Things to do in Campbell River

Our most recommended things to do in Campbell River

Campbell River: Whales, Wildlife & Culture Tour

1. Campbell River: Whales, Wildlife & Culture Tour

Go in search of a variety of fascinating wildlife species which can be found off the coast of Vancouver Island, including humpback whales, orcas (killer whales), porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, otters, bald eagles, and a variety of marine birds. The tour vessel includes both indoor and outdoor seating options. Take the outdoor adventure seats that allow for wind-in-your-face exploring and wildlife watching. Inside the warm and protected cabin, find comfortable seats with large windows and a bathroom. As you explore the area, learn more about the rich history of the First Nations of Campbell River and the Discovery Islands. Learn about the tribes who have resided in the region for centuries including the Homalco, Klahoose, Tla’amin, K’ómoks, Wei Wai Kum, We Wai Kai, and more. The guides and skippers will share their expert knowledge of history, legends, stories, and culturally significant sites throughout the excursion.

Campbell River: Whale Watching Cruise with Lunch

2. Campbell River: Whale Watching Cruise with Lunch

Take a whale-watching cruise through Discovery Passage on a partially-covered and spacious boat on this tour from Campbell River. Have the chance to spot humpbacks, dolphins, and orcas in their natural environment. Enjoy lunch during a stop on the route. Board the ship at Brown’s Bay Marina in Campbell River and begin your whale watching adventure. Travel with a captain that is fortunate enough to be a part of a whale watching community in Campbell River, so they know where to look to increase your whale-spotting chances. Venture out further and explore some of the more pristine and remote areas of the coast. In the spring and fall, see black bears and grizzlies scavenging on the beach. Make a stop to go to shore and eat homemade sandwiches and snacks. Sip on coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. Return to your starting point at the end of your tour.

Vancouver Island: Coastal Adventure from Brown's Bay

3. Vancouver Island: Coastal Adventure from Brown's Bay

Discover magnificent natural scenery and wildlife on this guided tour by boat. Your coastal adventure will begin at the marina, just 19km north of Campbell River. From there, your captain will decide whether to head North through the spectacular Seymour Narrows and Okisollo Channel, or south around Quadra Island. Spot friendly harbour seals, shy harbour porpoises, and the mighty Bald Eagle from the comfort of the boat. If you're lucky, you will be greeted by larger creatures, such as humpbacks, orcas and pacific white-sided dolphins! The tour runs for approximately 3 hours, and will return back to the dock at Brown's Bay Marina. The Narrows Floating Restaurant is a great place to finish off your afternoon, for anyone who wants to sit and enjoy a bite to eat and a refreshing drink!

Campbell River: Discovery Passage Wildlife Boat Tour

4. Campbell River: Discovery Passage Wildlife Boat Tour

Journey through the islands of the Discovery Passage, making your way between Vancouver Island and the mainland, on this wildlife boat tour. See different sea and land animals like bears, whales, dolphins, or seals while hearing about the region's history and nature from your guide. Board your boat at the marina and set off into the Strait of Georgia, towards the Northern Gulf Islands, going between the islands of Quadra and Vancouver. Continue north until the passage widens into the Johnstone Strait. Enjoy live commentary on the wildlife and history of the region. On your way have the chance to encounter, orcas, minke whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, seals, black bears, cinnamon bears, and grizzly bears. Use the hydrophone to listen to the whales as you float along the water. Cap off your boat tour with a thrilling ocean rapids experience, including “Devils Hole” and the “Aaron Rapids,” also known as “The Drain,” before returning to Campbell River.

Campbell River: Waterfall and Wildlife Guided Boat Tour

5. Campbell River: Waterfall and Wildlife Guided Boat Tour

Visit different waterfalls and spot native wildlife as your cruise off the coast on a guided boat tour from Campbell River. Spot bears foraging for food on the beach after a long winter, keep an eye out for orcas and humpbacks, and marvel at breathtaking scenery as you explore. Head to the Brown's Bay Marina and board a custom-built vessel with bench-style seating and a heated cabin to help you stay warm. Then, set out to discover the natural wonders of this area from the water. Marvel at the springtime landscapes, with all the leaves beginning to turn green and the waterfalls roaring after the rainy season. Look forward to wildlife sightings, which are common this time of year. Catch a glimpse of a momma bear and her cubs wandering along a beach or see the orcas who frequent these waters in the springtime due to the annual herring spawn. Humpback whales also begin to make their return to their summer feeding grounds, meaning there's a good chance you may spot one of these gentle giants. Around halfway through your tour, make a land-based stop for lunch. Sit back and relax as you savor a fresh homemade lunch. This is also the perfect opportunity to use the restroom, as there isn't one aboard the boat. Then, hop back onto the boat and continue exploring before heading back to the marina where your tour began. 

Campbell River: Wildlife Tour by Covered Boat

6. Campbell River: Wildlife Tour by Covered Boat

Explore the Discovery Passage and avoid unexpected weather in a covered boat. See the wildlife and hear about the area's history as you cruise between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada. Meet at the marina and board your covered boat. Set sail into the Strait of Georgia, between Quadra Island and Vancouver Island. Continue north until the waterway widens into the Johnstone Strait. On your way, encounter orcas, minke whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, seals, black bears, cinnamon bears, and perhaps grizzly bears. Listen to the hydrophone for a chance to hear whales and learn from your specialist as they tell you about the local animal and sea species. Experience some of the world's most thrilling ocean rapids including “Devils Hole” and the “Aaron Rapids,” also known as “The Drain,” before returning to Campbell River.

