- Cape Chignecto, Bay of Fundy, Canada
- 100 Wild Islands, Nova Scotia, Canada
- Broken Group Islands, BC, Canada
- Blackstone Bay, Alaska, USA
- Loreto Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Sea kayaking is a lovely activity to discover new places, get away from it all and immerse yourself in nature. Personally, I cannot think of anything that I would rather do (when the weather cooperates, that is). Sea kayaking is so soothing to the soul, and it gets me out into pure wilderness. There is something to be said for living out of your kayak – the simplicity, self-reliance and minimalism of it is a treasure.
In North America, we are spoilt with many great paddling destinations. From the dramatic desert-meets-the-ocean setting of the Sea of Cortez to paddling up to glaciers in Alaska and the world’s biggest tides on the Bay of Fundy, there are some awe-inspiring places to explore by kayak. Over the years, I have been drawn back over and over again to a handful of places in Canada, Mexico and the US that are still wild, off the beaten track and that offer spectacular scenery. There are some mindful, experienced and passionate sea kayaking outfitters in those places, who love what they do and who do an outstanding job. I have included those recommendations of people and businesses that I can vouch for.
1. Cape Chignecto, Bay of Fundy, Canada
To experience the largest tides on earth, head to the Bay of Fundy on Canada’s East Coast. It is a real bucket list item, and you will not be disappointed. 40 ft tides change the scenery completely within a little over 6 hrs. Add the majestic Cliffs of Fundy into the mix, which have been designated a UNESCO Global Geopark, and you get an unparalleled sea kayaking destination. Rugged colourful cliffs, sea stacks, arches to paddle through and ancient lava flows provide a breathtaking backdrop to unique paddling adventures. You can head out for the day and explore the Three Sisters sea stacks, or paddle around Cape Chignecto in three days. Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, Nova Scotia, is one of the Bay of Fundy’s wildest places and truly a hidden gem.
Recommended sea kayaking outfitter: NovaShores Adventures
2. 100 Wild Islands, Nova Scotia, Canada
Another little known East Coast gem are the 100 Wild Islands off of Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. Vast white sandy beaches, sheltered coves and dramatic headlands delight the intrepid paddler. This pristine wilderness is one of the last remaining intact ecosystems when it comes to island groups of its size in North America. The rich coastal rainforests, bogs and barrens, and over 250 kilometres of shoreline really make you feel like you’re getting away from it all. Yet this paradise of Turquoise waters, gorgeous sunrises and seal encounters is just off the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia – a perfect place to discover by kayak.
Recommended sea kayaking outfitter: Coastal Adventures
3. Broken Group Islands, BC, Canada
The rugged coast of western Vancouver Island is another sea kayaker’s dream. Rainforest-fringed islands lie sheltered from the open Pacific. Tall mountains form the backdrop of your paddling adventures while white sandy beaches invite you for a stop-over. The wildlife encounters here can be breathtaking. Kayak with humpbacks and grey whales, watch black bears dig for clams on the shore, and observe sea stars in all shades of the rainbow in the crystal clear waters of Barclay Sound.
Recommended sea kayaking outfitter: Majestic Ocean Kayaking
4. Blackstone Bay, Alaska, USA
Blackstone Bay is a breathtaking fjord located in the western reaches of magnificent Prince William Sound. In Alaska, striking natural beauty exists on a larger scale, and untamed Blackstone Bay is no exception. A total of seven majestic glaciers surround the Bay. Two of these glaciers still flow into the Bay and drop impressive chunks of ice into the water, so that you can paddle among magical blue icebergs. Waterfalls drop over big cliffs, bald eagles tend to their young in their nests, and meadows of wild flowers are just a short hike away from shore.
Recommended sea kayaking outfitter: Alaska Sea Kayakers
5. Loreto Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Where the rugged peaks of the Sierra la Giganta descent into the crystalline waters of the Sea of Cortez lies another extraordinarily scenic sea kayaking destination. The rugged islands of Loreto Bay National Marine Park offer the perfect blend of sea kayaking, hiking and snorkelling. Desert meets the ocean: Red-hued desert colours, large cacti, azure blue water and magical land formations give this area great aesthetic and photographic appeal. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and supports a spectacularly rich marine life. It offers exceptional opportunities for viewing dolphins, sea lions and whales. High-flying frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and squadrons of pelicans are your companions as you sea kayak past mobular rays and snorkel with brightly coloured fish. Each winter, endangered blue whales migrate to these waters. Fin, Humpback and Sei whales also frequent the area. The abundant wildlife, massive whales, sunny weather and crystalline waters make the Sea of Cortez one of the best winter sea kayaking destinations in North America.
Recommended sea kayaking outfitter: Sea Kayak Baja Mexico