There are seven major islands in the southern half of the Strait of Georgia. Each island has its distinctive charm, and deserves at least a day or two for exploring.
A good way to do so is by bicycle, stopping at campgrounds or bed and breakfasts along the way. Roadways and trails take you on a tour of natural beauty, leading you to hilltops for fabulous views and down to the beach for an afternoon swim. Around each corner is an artisan’s gallery or a cafe, a row of unique little shops, or a quiet marina. There is also camping, hiking, fishing, boating and sailing, all in beautiful surroundings and a friendly, relaxing atmosphere – truly what holiday memories are made of.
Decide in advance which island best suits your purposes, then consult a BC Ferries schedule to see if you can manage the connections in the course of a day’s visit, or whether you’ll have to seek overnight accommodation. Ferry service to many islands is restricted to one or two sailings a day, except in summer months. You may find that in order to catch a ride, you’ll have to start your day well before dawn and return home late in the evening. The trade off is that you’ll find far fewer visitors sharing the roads, waterways and parks with you as you travel at off-peak times.
Saltspring Island is Canada’s arts and crafts island. Because of its mild climate, mellow pace, beautiful landscapes and island isolation, artists and crafts people are drawn from all over the world. Although Saltspring is well known to boaters and may be reached by three ferries and scheduled air flights, it remains a quiet lesser-known paradise for most travellers. On Saturday mornings in the summer, the spirit of Saltspring can be caught in the local Market in Ganges, the biggest town in the Gulfs.
Rolling orchards and warm rock-strewn beaches abound on Mayne Island, a rustic 13 square-km spot. It’s small enough for a day trip, but pretty enough for a lifetime. Drop by the lighthouse, watch the frantic activity as fishermen wait till the last minute to get out of the ferry’s way in Active Pass, or stroll up the top of Mayne’s mountains for a view of the Strait of Georgia – and you’ll begin to discover what Mayne is all about.
Saturna Island is tucked away at the southern end of the island chain. Rural, sparsely populated, and difficult to reach, Saturna Island is easily the least spoilt of the Gulf islands.
The Pender Islands are known as the ‘Friendly Islands’ and the ‘Islands of Hidden Coves’ – with over 20 public ocean access spots to visit along the beaches and coves. The mild climate and pristine wilderness make the Penders perfect for family holidays, romantic retreats, golfing, hiking, biking and nature-watching.
Galiano Island has always enjoyed the reputation of being the most welcoming to visitors. Galiano is a hub for sea-kayak trips and the site of the Montague Harbour Marine Provincial park, one of the largest Marine Provincial parks on any of the islands. This isn’t to say that residents of the other islands won’t be just as pleased to see you disembark at the dock. Indeed, tourism is important to the livelihood and economic well-being of most of the Gulf Islands, although some are better prepared for it than others.
Gabriola Island, the most accessible of the chain, features three provincial parks, quiet beaches, and sensational ocean views. Perhaps the most interesting limestone formations on the Gulf Islands are located at Gabriola Sands Provincial Park, called the Malaspina Galleries.
Island life on Thetis Island is relaxed, rural, peaceful and crime-free, with delightful rural scenes, beautiful shoreline, crystal clear waters, and wonderful views. A Mediterranean combination of mild winters and warm, dry summers supports a unique ecosystem and provides an ideal environment for outdoor recreation.
Penelakut Island (Kuper Island)
Although located in the Strait of Georgia, Penelakut Island falls under the Cowichan Valley, and belongs to the Penelakut First Nations Tribe. There are no commercial establishments on Penelakut Island.
De Courcy Island
De Courcy Island is located in Northumberland Channel, between Nanaimo and Valdes Island. De Courcy Island is about 300 acres in size and is heavily forested in most areas. There are several middens on De Courcy Island that indicate native use of the land going back over 3,000 years.
Valdes Island is located in the Strait of Georgia, sandwiched between Gabriola Island and Galiano Island. The island supports a small community of residents at Starvation Bay on the north shore, but the majority of the population of the island consists of part-time vacationers. A third of Valdes Island is a First Nations Reserve for the Lyackson First Nation at Shingle Point.
