Vargas island Family Kayaking Tours
3 day, 2 night tour: $1120 +tax / person (Includes daily $15/person Ahousaht Stewardship Fee)
Paddle West Kayaking has been planning multi-day family kayaking tours in Tofino for families for over a decade, and we never tire of listening to the stories after a successful trip. Let us do the planning so you can make the most of your family adventure!
I have a family of my own with an 8 and 11-year-old and every year we plan a family sea kayak trips right here in Clayoquot Sound — why would we go anywhere else? The best of Vancouver Island is right here! We often go out with another family to share the experience together.
• Minimum age 5 years old
• Minimum 4 guests to book a private tour
Planning your Bucket-List Family Kayaking Tour
Private family kayaking tours are the perfect way to get your family together in the outdoors and create lasting memories. Perhaps you want to plan a digital detox and leave the phones at home. Or, maybe you are looking to connect before your older children head off to school. The activities to keep families and children entertained are endless on and off the water. Experience world class sea kayaking and exciting conditions and the most beautiful scenery Vancouver Island has to offer. Camp and live on the beach with your family while your guide takes you tide pooling, shares their knowledge and cooks you healthy family friendly meals to please everyone.
The Paddling on Family Kayaking Tours:
The Paddling can be customized to suit your experience level and age of your children. You need to come see for yourself the beauty and magic of paddling in Clayoquot Sound. This sea kayak trip is centered around Vargas Island, with many sandy beaches for camping. The East and North side of the Island offer more protection from the elements, while the west side experiences the swell of the Pacific Ocean. There is no set itinerary as Mother Nature leads the way for us on all of our tours. You will be paddling with a certified and experienced guide that will make safe and interesting route decisions for you on your trip and work with you to plan each day based on the conditions and the ambitions of your group.
great active family vacation
We were a kayaking novice family (kids age 11 and 14). Had an amazing 3 day tour tour around Vargas island. Grey whales, wolves, eagles, humpbacks, otters, tidal zone critters, old growth rainforest, isolated long west coast beaches, starry nights, phosphorescence in the crashing waves, etc… couldn’t ask for more. Lovely, informed guides, tasty food, super nice responsive owner, great safety awareness. We will have memories of vacationing actively with our kids that will last a lifetime. Strongly recommend, even for kayaking novices like us, and even for younger families. Great fun.
Sample 3-Day Itinerary from past Family kayaking tours…To get you excited:
Before the trip: After a day of enjoying the journey to Tofino you will stop in to our humble and joyful little kayak shack the night before your tour to meet one of our team members who can check you in and help you make any last-minute preparations and to give you your dry bags to pack your gear into. We will review the weather forecast, tides, swell and show you a map (nautical chart) of the area to start getting your senses excited, and explain what options the forecast dictates for your tour. We will set a time based on the tides to meet back up in the morning between 7:30am and 9:00am.
After a breakfast of your choosing from the many fine establishments in Tofino you will arrive to meet you guide. The kayaks will be mostly packed already with, food, group gear and water so that all you need to do is pack your gear into the kayak. The guide will ensure everyone is dressed well for the conditions and lead everyone through a pre-trip orientation.
Lucky you — it is a sunny day with a light ocean breeze to keep you cool. Because the children on this tour are younger, the guide decides to take you to a beach that is a little closer, with no waves and that you will set up and stay for two nights. This way you can take it easy, and have more time to explore and enjoy your paddle. On the way out of the harbour your guide will give you paddling tips to make the ride go smoothly with your child in the front. You can do it! After paddling from our dock and out of the Tofino harbour and crossing to Meares or Vargas Island, take a rest stop to stretch the legs and have a quick snack. There are numerous places for the guide to choose to take you to enjoy your first fresh meal on the beach. After lunch we will continue to paddle a little further to the chosen campsite.
After an easy 4-to-5-hour trip with stops along the way you paddle around a rugged headland to reveal a spectacular West Coast Beach that you will head in to and set up camp for the next two nights. Enjoy the sunset and life on the beach!
