Bliss in Deep Cove, BC
3 Days in Deep Cove
Vancouver BC is an international city with sky scrapers, many people and traffic. Like all international cities there is a tremendous energy here with lots to do, like tour Granville Island and Gastown to Stanley Park and the magnificent Aquarium. But part of the magic of Vancouver is location. A wild, natural beauty envelops this great city.
If you want to get away from it all, just up the road (about a 25 minute drive) is the district of North Vancouver and beautiful, glassy Deep Cove which is a salt water inlet formed by verdant mountains that shoot straight up out of the water. These are the fjords of British Columbia. On weekends the village is bustling. But during the week, most people disappear and you can enjoy Deep Cove in tranquility as the indigenous people have for centuries. Get out on the water before breakfast and you will likely count more sea otters and seals than people.
The village was busy when we arrived on a weekend in late August. In the distance we heard a live band while children played in the park as well as swam around the shoreline. There was lots of activity in the small harbor with boats coming and going. People of all ages were frolicking in the surprisingly warm water. Business at the shops and restaurants was brisk.
With so many opportunities at our feet, we looked forward to exploring every inch of Deep Cove.
A’hoy is “run by locals” and sits at the base of the main street, the park and the cove. Before you hit the water make sure you have everything you need. At A’hoy you can pick up whatever you forgot to bring like flip flops, sunglasses, board shorts and hats. If you want some ideas on where to go, John and Max will answer every single question you ask about Deep Cove.
Check out their selection of light weight, water friendly Birkenstocks and polarized sunglasses. Tip - water shoes are a must to protect your feet on the beach from rocks and barnacles.
What to do in Deep Cove
Kayak / Paddleboard / Watersports
One of the must-do activities in Deep Cove is kayaking. The village is on the shoreline of a fjord called Indian Arm. This map of Indian Arm provides an overview of some of the places that you can reach by kayak. Rent a kayak or paddle board from Deep Cove Kayak which offers a wide variety of floating vessels. Explore on your own or join a guided kayak tour to explore and understand the waters around Deep Cove. Tip - The weekends are busy so plan to stay a day or two during the week and you will likely have the water all to yourself!
Rent a Boat and Explore the Fjord
A little further on Panorama Drive is Deep Cove Marina which rents boats for you to explore the beautiful coastline. Harry and Nolan will set you up and make sure you know how to safely operate their vessel. We rented a pontoon boat which comfortably carries 10 people. We casually cruised up the Indian Arm fjord past a couple of waterfalls and were surrounded by playful seals who disappear underwater once you get too close. Purchase provisions at Honey Donuts (crazy busy on weekends so go early) and have a picnic. Tip - The marina has a limited supply of boats so reserve your boat in advance.
Take a Hike
If land exploration is more your style, hike around Baden Powell Park. There is a beautiful trail through the rain forest to Quarry Rock. From high on the rock you get a bird’s eye view of the cove and surrounding fjords. This is a popular local attraction for people from far and wide so you will hear a variety of languages spoken.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a 20 minute drive and offers a walk on the wild side. This is the most popular outdoor tourist destination in Vancouver and is jam packed on weekends and holidays. The suspension bridge crosses a narrow canyon to towering evergreens high in the cedar-scented rainforest air. There are 7 suspended footbridges offering views 110 feet above the forest floor. “The Cliffwalk follows a granite precipice along Capilano River with a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms and only 16 anchor points in the cliff supporting the structure!”
Topping the list is Honey Donuts. They offer a great breakfast and lunch. Get a to-go lunch to take on a boat or kayak and explore the fjord. Land lovers hike through the rainforest and have a picnic at the top. Honey Donuts is organized but expect a crowd. It is worth the wait! If you are looking for a modern ambiance check out Cafe Orso. The Avocado Toast with curried apple and coconut preserve is out of this world. Bluhouse (next door to Cafe Orso) provides a breakfast alternative featuring organic smoothies and crepes. Bluhouse offers yoga on the deck..
Dinner and drinks at Arm’s Reach Bistro is always a great experience. Arm’s Reach is directly above the harbor of Deep Cove. Reserve an outside table and experience the sound and sights of the cove. If you are looking for Sushi and frozen beer, Osaka Sushi will satisfy your hunger and thirst.
You won’t go hungry in Deep Cove.
Where to stay
Fortunately, there are no hotels in Deep Cove. If that is your style, you have to drive a mile or 2 to find them and you won’t have much of a view. There are just a few Airbnb’s at the water’s edge. Most don’t offer 5 star amenities or service. But the view and water access is off the chart!
We stayed at Tansy’s place which was perfect because of the view, the location and parking. Staying at the water’s edge means you will likely encounter many stairs. If this is an issue, you will need to find a place with an elevator or need to stay in town. If you want a view like this, stairs are part of the equation.
Leaving the Cove
We started at A’hoy and we finished at A’hoy. They sell a t-shirt that says it all: Welcome to Deep Cove. Now…..Get Lost.
Deep Cove is welcoming. You’ll feel at home there.
And, you’ll also get lost in the beautiful nature - the fjord, the beach and the forest. And somehow…getting lost leads to exploring. And isn’t exploring what life is all about?