Campbell River: Whale Watching Boat Tour with Lunch

7. Campbell River: Whale Watching Boat Tour with Lunch

Join a whale-watching cruise that takes you down the Discovery Passage and through its islands. Have the chance to see different whales and listen to their sounds with a hydrophone. Enjoy the company of your nature or biologist specialist and lunch on board. Step onto your boat at the marina and set out to sea to find whales. As you cruise down the passage, keep an eye out for humpback, gray, and minke whales. Use the hydrophone to hear whale sounds that happen underwater. During your cruise spot Pacific white-sided dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions in their natural environment. Listen to your specialist and learn about the local history and wildlife.  Enjoy an onboard lunch, drinks, and snacks before returning to Campbell River. Feel confident knowing whale sightings have a 99.9% success rate and that your boat is a Transport Canada Approved vessel with onboard washrooms.

Campbell River: Whale Watching Covered Boat Tour with Lunch

8. Campbell River: Whale Watching Covered Boat Tour with Lunch

Take a whale-watching cruise with lunch on a covered boat through the Discovery Passage and its islands. Learn about the different whales and wildlife that call this part of Canada home from your naturalist or biologist specialist. Board your boat at the marina and journey into the passage in search of whales. Have the opportunity to view humpback, gray, and minke whales, and listen to them with the help of a hydrophone. Spot Pacific white-sided dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions, in their natural environment. Enjoy an onboard lunch, drinks, and snacks while learning about the local history and wildlife. Return to Campbell River after a day of whale watching. During your cruise, feel confident knowing whale sightings have a 99.9% success rate and that your boat is a Transport Canada Approved vessel with onboard washrooms.

Vancouver Island: People, Water, and Land in Campbell River

9. Vancouver Island: People, Water, and Land in Campbell River

Immerse into a cultural experience on the Homalco traditional territory accompanied by a First Nations guide. Travel to Aupe through the Salish sea, and learn about Homalco peoples' history, traditions, language, and culture. Watch for wildlife and whales as you listen to the stories of your guide. Depart from the Coast Marina and venture into the Salish sea to enjoy an interpretive cultural journey in Aupe. Take half the day to participate in a hands-on experience of First Nations culture and learn about the Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) First Peoples and the wildlife that shares their home. Journey the land and search for marine mammals, birds, and other wildlife as you understand the meanings of the territory to the Homalco First Peoples. Take the time to listen, as your guide shares stories and histories of the area before exploring the most recent home of the Homalco people. Walk their traditional territory and discover an interpretive walk around the village, exploring the history of Aupe and the people that call it home. Allow the village site to come alive while you hear about the culture, traditions, and Homalco ways of life. As you return back to Campbell River, there will be even more opportunities to spot marine wildlife while the scenery provides inspiring vistas that give space to reflect on your insightful adventure.

Other Sightseeing Options in Campbell River

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What people are saying about Campbell River

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 12 reviews

Ron, our skipper, and Janet, our guide, did an amazing job on our People, Water, and Land Campbell River Tour. We started the morning meeting up at the tour office and gift store right on the dock at the marina. Coffee was available and we enjoyed getting to know our fellow tour passengers. Soon, Janet came in and led us to the boat. On board, Ron gave us a thorough safety briefing and let us know what to expect aboard. We got underway right on time, leaving Campbell River and heading north around Quadra Island. We soon had our first sighting, a pod of white sided dolphins off in the distance. Later we would encounter harbor seals, orcas, bald eagles, and humpback whales. Off the boat at Church House beach, both Ron and Janet took us around the old Homalco village. Their moving narrative helped us understand the history of the place as well as what life was like for First Nation people living on a remote Northwest Island. Thank you again for such a wonderful tour!

We just went on this amazing tour with Janet and Rob as our guides. Our boat was perfect as it had an indoor and outdoor seating, so you could be outside when you saw wildlife and keeping warm when the boat was just going from one place to another. We saw plenty of wildlife to include: white-sided dolphins, harbor seals, orcas, and humpback whales. Amazing! The people and cultural part of the tour was just as interesting. We were taken to Aupe or Schoolhouse where over 250 people of the Holmalco people once lived. We saw photos of the town before it was abandoned. We hiked through the area seeing some of the buildings since taken over by nature, listening to stories of what life was like during those times. Some were very good times and some were not so good. I would highly recommend anyone visiting Vancouver Island to include this tour in your itinerary. We left with a much better understanding of 1st Nations History and some great wildlife viewings.

Thank you for this once in a life time experience! The youth group we took could not stop talking about the whales and the cool stories/ info that was given. Thank you for being so accommodating and Fun and knowledge! I will highly recommend this tour to anyone!

Great experience. Amazing Captain and naturalist (Mari). We saw LIOTS of wildlife and whales. We highly recommend supporting this local native business

The guides were knowledgeable and great. They showed us what was advertised. It was a fantastic excursion where memories were made.