean waters, prolific marine wildlife & stunning mountain scenery create the perfect west coast ‘glamping’ vacation

About Our Multi-Day Kayak Vacations

Desolation Sound from Above

Introducing Desolation Sound

Touring by sea kayak through the warm Pacific waters of Desolation Sound is a unique, tropical-like experience in British Columbia. The unusually warm Pacific waters reach temperatures of 21 Celsius (74F), making activities such as swimming and snorkeling an enjoyable and unforgettable part of the adventure.

Colourful marine wildlife, schools of fish and larger marine mammals add to the excitement. Each summer, pods of transient killer whales and humpbacks ply Desolation’s rich waters in search of food. Clusters of small islands and islets provide idyllic areas to relax and the towering Coast Mountains create an awesome and dramatic backdrop, reminding visitors they are in British Columbia after all!

Desolation Sound’s mild and moist winters help feed the temperate rainforest vegetation and towering conifers. These cool and wet conditions give way to Desolation’s warm and dry summers, which typically reach pleasant temperatures between 20 and 30 Celsius (70-90F).

The unique combination of awesome mountain scenery along with the dry summers, lush rainforests and warm Pacific ocean temperatures makes Desolation Sound a truly unique destination in British Columbia and Canada, and the perfect destination for a sea kayaking vacation.

Guests laze and relax in the sun on one of our kayak vacations

What are Kayak Vacations?

Our Desolation Sound kayak vacations have evolved to provide experiences that fit this area’s relaxing and engaging atmosphere. Our kayaks are a fun and healthy way to explore and connect with nature – and to access idyllic sites for rest, relaxation, good food and swimming or snorkeling over colourful sea stars, spiny red sea urchins and spiky sea cucumbers.

The kayaking is certainly wonderful, and the varied shorelines provide interesting routes through nutrient rich waters teeming with marine life. Tours are not rushed – there are no deadlines and there is no bucket list to achieve, and time is taken throughout to enjoy and absorb each wonderful aspect of the experience.

Ultimately, to simply be in this awesome setting; to feel relaxed yet stimulated and to be away from busy lifestyles, is what touring with us is about.

Are the 4-Day & 5-Day Tours Different?

Both the 4-day and the 5-day vacation tours aim to explore Desolation Sound in a (relatively) relaxed way – with some work of course!

Our 4-day tours will typically make one base camp for 3 nights in Desolation Sound, and radiate in different directions from this site.

Our 5-day tours will typically make two base camps in different parts of the Desolation Sound area, aiming to spend 2 nights at each camp. This gives a nice balance between experiencing different and unique paddling and camping environments, but also providing some relief from the movement of camp every day.

Weather and group dynamic can always play a role in our guides’ decision making, and occasionally trip itinerary will deviate from the above as a result.

Guests ready to launch in the morning on one of our Desolation Sound kayak vacations

What are Kayak Vacations?

Vacation tours are rated at Level 2 on our Trip Difficulty Chart. Using the ‘five characteristics’ of our difficulty rating, here is an explanation of what guests should expect on these tours:

    • Kayaking in Desolation Sound and the Copeland Island area of the northern Strait of Georgia.
      • Moderately far from main population centres.
      • Varying levels of boat traffic.
      • Lengthy travel and potential delays for any emergency help and care (i.e. nearest hospital).
    • Guests with severe health and dietary requirements that potentially require immediate medical intervention (e.g. anaphylaxis, heart condition, seizure disorder, etc) should know that evacuations may be delayed.
    • As all associated costs arising from evacuations (including travel) are the responsibility of the evacuee, this is something that should be considered.
    • These tours typically paddle from 3-4 hours (or 4-10 nautical miles) a day, with breaks for lunch and snacks.
      • Guests need a willing and positive attitude to ‘dig in’ if the conditions require it.
    • Guests should have the fitness to maintain this amount of paddling over the full 4-5 days of the tour.
      • Consider selecting a double kayak to help mitigate this risk.
    • Planning, preparing and executing all meals and snacks for 12 people for a 4-5 day tour with no kitchen is certainly an impressive feat. As a result, we are simply unable to adjust our set-menu beyond some of the most common requirements.
Terrain Challenges
    • Landings can be difficult with uneven, rocky and slippery terrain, especially at low tide with exposed oysters and barnacles.
      • Guests require the ability to carry equipment and kayaks over this slippery intertidal terrain.
    • Tent camping on sites with minimal improvements.
      • Guests should expect anything from tenting on the forest floor or small undeveloped islands to tent pads in provincial park sites. Tent pads may be used depending on route, but should not be expected.
      • Guests should expect a mix of digging cat holes, basic outhouses, and thunder boxes when using the bathroom.
    • Tours may make one or two base camps, or may move camp more often, depending on weather, group dynamic, etc.
      • Guests are expected to help set up and take down camp with the guides.
    • These tours are suitable for those with a fair level of overall fitness.
    • While no kayaking experience is required, some paddling practice or targetted exercise in the lead up to the trip is highly encouraged.

Although we aim to follow a set itinerary, our guides may need to amend this due to weather, group dynamics, and overall fitness and paddling abilities of the group. Having a positive and flexible attitude is always important.

Kayaks in the water near Kinghorn Island on one of our Desolation Sound camping tours

Interesting Routes & Idyllic Island Camps

Perfect kayaking vacations involve more than just being in a nice environment. Route planning and campsites play a key role. The routes we choose are interesting, following diverse shorelines and providing unique viewscapes around each corner.

