25/05/2024

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Seaplane tours in Vancouver | Velvet Escape

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Seaplane tours in Vancouver | Velvet Escape

Ever since I was a child, seaplanes (or floatplanes) never failed to amaze me. There’s just something extraordinary about how they land on and take-off from the water. It wasn’t until I was in my early-20’s that I got to fly in one. I was visiting my best friend in Vancouver and while I was there, I booked a seaplane tour just to experience the flight. Since then, I’ve been on several seaplane tours in Vancouver and I’ve always enjoyed the experience. I especially enjoy the rush of taking off: the sound of the powerful engines thrusting the floats across the surface of the water followed by the gradual climb. It’s a fascinating experience, especially if you’re an aviation geek like me. Furthermore, a seaplane tour is a unique way to appreciate Vancouver’s spectacular surroundings and skyline. Here are some of the seaplane destinations and tours in Vancouver you can book:

vancouver seaplane tours
Seaplane at the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre

From Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver, seaplanes fly to various points in British Columbia such as Victoria, Nanaimo, Tofino and Comox on Vancouver Island, Whistler (seasonal flights to this town in the Coast Mountains) and Seattle in the United States. To give an example of the cost, the price of a seaplane return trip to Victoria starts at about CAD 300, depending on the season and time of day.

seaplane flight experience
In the seaplane cabin

 

The flights leave from the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre (map) adjacent to the Vancouver Convention Centre. Whenever I visit Vancouver, I always make it a point to walk along the harbourfront to watch the seaplanes.

vancouver seaplanes
I love watching the seaplaes at the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre

Victoria, British Columbia

One of my favourite things to do in Vancouver is a day-trip (or longer) to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Situated in the southern corner of Vancouver Island, Victoria (map) is a beautiful city with numerous historic and natural attractions that make it more than worth a visit.

day trip to victoria bc
Victoria

The seaplane takes off from Vancouver’s Coal Harbour, then flies over the iconic Lion’s Gate Bridge and continues across the Strait of Georgia to the scenic Gulf Islands before heading southwards to Victoria.

vancouver seaplane flight
Flying over the Lion’s Gate Bridge
seaplane tour
Flying over the Strait of Georgia
vancouver to victoria by seaplane
The Gulf Islands
victoria by seaplane
An aerial view of Victoria
seaplane flight cockpit view
The cockpit

Some of the best things to do in Victoria include strolling around its historic centre, visiting the nearby Butchard Gardens and going on a whale-watching excursion. Check out this Victoria day trip with Butchart Gardens or this Victoria day trip with whale-watching.

 

Whistler

Whistler is one of the largest ski resort towns in North America. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, lakes and glaciers, Whistler is a year-round destination with many activities in both summer and winter. In 2010, Whistler together with Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics. From Vancouver, you can go on a stunning seaplane tour to Whistler. The flight to Whistler boasts incredible views of Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains with its thick forests and alpine lakes.

whistler seaplane tour
You might spot Garibaldi Lake along the way.

Spend the day in Whistler walking around the town, going on a gondola ride (the Peak-to-Peak gondola is spectacular) or participating in one of the adventure activities such as zip-lining, hiking or horseback riding.

peak-to-peak gondola
The Peak-to-Peak gondola

 

Panoramic views of Vancouver

If you’re short on time, I recommend booking a Vancouver panorama flight tour. This 20-minute flight provides passengers with stunning views of the city’s impressive skyline, the massive Stanley Park and the surrounding mountains.

vancouver panorama seaplane tour
A view of Stanley Park and the Vancouver skyline

Mountains and glaciers

Another seaplane tour from Vancouver goes inland and offers scenic views of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains . This one-hour seaplane flight flies along the impressive snow-capped peaks of the Coast Mountains with incredible views of Howe Sound, glistening alpine lakes and numerous glaciers.

coast mountains seaplane flight
The forested slopes of the Coast Mountains. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see Mount Baker (in Washington State, USA) in the distance.
vancouver mountains seaplane tour
The jagged peaks of the Coast Mountains

Read more about Vancouver on Velvet Escape.

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