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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 & Wildlife Discovery Cruise

2. Campbell River: Whale & Wildlife Discovery Cruise

Spend a day on the water and discover local wildlife on this Campbell River cruise. Visit the Salish Sea, Discovery Passage, and Johnstone Strait. With an abundance of wildlife in the area, you are likely to encounter many animals both on land and at sea. Choose from two vessel options for your cruise. A covered vessel with indoor seating offers a good option for families. Alternatively, a zodiac-style vessel offers a good option for those who like being outdoors and want to feel the wind through their hair. Hop aboard your chosen vessel, then sit back and relax. Keep an eye out for humpback whales, killer whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, bears, Steller sea lions, and more. Learn from an on-board naturalist and listen to the sounds of whales through hydrophones. While it might not be possible to guarantee you’ll see all of these animals on your tour, this tour offers a great opportunity to see everything that is possible.

Vancouver Island: Full-Day Grizzly Bear Tour at Toba Inlet

3. Vancouver Island: Full-Day Grizzly Bear Tour at Toba Inlet

Cruise along Discovery Passage to the magnificent Toba Inlet and admire the breathtaking panoramic views surrounding you. Disembark the boat and spend 3 hours spotting grizzly bears along the Campbell River, accompanied by the Klahoose First Nation. Marvel at up-close views of bears frolicking and feeding in the river, along with an array of other wildlife both on land and in the water. Learn interesting facts about the environment from a certified naturalist and captain. Hear the stories and legacy of the Klahoose Nation and their connection to the land from your local guide as you explore the wilderness. Stop to admire the famous waterfalls of the spectacular Toba Inlet.

Campbell River: 6-Hour Whale Watching Boat Tour

4. Campbell River: 6-Hour Whale Watching Boat Tour

Discover an abundance of wildlife in the waters of the Salish Sea, Discovery Passage, and Johnstone Strait. Encounter Humpback Whales, Killer Whales, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Bears, Steller Sea Lions, and so much more, on a 6-hour Whale Watching Tour, onboard either a Zodiac or Covered vessel with onboard washrooms. Begin at the Floathouse with a brief explanation of the wildlife you may encounter, a map of the general area of travel, and safety information. Travel to see a variety of wildlife in a well maintained, 12 passenger vessel. Enjoy a nature interpretation by your certified Naturalist Guide and Captain. Eat an onshore lunch of freshly made wraps, snacks of homemade baked goods and granola bars, and beverages such as coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and water. Don't forget to bring your camera and binoculars (tripods not recommended). Take in the calm and beautiful scenery while traveling through the narrow passages between the Discovery Islands and into Johnstone Strait, rather than into the open Pacific Ocean. Hear the vocalizations of Orca or Humpback Whales through the onboard Hydrophones (underwater microphones) if those opportunities arise (Orca and Humpback Whales do not communicate all day).

Campbell River: Whale Watching Cruise with Lunch

5. 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.

Campbell River: Bute Inlet Grizzly-Watching Tour & Boat Ride

6. Campbell River: Bute Inlet Grizzly-Watching Tour & Boat Ride

Journey to the Orford River Valley aboard a high-speed vessel on a scenic boat ride. Admire the spectacular scenery on the way from Campbell River to Bute Inlet, renowned as one of the best places to observe grizzly bears in the wild. Observe this majestic species on a guided tour. Hop on a speedboat and travel among the Discovery Islands while searching for marine wildlife and whales along the way. Once you arrive at Bute Inlet, meet your Homalco First Nation guides and transfer to the van. Receive a short orientation and head over to the bear viewing platforms. From your perch in the viewing towers, situated above the salmon spawning channel, you will have an unobstructed view of grizzly bears as they roam the river banks. Make sure to have your camera ready, as the specially designed viewing platforms provide ideal photo opportunities. Stay energized and warm throughout your experience with a light snack, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and lunch.

Vancouver Island: Coastal Adventure from Brown's Bay

7. 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: Whale Watching Boat Tour with Lunch

8. 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: Waterfall and Wildlife Guided Boat Tour

9. 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: Discovery Passage Wildlife Boat Tour

10. 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.

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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!

I really enjoyed the tour. A good 9 hours and our two very friendly guides reported in great detail about the grizzly bears. Overall we were very lucky to see 4 bears and well hidden 2 very young bears. On the way we could see a whale cow with calf and sea lions. Our guide Jim was very attentive there too and gave us time to observe everything in peace. Lunch is more of a snack, but perfectly adequate. Conclusion: Cheap is definitely different, but if you compare performance and costs objectively, it's definitely okay and the experience itself is just indescribable; an unforgettable event. I'm very happy to have experienced it, would definitely do it again and highly recommend it!!

It was just a dream! A tour worth every penny. We saw 9 grizzlies, humpback whales, orcas and sea lions. Simply impressive to face the animals in their natural environment. Our guides Jim and Can were really great, they told us a lot about the way of life of the animals. Big thanks to the team for this unforgettable experience! Ralph and Tina

Our guide, Nova, was so informative and did a fabulous job of educating the whale watching 'crew'. The experience was absolutely fun, fun, fun! We were able to watch and learn about sea lions and approximately 15 hump-back whales. It was time well spent and our foursome gives it a two thumbs up!

Awesome tour and great guide (Tyler). We were able to observe grizzlies on several lookout towers. On the way to and from the inlet we could see humpback whales and sea lions.