Albeit that Newcastle Island is located off the coast of Vancouver Island, it is not considered one of the Gulf Islands. Accessible by foot-passenger ferry from Nanaimo, Newcastle Island is a nature reserve, and a delightfully adventurous location for a picnic, with sandstone cliffs, forests, gravel beaches, caves, caverns and prehistoric native middens.
The term Northern Gulf Islands is infrequently used to describe the islands between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland that aren’t considered Southern Gulf Islands. This is potentially confusing, as Quadra Island and Cortes Island are included in the Discovery Islands.
These islands, part of a chain of 6,000 islands that shelter the British Columbia coastline between Washington and Alaska, lie beyond the quick-access range of Vancouver and Victoria.
The wonderful silence that envelops these islands is characteristic of the ambience in remote central coast locales. It wasn’t always this way. In the heyday of fishing and logging camps, the population on the more isolated islands was surprisingly higher than it is today.
Evidence of this can be seen in the abandoned cabins, ancient villages, and overgrown logging roads. Explore by car, kayak, mountain bike or on foot. Find a location that appeals to you, and within this microcosm, experience the wonder and magic that pervades life here.
Quadra Island is a 10-minute ferry ride from Campbell River. Resident artists and craftspeople make the island a fine place to sleuth around for pottery and other wares. The Nuyumbalees Cultural Center (formerly Kwagiulth Museum and Cultural Center) contains an outstanding collection of authentic artifacts.
After going to the effort to reach Cortes Island, with its placid lakes, beaches rich in shellfish, and rugged gorges – your reward is finding a campsite on the southwestern corner at Smelt Bay Provincial Park, a heavenly setting on this picturesque island.
Tranquil and bucolic, Denman and Hornby Island sits just off the east coast of Vancouver Island. Denman, the larger of the two is known for its pastoral farmlands and its population of talented artisans.
Lying off the south end of Denman Island, Hornby Island is the smaller of the two and offers a rugged, seductive mix of northwest rainforest and magnificent warm-water swimming beaches.
Originally home to a whaling station, Texada Island is now the site of a working limestone quarry. Texada offers biking, hiking, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, birdwatching and rock hounding.
Hop aboard the foot passenger ferry from French Creek and cruise across the Strait of Georgia to Lasqueti Island. Largely undeveloped, Lasqueti is a worthwhile destination for a day trip or longer – not only for its natural beauty, but it is so distant from the mainstream.
Jedediah Island is a Marine Provincial park located between Lasqueti Island and Texada Island, in the Sabine Channel of the Strait of Georgia. It is the largest and most diverse island of a chain of over thirty islands and rocky islets located north and west of Lasqueti Island. Jedediah’s isolation and tranquility make it an excellent destination for kayaking and wilderness camping.
The Rendezvous Islands are located in Calm Channel off the northeast end of Read Island in the Discovery Island chain of islands. The Rendezvous Island group comprises North Rendezvous Island, Middle Rendezvous Island, and Rendezvous Island South.
Savary Island and the Copeland Islands Marine Provincial Park are only accessible by private boat or water taxi from Lund on the Sunshine Coast. The best beaches in the entire chain of Gulf Islands are to be found on Savary Island. It’s debatable which side of the snout-shaped island has the best beaches, but when you’re in heaven, it doesn’t matter which side of the street you walk on!
Location: The Gulf Islands are dotted in the Georgia Strait, between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. BC Ferries provides service to the Gulf Islands from several terminals on Vancouver Island, including Swartz Bay (Sidney), Crofton, Buckley Bay and Nanaimo, and from Tsawwassen near Vancouver on the mainland. Vehicle reservations are recommended for sailings between Tsawwassen and the Gulf Islands.
The fleet of BC Ferries that services the Northern Gulf Islands is not as large nor are the sailings as frequent as the fleet for the Southern Gulf Islands. Some of the Islands can only be reached by private transportation such as water taxis, kayaks, canoes and, occasionally, floatplanes. Many visitors travel to the Gulf Islands by private boat. Boaters can choose from many marinas, government docks and anchorages. If you’re travelling from the United States, there’s a convenient Customs office at Bedwell Harbour on South Pender Island. Visitors will find that the further north in the Strait of Georgia they explore, the fewer fellow travellers they’ll encounter.
