A bird-eye view of two kayaks on a beach in the Broken Islands Group.

Kayaking the Broken Group Islands

Share  Facebook Twitter pinterest logoPinterest
Broken Group | Tourism Vancouver Island, Ben Giesbrecht

In Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, there is a kayaker’s paradise called the Broken Group Islands. It consists of more than 100 scattered islands off the west coast of Vancouver Island, and it has been on my bucket list for some time now.

Two men study a Majestic Ocean Kayaking map.

I travelled from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island on BC Ferries, then drove a scenic three-hour route from Nanaimo to the charming town of Ucluelet, where I visited Majestic Ocean Kayaking. They run single- and multi-day trips to the Broken Group, and I signed up for a day-trip adventure. Early the next morning, our tour group started the day with an exciting 40-minute ride on a cruiser boat that brought us to the embarkation point for our paddle adventure into the islands.

A man in sunglasses travels on a boat with a green kayak attached to the side.

Along the way, we spotted a sea lion colony, eagles, and even a whale that gives us a wave with its tail.

A humpback whale puts on a show.

The boat dropped us off on a sandy cove where our lead guide gave us a safety orientation and background about the area. We learned that these 100-plus islands are renowned for kayak adventures, as they provide a true west coast experience in sheltered water—ideal for less-experienced sea kayakers like myself. Its plenitude of wilderness camping spots also makes it a favourite among multi-day adventurers.

A group of kayakers stand on a beach at the water’s edge.

Before long, we were on our way. Paddling among the desolate islands surrounded by spectacular scenery, I noticed smiles on the faces of fellow kayakers as we all marveled at the beauty of this place. Around every islet were natural features like sandbars, lagoons, blowholes, rocky outcrops, and secluded anchorages.

A man in a lifejacket paddles in a yellow kayak.

After paddling for a few hours, we pulled up onto another sandy beach for a tasty and filling lunch prepared by our guides. The guides shared with us some natural and cultural history of the area that is the traditional home of the Tseshaht First Nation. We could feel the spirit of this place, imagining the Indigenous canoes that have cut through the waters here for millennia.

Six kayaks are pulled up onto a beach under a cloudy sky.

We continued our journey, hearing only water droplets from our paddles as we peacefully glided over the clear water where beds of kelp waved in the current.

Aerial view of three kayakers paddling through the ocean.

We eventually made our way to the other side of the Broken Group, where the boat was waiting to pick us up. As the cruiser boat travelled back toward Ucluelet, I looked back at these magnificent islands, appreciating the west coast even more then I already had. It is a check off the bucket list, but one day I’ll be back again to explore more of this ocean kayaker’s paradise.

Originally published in July of 2014.

Plan Your Adventure Now

Know Before You Go

Learn about the latest travel updates in BC.

Travel Updates
Parks Canada

Check national park campgrounds and park closures.

Check for Updates

Always check trail conditions before you head out, and no matter what outdoor activity you are planning, be prepared.

Plan Your Route
BC Parks

Check provincial campgrounds and park closures.

Check for Updates

The Camper's Code has nine rules that are really easy to follow. When all campers follow them, good things happen.

Take the Pledge
Travel Responsibly

Follow these tips to travel safely and responsibly in BC.

See the Tips