One of the things you can’t help but notice while standing atop Mount Tzouhalem or driving the Malahat Drive is the fact that the Cowichan Valley is bordered by the ocean. Never been in a kayak, a canoe or on a paddleboard? No problem – there are places that can get you out paddling in minutes. Swimming, beachcombing, scuba diving, sailing and whale watching are also very popular here.
The Cowichan Valley is also where three major rivers empty into the Salish Sea. All three provide the opportunity for fishing, whitewater kayaking and, in the summer months, swimming and tubing in refreshing, crystal clear water. The Cowichan River flows from 30 kilometre-long Cowichan Lake, home to the town of Lake Cowichan, the community of Youbou (pronounced “yoo-bow”), Mesachie Lake and Honeymoon Bay. Once a focus of lumber operations, Cowichan Lake is now a freshwater playground famous for its house boating, kayaking, fishing and camping.
Shawnigan Lake, just west of Mill Bay, is also well worth a visit. It is home to a village of the same name and is a popular place for canoeing, rowing, swimming and fishing. Much farther west lies Nitinat Lake, an internationally acclaimed windsurfing and kiteboarding destination that’s home to Windfest, the Canadian National Kite Racing Championships.
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