Mowhinna Creek CampgroundMowhinna Creek Campground
Mowhinna Creek Campground is located in the heart of Salt Spring Island, 1 km south of Ganges, where shopping, banks, galleries and restaurants abound. The campground offers a convenient central location from which to explore the island and is located on the local bus route.
Nestled in the woods, the RV sites are easily accessible for large units and have water, power and septic hook-ups. Tent sites vary from very sunny to partly shaded. Walk-in sites are accessed by a ring road. We have 2 small unfurnished sleeping cabins that sleep 2 adults and a child comfortably. The cabins have power and water onsite, and one is situated on a large site that can accommodate a RV or tent at additional cost.
Campground amenities include 30-amp power, flush toilets, showers, WiFi internet, a playground and friendly campground hosts. Leashed pets are welcome. Reservations recommended.
Page’s Resort and MarinaPage’s Resort and Marina
Page’s Resort and Marina on beautiful Gabriola Island welcomes you with secluded fully-equipped seaside COTTAGES, a pristine CAMPGROUND nestled in the woods, a full service MARINA providing quiet nightly moorage with fuel dock, showers and laundromat, kayak RENTALS, and mountain bike RENTALS, BOOKSTORE featuring local authors as well as charts and the best of marine publications, Li’l market providing a wide selection of food and products locally made or grown on Gabriola Island as well as a wide range of groceries, pharmaceuticals and sundry items. There is fresh coffee and scones to enjoy here or on the go.
Located on five acres overlooking Silva Bay on beautiful Gabriola Island, minutes from golf and restaurants, Page’s offers spectacular kayaking and sailing, incredible diving and fishing, scenic hiking and cycling, and simply relaxing with a book in our picnic grounds and gardens. Arrive by land, sea or air: now with an air service from Vancouver’s South Terminal to Silva Bay via Gulf Island Seaplanes.
BC Oceanfront: Ed Handja Personal Real Estate Corporation & Shelley McKay Personal Real Estate CorporationBC Oceanfront: Ed Handja Personal Real Estate Corporation & Shelley McKay Personal Real Estate Corporation
ROYAL LEPAGE Advance Realty Campbell River 972 Shoppers Row Campbell River BC V9W 2C5 postalPhone: 250-286-3293homeFax: 250-286-1932workfaxToll Free: 1-888-286-1932workCell Phone: 1-250-287-0011 Ed CellcellCell Phone: 1-250-830-4435 Shelley Cellcelledhandja@bcoceanfront.comINTERNETVisit Website
Live, Work & Play Coastal Style
“BC Oceanfront” – ROYAL LEPAGE Advance Realty Campbell River’s Residential and Coastal Experts specializing in marketing and selling local residential, recreational, unique oceanfront and commercial real estate throughout Vancouver Island, Discovery Islands, the Outer Islands and the BC Mainland Coast. Our real estate listings include homes to small oceanfront and lakefront recreational lots, private islands, remote island acreages, fishing lodges, wilderness / adventure resorts and vacation homes, oceanfront / lakefront cabins, marinas, remote & timbered acreages, and development investment properties on the west coast of BC and Vancouver Island – BCO has the Coast covered!
As an experienced BC realtor, Ed Handja successfully markets and locates real estate on the British Columbia coast for his clients. He’s lived and worked on the coast all his life, traveling from Indian Arm and the Gulf Islands on the southern BC coast, to the Khutzeymateen Valley in the northern most part of British Columbia. Ed is familiar with the west coast of Canada and understands the logistics and considerations required when dealing with the remote and unconventional real estate on the islands and west coast of BC.
EMR Vacation RentalsEMR Vacation Rentals
#106-1016 McCallum Road Victoria BC V9B 4C6 workPhone: 250-483-6790homeFax: 530-660-3079workfaxToll Free: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
EMR is a fully licensed Travel Agency offering fully furnished vacation homes, condos, suites, and estates in Victoria, Vancouver, Tofino, Whistler, the Okanagan, and on Vancouver Island. We have a large inventory of unique properties to select from. This includes properties that feature oceanfront, beach front, breathtaking views, private hot tubs, luxurious settings and more.
