Experience B.C. Marine Parks
With over 26,700 kilometres of shoreline, including 200+ provincial marine parks, there are endless opportunities to explore B.C.’s pristine and diverse coastline. BC Parks and Parks Canada help preserve and protect these wild coastal areas making them must-see attractions for both international and domestic boating enthusiasts.
To help protect these marine areas, we invite you to experience B.C.’s coastline and waters using BC Parks’ Marine Ethics. Using these established best practices and adopting a low-impact philosophy will help preserve and protect these biologically diverse and significant marine environments.
In order to help provide safe and ecologically friendly mooring opportunities, the BC Marine Parks Forever Society has partnered with BC Parks to pilot a stern tie project in a number of popular marine parks. This non-profit, volunteer run organization continues to be an important partner, advocating and promoting marine parks along the B.C. coast. A major aspect of this partnership is their support towards the acquisition of marine park lands, contributing over $1.2 million valued at over $16 million. You can help expand and enhance our B.C. marine park system by providing a donation to the BC Marine Parks Forever Society.
Find Your Next Marine Park Adventure
From breathtaking scenery to safe anchorage to hiking trails, see below for a list of some popular Marine Parks that are a must see for your next adventure. For a complete list of B.C.’s Provincial Marine Parks, visit BC Park Coastal Marine Parks.
Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park has more than 60 kilometres (40 miles) of shoreline, several islands, numerous small bays and snug coves. A number of stern ties have been installed at Prideaux Haven and Melanie Cove offering safe, ecologically friendly mooring opportunities for boaters. The warm waters of the park are ideal for swimming and scuba diving. The forested upland offers a shady refuge of trails, small lakes and designated campsites.
Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park, located in a well-protected Nanaimo Harbour with city amenities nearby such as food, fuel, vessel supplies and repairs. The park offers safe moorage on the docks or the mooring buoys, showers, a concession is open during the summer months and a ferry service is available to transport visitors from the park to the City of Nanaimo. There are 22 kilometres of trails with several heritage sites around the park.
Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park, far inland and approached from the Salish Sea via Jervis Inlet, has a charm and scenic beauty that must be experienced. Glaciation of millennia past carved the magnificent granite-walled gorge through the snow-tipped mountains that rise sharply from the water’s edge to heights in excess of 2,100 metres (7,000 feet). As placid as a mountain lake, the ocean waters of Princess Louisa Inlet move constantly with the tides, but currents are practically nonexistent, except for the seven to ten-knot Malibu Rapids at the entrance. The inlet, almost completely enclosed, is 300 metres (1,000 feet) deep and never over 800 metres (1/2 mile) wide in its eight-kilometre (five-mile) length.
Smugglers Cove is a small, picturesque all-weather anchorage on the south side of Sechelt Peninsula near Secret Cove. This is a delightful stop on your voyage up the Sunshine Coast.
Fjords, Islands & Passages
Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park consists of a wonderful collection of dozens of undeveloped islands and islets situated at the mouth of Knight Inlet on the west side of Queen Charlotte Strait near the north end of Vancouver Island.
Codville Lagoon Marine Provincial Park is a small marine park located on King Island in Fitz Hugh Sound, 80 kilometres west of Bella Coola. Codville Lagoon offers excellent and scenic all-weather anchorage, and an unmaintained hiking trail to a freshwater lake with a red sand beach and good swimming
Fjordland Conservancy is a large marine park, encompassing Kynoch and Mussel Inlets, in the Great Bear Rainforest sub-region. The area includes one of the finest examples of glacially gouged fjords on the British Columbia coast, where sheer granite cliffs rise more than 1000 metres (3300 feet). From the water, view the soaring peaks of the Coast Mountains, dense coastal forests, imposing waterfalls and lush river estuaries. Fjordland Conservancy is located within the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation territory and is co-managed under an agreement between the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation and the Province of British Columbia
Hakai Lúxvbálís Conservancy is the largest provincial marine protected area on the British Columbia coast. Located on Hunter and Calvert Islands in the Great Bear Rainforest sub-region, Hakai has no developed facilities. Hakai boasts special features such as lagoons, reversing tidal rapids, tombolos, and white-sand beaches. With exposed shorelines, forested hills, a beguiling array of large and small islands, white-sand beaches, and all-weather anchorages, Hakai has a varied and scenic coastline. It is the dramatic contrast between marine and terrestrial landscapes that makes Hakai unique within the BC provincial park and protected area system.
Big Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is located on the west side of Gay Passage on the northwest Coast of Vancouver Island. This marine park offers sheltered anchorages and excellent sea kayaking opportunities and is a good place for viewing gray whales, bald eagles and the endangered sea otter. Although there are no developed campsites at this park, boaters and kayakers seeking a wilderness experience will find plenty of places to set up camp on Big Bunsby.
Nuchatlitz Provincial Park encompasses the very northwest tip of Nootka Island and a large number of small island groups in the Vancouver Island West sub-region. This picturesque area is perfect for exploring by kayak. Paddlers can enjoy meandering through these peaceful islands, pulling out at random locations to camp as they see fit. The maze of islets and reefs that make up Nuchatlitz Provincial Park offer excellent opportunities to study intertidal life in the many tide pools that can be found throughout the area. These remote islands offer both exposed coast and protected waters for paddling, quiet coves and a multitude of beaches
Rugged Point Provincial Park is located on northern Vancouver Island on the southwest end of Kyuquot Channel in the mouth of Kyuquot Sound. Sheltered bays on the east side of the park are somewhat protected from dominant winds and are suitable for anchoring small boats and camping.
National Marine Parks
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (Federally administered) safeguards a portion of British Columbia’s beautiful southern Gulf Islands archipelago. These islands are representative of the Strait of Georgia Lowlands, one of the most ecologically at risk natural regions in southern Canada. Include visits to Park sites in your exploration of the Gulf Islands.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (Federally administered) Steeped in Nuu-chah-nulth culture dating back thousands of years, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is accessible from ports on the south end of Vancouver Island. Activities range from a leisurely walk along famous Long Beach to surfing, Canadian style. Explore tidal pools teeming with sea life or enjoy a tranquil paddle among the emerald waters of the Broken Group Islands.
For information on national parks and national marine parks area, visits Parks Canada.
Main image at top of page: Inexpressible delight in Princess Louisa Inlet, credit BC Parks