False Creek has several claims to fame for visiting boaters: you can anchor, and you can spend 3 hours tied up to the docks at Granville Island. Granville Island has a lovely market – Pike Place Market style for those familiar with Seattle.
Both times we have visited we have come in the winter and really enjoyed walking around Granville Island.
Still, we haven’t had the best luck in False Creek. The first time we came we had a very unpleasant interaction with one of the harbour ferry drivers in which he became increasingly verbally aggressive and then faked ramming us. We were in our dinghy at the time, in freezing cold water, and the prospect of getting tipped by him or his wake was not endearing. The local boater welcome office said that it wasn’t an uncommon behavior for them. Needless to say, we now refuse to use their (very convenient) service and will walk miles out of our way or inflate our dinghy in order to avoid giving them any of our cash.
Also, this time the city had shut down the Granville Island docks for the filming of Mission Impossible 4 (major bummer since this was our primary reason to visit) and so we couldn’t take our boat to provision although we did come back and use the docks with the dinghy. They used to have a fuel dock in False Creek but they no longer do. The first time we visited we were counting on fueling (our mistake – remember the old Waggoner?) and that was a big bummer.
The anchorage is fairly shoal for a boat of our draft but you can stay for quite a long time (permit required).
One big change which is very nice is that there is now a place on the North shore where you can take your dinghy. When we came before there was *nowhere* on the North shore to dinghy to which made visiting downtown very difficult.
False Creek is really the only option for most visitors who want to visit Vancouver on the cheap. However, with the luxury of cheap/free reciprocal moorage elsewhere, we much preferred Coal Harbor with its easy access to downtown and Stanley Park.