Silver Blue ChartersSilver Blue Charters
Silver Blue Charters offers excellent year-round salmon fishing charters available on beautiful Gabriola Island aboard a 25.5 foot SeaRay Amberjack that carries 6 people. Captain Bob Meyer has spent 25 years as a charter fishing guide, and has extensive fishing experience in Gulf Island waters, having performed over 3,000 charters and consistently has the highest salmon catch rate in the area. Fishing packages and wildlife tours available on request.
Poets Cove MarinaPoets Cove Marina
Poets Cove Marina is located in beautiful Bedwell Harbour on Pender Island, one of the top ten anchorages in the Western Hemisphere. Contained within North America’s largest designated marine park, the Marina at Poets Cove offers 110 deep water slips for boats up to 100 feet, with fuel, power, water, and a Canada Customs office right in the Harbour. Heated pool, hot tub, laundromat, and showers.
Steveston Seabreeze AdventuresSteveston Seabreeze Adventures
Steveston Seabreeze Adventures offers exciting Westcoast ecotours from historic Steveston, 30 minutes south of Vancouver – you don’t have to go to Vancouver Island to see the whales! Travel the scenic Fraser River and tranquil Gulf Islands; Go whale watching, wildlife viewing and bird watching around beautiful Vancouver; embark on a guided fishing adventure; or rent a bike and discover by bicycle tour the magical beauty of historic Steveston fishing village. Book your whale watching or Eco Tour today.
LandQuest Realty CorporationLandQuest Realty Corporation
101-313 6th Street New Westminster Vancouver BC V3L 3A7 postalPhone: 604-664-7630homeFax: 604-606-7901homefaxToll Free: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
Landquest Realty Corporation is a unique real estate company specializing in marketing recreational real estate, development properties, ranches, guest ranches, oceanfront, islands, resorts, lakefront, timber, trophy properties, remote fishing and hunting properties and Big Game Outfitter Territories throughout BC. Landquest’s dedicated group of experienced real estate professionals provide the best possible service in every corner of British Columbia.
Coast Mountain ExpeditionsCoast Mountain Expeditions
Kayaking Base: Quadra Island BC workMailing Address: Box 25 Read Island Surge Narrows BC V0P 1W0 workPhone: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
In 1987 we built our off-grid kayaking lodge in the Discovery Islands with a dream of crafting life-changing multi-day sea kayaking experiences. We still live where we paddle, and our passion for exploring our remote corner of British Columbia has only grown stronger.
Guided trips combine skills instruction, wilderness adventure, and meals prepared from our own garden produce, local sea foods, and home baking. Our kayaking tours explore sheltered routes amid marine parks, abundant wildlife, and rainforest islands – all with spectacular views of the highest peaks of the rugged Coast Mountains.
Salt Spring Island Golf & Country ClubSalt Spring Island Golf & Country Club
Located in the heart of beautiful Salt Spring Island, and just minutes from the downtown core, the Salt Spring Island Golf and Country Club is truly a memorable experience. Established in 1928, and since remodelled and improved, this nine-hole, par-36 course is open year round to members and the general public. The club includes a 250-yard driving range and practice putting green. Twilight rates available. Treat yourself to an island getaway!
Tee times are required 7 days a week, and times can be booked 7 days in advance by contacting the pro shop or booking online at saltspringgolf.com. The practice range is open daily, and you can rent clubs and power carts as needed.
Treat yourself to an island getaway!
Cedar Beach ResortCedar Beach Resort
1136 North End Road Saltspring Island BC V8K 1M1 postalPhone: 250-537-2205homeFax: 250-537-5509workfaxToll Free: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
Cedar Beach Resort is located on beautiful St. Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island. Our 5 acre resort offers 17 cabins and suites as well as 23 fully-serviced RV/camping sites. We have our own private, sandy beach right on the lake. Our heated, outdoor swimming pool (open mid-May to mid-September) and hot tub offer fabulous lake views. All cabins and suites are fully furnished with cooking facilities, and the adjoining Beach House offers indoor and outdoor recreation space. An exceptional venue for family reunions, gatherings, and small group weddings.
