Families don’t have to venture far into the Pacific or spend a whole day (and a whole lotta cash) seeing nature up close on a Vancouver Island west coast kayaking tour. When we joined Majestic Ocean Kayaking on their half-day harbor tour, we hadn’t even pushed off from the boat dock before Calvin spotted a massive sea star glowing purple and pink under the shallow water. “What, that little thing?” our guide, Jeremy, joked, and soon we saw why: intertidal nature was all around us, including dozens more sea stars of even more impressive size.
Once we’d set forth into Ucluelet B.C.‘s scenic harbor, Jeremy pointed out a harbor seal and a bald eagle within minutes (it may have been within seconds…my mind was too busy spinning to be sure). Throughout our next 2 1/2 hours on the water, we saw numerous other marine animals and birds, and learned much about the intertidal zone area. We paddled up close to the shore of several tiny islands, explored the muscles and clams clinging to the surface of pier pilings, and gaped at more than one shipwrecked vessel (lying abandoned in the low tide).
The half-day harbor tour was the perfect length for our kids, and even though the day was chilly, we stayed dry and warm in our neoprene kayaking skirts, booties, and shirts (all supplied by Majestic along with PFDs). We stopped once for a snack and water break, and Jeremy kept the kids interested throughout with conversational tidbits. We paused to check out a huge eagle’s nest, play with another harbor seal, and learn about local points of interest.
If your family is ready for something more daring, Majestic also offers full day tours of the Broken Group Islands, which is recommended for kids 12 and older (but which Jeremy assured me even Toby, age 7, could do if we so desired). I’m tempted to agree (it’s definitely on our list for next visit) but without having experienced the full-day option, I’m not sure my school-aged kids were quite ready for a full day on the open ocean. The benefit of the harbor tour is that the water is protected (no waves!) and you’re always close to shore.
Date last visited:
Distance from the interstate:
About 10 minutes from BC 4 (the premiere east-west highway on Vancouver Island.
At the time of our visit, Majestic’s harbor tour was $67 Canadian per person, which I’ve found to be right on par with similar rafting and kayaking experiences of the same length and difficulty. Their full-day options start at $145 per person, and they do offer multi-day expeditions as well.
Majestic is located at 1167 Helen St., which is at the end of Marine Road (and at the end of the peninsula) in Ucluelet. If you’re in the ocean, you’ve gone too far. If you’re staying in Ucluelet, you’re only minutes away, no matter where you are. If you’re staying in Tofino, plan on a 30 minute drive.
As I disclose whenever applicable, my family and I experienced Majestic’s harbor tour at no expense. This compensation came with no expectation of a positive review (but does enable me to keep my readers informed of great outdoor travel opportunities such as this one).