You wake up to sound of the lapping waves, the smells of fresh ocean air and coffee. Your guide is busy preparing you some west coast French toast with summer berries. As swell is low and the wind will stay down for the day your guide is taking you to see the West Coast of Vargas Island. It will be 4-5 hours of kayaking with stops on a white sand beach for lunch. While paddling along the shoreline and through kelp forests you witness Coho salmon jumping out of the water in pursuit of prey, and harbour porpoises surfacing just 100 m away from your kayak. As you near the next beach you spot a small raft of sea otters floating on their back in the middle of the channel!
Arriving at another expansive and wild white sandy beach, your guide does a short lesson on landing through small waves on the beach. You are free to enjoy the beach after helping the guide move the kayaks up and away from the rising tide. As lunch is prepared you pull out the frisbee from the kayaks and enjoy a game of catch with your family. Life is good.
After a relaxed lunch you get back in the kayaks to head out to leisurely explore some of the small outer island near to Vargas — was that a whale blow you just saw in the distance? After taking your time to admire, you start making your way back to your campsite, feeling comfort in knowing that when you arrive, camp is already set up and your guide will prepare you an appetizer and then another flavourful and fresh meal… smoked salmon on pasta with a fresh herb and lemon cream sauce, for instance. The night ends with marshmallows around the fire, the kids tucked in the tent, hopefully not too scared from the Sasquatch (Pook-mis) story from the guide. You are left to enjoy the starry sky around the campfire with your partner.
You wake up to the lapping waves and fresh air again, thinking “I can get used to this”. Because we decided to camp at the same beach both nights, we will return home to Tofino the way we came. However, it is a new day with new conditions, your paddling has improved, and the view is new as you head in the opposite direction. The last day is not just about getting home. There is still plenty to learn and explore — as you paddle along the rocks at low tide a rock plover is cheerfully searching for food amongst the colourful algae — you come to realize that there is life all around you from the sky to the treetops, along the rocks and down to the sea floor. Your guide will take you to another new and beautiful lunch stop to soak in a little more sun, sand and fresh food. As you ride the powerful tide back into the Tofino harbour, you will not believe how fast your three days on the water have gone by — and yet how long ago since you’ve been in town. You will remember this trip for the rest of your life!
Family kayak Camping on the Beach:
All of our campsites are on stunning sandy beaches. Your guide will teach you how to set up a West Coast beach campsite. We will teach you how to minimize our impact and how to respectfully visit the Hahoulthee of the Ahousaht First Nations. When we leave the beach all that will be left behind is your footprints in the sand. There is no better way to relax and get away from the busyness of daily life than enjoying the simplicity of beach life. Your guide will ensure you can make the most of your time, by cooking excellent meals for you, and sharing their extensive knowledge of the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy reading in the sun, beach combing, tide-pooling, or watching the wildlife from shore. If you like to exercise, go for a jog, stretch on the beach, or get everyone involved in a spirited soccer or frisbee match. After another delicious dinner by your guide, watch the sunset, and enjoy a campfire on the beach as the cool ocean air settles in. Later, settle in for a restful night as the sound of the ocean sends you off to sleep.
Food on Family kayaking Tours:
The food for your private family tour can be customized to suit most dietary requirements — and please even the pickiest kids. Food is important on camping trips — and we make sure to gather information pre-trip to ensure everyone is happy and well fed. We can pack lots of fresh ingredients on sea kayaking trips as the ocean water keeps everything nice and cool when it is packed in the kayak hatches! The menu is adaptable so that different ingredients and toppings can be added to suit personal preferences. Each person can personalize their meal to make it full of flavour and extravagance, or, keep it simple. All of or guests are blown away at how well you can eat while kayak camping!
Required Paddling Experience
Our multi-day tours require no previous paddling experience, but we suggest that you be familiar with camping in a wilderness setting. It is also recommended that you have the physical ability to sit in a kayak and paddle for four to six hours a day. The paddling is often not strenuous but depending on conditions more physical exertion can be required. The tour and the destination campsites will be determined by the group’s experience and abilities.
What to Bring
Paddle West Kayaking provides all the kayaking and safety gear required for the tour, your guide, wilderness camping fees and West Coast inspired meals.
You are responsible for providing your own camping set up which includes a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad, personal clothing and other personal items. If you do not have your own camping set up, Paddle West Kayaking rents such items for a reasonable extra cost.
Please see the Packing List for a detailed list of what to bring with you on your tour.