To ensure our guests receive the desired experience on each tour, our vacation tours often use privately licensed and exclusive Desolation Sound camping locations. Located within comfortable paddling distances from our main location on Okeover Inlet, each site provides unique paddling experiences and the means to explore Desolation’s wonderful features. Some of these sites have amenities such as permanent kitchen areas and an outhouse, while others are more natural and undeveloped. Guests should be prepared for all eventualities on these tours.

When in camp, captivating views, wave swept shorelines, glacially carved granite and west coast vegetation combine to create the perfect ambiance to chill and immerse in Desolation’s unique environment.

Interacting with marine wildlife is another essential element, and our guests are led over intertidal zones and amongst the key islands, islets and shores with the most abundant sea creatures for viewing.

Each of our tours is catered to our individual guests and their diverse interests and abilities, as well as the time of year and prevailing weather conditions to ensure everyone is comfortable and inspired.

A Pink Star found by a snorkeller on on of our Desolation Sound kayak tours

A Relaxing & Engaging Experience

Much of our best feedback comes from guests whose experience with us is both engaging and relaxing. To achieve this, tours are carefully designed to provide a comfortable balance of exploration by sea kayak along with activities such as swimming & snorkeling in the warm waters, exploring the idyllic islands we use for camps, and enjoying good food and relaxing in the wonderful atmosphere of our Desolation Sound camping tours.

To achieve this balance, our vacation-style kayak tours limit the amount of camp movement. With privately licensed, island-based camps, we are able to provide varying experiences that radiate in different directions, thus limiting the need to move camps in order to gain new perspectives. In fact, guests often enjoy our camp locations so much they often do not want to leave!

With that said, some camp movement is part of the adventure, and with a few different camp options, we often do use a couple of sites for guests to experience. At the end of the day – or the end of the tour – our guests certainly do enjoy the ease of the tour, the relaxed pace, and the engaging experiences.

Whether you’re watching the sun set over the ocean, participating in interesting conversations over a hearty meal, or learning about the unique natural environment you are paddling through, our vacation-style Desolation Sound kayak tours are designed to find the perfect balance between relaxation and adventure!

Meals on our Desolation Sound kayak vacations are created from fresh, local ingredients.

Great Food, Quality & Organisation

Serving healthy, creative meals (and fresh coffee) in an inspiring backcountry environment has been a cornerstone of our philosophy for two decades in Desolation Sound, and our feedback and testimonials over the years have been a testament to this passion!

Despite the difficulties sometimes associated with food and wilderness kayaking trips, we take immense pride in the food we serve on all our tours. Using local ingredients such as in season fruits and vegetables (often personally picked from the orchard and berry patches at our Okeover location) and locally sourced meats and seafood (sometimes harvested on the trip itself) our guides work incredibly hard to provide all our guests with tasty, creative, nutritious meals to fuel your adventure.

However there are certain dietary requirements that are very difficult to cater for in these remote camping environments. For some, a surcharge will apply to the tour price, while other very restrictive diets may unfortunately unable to be provided.

Comfort on water and on land go hand-in-hand, and our equipment – from the kayaks to the safety gear – are all of the highest quality. Our tents and Thermarest sleeping pads are of equally comfortable standards, ensuring that each of our guests is well rested (as well and well fed and well treated) for each day of exploration. Our vacation kayak tours are a true ‘glamping’ experience!

Should I Paddle a Single or a Double Kayak?

On all our vacation camping tours, at least 2 double kayaks will be used.

If a majority of guests indicate that they prefer single kayaks, the two doubles will still be brought on the trip and guests will take turns paddling a double kayak throughout the duration of the tour.

Double kayaks provide greater stability, and are very useful on longer days to help tired paddlers maintain pace with the group. If you are inexperienced or in any way unsure of which type of kayak to choose, we highly recommend selecting a double kayak for your camping tour.

Route Considerations

Our kayak vacations are focused on a relaxing yet active exploration of Desolation Sound. Groups usually paddle 1.5-2 hours at a time, before and after lunch. Distance covered may be anywhere between 4-10 nautical miles a day.

These tours will often make one or two base camps in the Desolation Sound area over the 4 or 5 day duration of the tour and aim to find the perfect balance between immersing in the beautiful environment and moving camps to explore different areas.

That said, with the right conditions and group dynamic, or due to weather considerations, some vacation-style tours may elect to move each day if the guide feels it will benefit the comfort and enjoyment of the group’s vacation.

Thank you for your interest in our multi-day Desolation Sound kayak tours!

To check the availability for certain dates and tours, follow these simple instructions below:

  1. Select a single date in the calendar within the date range that you are interested in.
  2. The individual tours taking place on that date will list themselves below the calendar with their price ranges and spots available.
  3. Click on surrounding dates in the calendar to view other tours taking place around the same timeframe.
  4. Click on the individual tour to be taken to the booking page.
  5. If you can’t find anything that quite fits your needs, please email us and we will be happy to attempt to sort something out for you personally.

Upon submission, we will review your reservation. In rare cases, we may need to suggest an alternate date, and will provide details at that time.

It is your responsibility to be familiar with our policies for multi-day tours before booking. Please read our complete rates and policies page. Our pre-trip planning page is also a great way to help you plan and prepare for your kayaking adventure.

All prices are in Canadian dollars. Taxes and gratuities additional. Click here for currency converter.

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Our Rates

After running tours into Desolation Sound since 1995, it is normal for our trips to book-up months in advance. Book now and start looking forward to your kayak vacation!

Prices in Canadian Dollars. Taxes and gratuities additional. Currency converter.

Taxes, rates and policy information.

Pre-Trip Information.

Vacation ToursPeakOff-PeakOff-Peak Group (4+)
4 Day Desolation Tour$1295$1175$1125
5 Day Desolation Tour$1495$1365$1295