Page’s Inn on Silva BayPage’s Inn on Silva Bay
Pages Inn on Silva Bay offers guests oceanfront accommodations in beautiful, peaceful surroundings at the head of Silva Bay, on the rural South End of Gabriola Island. The Inn’s seven oceanfront suites have stunning views across Silva Bay and the Flat Top Islands to the Coastal Mountains. The Inn’s spacious suites include full kitchens or kitchenettes, wireless high-speed Internet and cable television.
The Meeting Room at Page’s Inn on Silva Bay can accommodate up to 24 people boardroom style and up to 50 people reception or classroom style. Spectacular, peaceful and remote, the Meeting Room is the perfect setting to energize your corporate team or elevate your family event.
Farms, artists, wooden boat builders, kayaking, fishing and sailing are within walking distance of the Inn. Silva Bay and Gabriola Island host numerous festivals and events throughout the year. There is something for everyone, whether your interest is maritime, music, or art.
Arrive by land, sea or air: now with an air service from Vancouver’s South Terminal to Silva Bay via Gulf Island Seaplanes.
Poets Cove Resort & SpaPoets Cove Resort & Spa
Poets Cove Resort & Spa is the premier luxury resort on the Gulf Islands, hidden away in a secluded bay on Pender Island, offering 15 cottages, 9 villas, and a lodge with 22 rooms looking west toward ocean sunsets. Amenities include a stunning ballroom, an elegant restaurant, world-class spa, heated pools, and a Marina.
Cusheon Lake ResortCusheon Lake Resort
Listen to the quiet or sometimes the frog chorus or children’s laughter. With 14 one & two bedroom log cottages & 2 cedar loft cabins, the resort is a destination for all. Couples wanting to spend a relaxing time with each other. Families ready to enjoy time together inside and out – playing board games or swimming and boating. Beautiful, well-maintained cottages with lake frontage, fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens & TVs. The resort grounds are surrounded by the lake on three sides, with 2 docks, a swimming beach with raft and a boat beach for lake access. Canoes, rowboats and outdoor hot tub are here for your use.
Outer Island Guest FarmOuter Island Guest Farm
A Retreat to Remember. Outer Island Guest Farm is an Agri-Villa set on 14 acres of farmland on Hornby Island, offering warm hospitality and a taste of country living. The beautiful ranch-style homestead, with swimming pool, tennis court, and orchard, provides a tranquil atmosphere to relax, rejuvenate and see agricultural living first-hand. Self-catering or B&B accommodations available. Specializing in all-inclusive retreat packages.
Waterfront West Real EstateWaterfront West Real Estate
Waterfront West is the first and only marketplace dedicated exclusively to buyers and sellers of waterfront and water view real estate in British Columbia. Advertising Realtors’ listings, private sales and developments, we are pioneering the market for this prime real estate. Featuring private and brokered sales, waterfront developments and a complimentary Buyers’ Club.
Vancouver Whale WatchVancouver Whale Watch
Vancouver’s Most Experienced Whale Watching Company offers 3 to 5-hour tours and is the only company from Vancouver with zodiacs. First-class vessels: choose between the open or the semi-enclosed style of zodiac. For the adventure of a lifetime, travel through the spectacular Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands to watch the magnificent Orcas. Professional naturalists interpret each trip. We emphasize science and conservation while maintaining a fun and professional atmosphere. Shuttle service available from Vancouver to the departure point in Steveston.
Susurrus Spa at Poets Cove ResortSusurrus Spa at Poets Cove Resort
Susurrus Spa is dedicated to the care and rejuvenation of the whole person – body, mind and soul. It is a sensory voyage of health, wellness and pampering in our luxurious oceanfront haven of tranquility. Indulge yourself at Susurrus Spa at the Poets Cove Resort & Spa on Pender Island, the Gulf Islands’ premier luxury resort.