Premier Listings for the Southern Gulf Islands
There are seven major islands in the southern half of the Strait of Georgia (also referred to as the Gulf of Georgia, a holdover from an erroneous assumption on the part of early English explorers). Among them, Galiano Island has always enjoyed the reputation as being the most welcoming to visitors. This is due in large part to the limited amount of farmland on Galiano in comparison to other islands. Of necessity, early settlers here opened their homes to tourists as a way of earning a living. Today, Galiano is the hub for sea-kayak trips and the site of Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park, one of the largest provincial parks on any of the islands.
This isn’t to say that residents of 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. Decide in advance which island suits your purposes best, then consult a BC Ferries schedule to see if you can manage the connections in the course of a day’s visit or will have to seek overnight accommodation. Except in summer months, ferry service to many islands is restricted to one or two sailings a day. 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.
Location: A variety of BC Ferries vessels sails to Salt Spring, Galiano, Mayne, and Pender Islands from Tsawwassen on the Lower Mainland and Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. In addition, BC Ferries sails from Village Bay on Mayne Island to Saturna Island, from Crofton on southern Vancouver Island to Vesuvius on Salt Spring Island, as well as from Nanaimo on southern Vancouver Island to Gabriola Island. If you’re in a car, don’t expect simply to arrive at the terminal and drive aboard. The perplexing web of schedules, routes, and fares makes advance planning (and, often, reservations) a must. Or spare yourself the stress and expense by leaving your car at home; most inns and B&Bs will pick you up at the dock. Interisland ferries ply the waters of the southern Gulfs, operating on a first-come, first-served basis. You can reserve a space for your vehicle in advance of departure on the most popular runs by calling BC Ferries toll-free in Canada at 1-888-223-3779, or 250-386-3431. Kayaks and canoes are considered hand luggage while a small fee is charged for those bringing bicycles. Most Gulf Islands have maps and tourist information available at the ferry dock when you arrive. It’s best to orient yourself from these locations.
The following islands are located in the Southern Gulf Islands (in alphabetical order):
Saltspring Island is the largest and most populated of the Southern Gulf Islands. Forested islands, wide meadows and beautiful landscapes are surrounded by emerald ocean and wonderful vistas. Saltspring Island residents include an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs, while vacationers enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and soak in the quiet island lifestyle and spirit.
The natural beauty of Mayne Island offers picturesque seascapes, pastoral farmlands and rich west coast forest. Rolling orchards and warm rock-strewn beaches abound on Mayne Island, a rustic 21-square-kilometre friendly island that is small enough for a day trip, but pretty enough for a lifetime. Miners Bay and nearby Active Pass throb with a steady stream of marine traffic, and Village Bay has several old buildings to intrigue the history buff.
Saturna Island is a remote and sparsely populated rural hideaway, with bountiful wildlife and tremendous natural beauty, featuring a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, kayaking, swimming and fishing. Visitors to Saturna should plan ahead, as there are no campsites on the island, and accommodations are limited, so lodging reservations are recommended.
North and South Pender Islands are separated by a canal, and united by a bridge. With a combined area of about 34 square kilometres, much of the land is green and rural, with a balmy sub-Mediterranean climate, seven parks, and over 20 clearly marked public beach accesses. These friendly rural islands are fabulous for family vacations, romantic escapes, seminars and retreats.
A long, narrow island, and the driest in the Gulf Island chain, Galiano Island is the second largest of the Gulf Islands, after Saltspring Island. Galiano Islanders move at their own easy pace, respecting and protecting a fragile environment which is home to over 130 species of birds and many rare and protected plants. Rich in history and beauty, Galiano has been called The Jewel of the Strait of Georgia.
Known as Petroglyph Island, a nickname acquired because of its wealth of ancient native stone carvings, Gabriola Island offers a pleasant rural setting of forested parks and quiet beaches. Gabriola’s residents enjoy a mild temperate climate, a relaxed lifestyle and a strong sense of community. Picturesque roads lead to sensational ocean views, and the sandstone shoreline can be walked almost indefinitely.
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 that includes scuba diving, fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking, and hiking.
Penelakut Island (Kuper Island)
Although located in the Strait of Georgia, the 8.66 square kilometre Penelakut Island, formerly Kuper Island, which belongs to the Penelakut First Nations Tribe, falls under the Cowichan Valley. Situated in the rain shadow of Vancouver Island, a Mediterranean climate of mild winters and warm, dry summers supports a unique ecosystem and an ideal living environment. 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.
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. Newcastle Island was once the site of the Hudson’s Bay Company coal mines before being purchased by Canadian Pacific Railway, who turned it into a pleasure island.
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.
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.
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.
Practicar Nanaimo offers low rates on daily, weekly and monthly rentals for cars, passenger vans, and trucks; ferry and airport pick-up and delivery, cars also available in Parksville/Qualicum and Gabriola Island; no charge for additional drivers; minimum driver’s age 21; special packages, including self-drive vineyard tours, Tofino/Pacific Rim, Gulf Islands available.
Nanaimo is the Gateway to Vancouver Island, with convenient and frequent ferries from Vancouver as well as float plane service from both Vancouver airport and downtown Vancouver. Walk on – walk off – drive away – with Practicar rentals – free pickup at Departure Bay ferry terminal, and downtown Nanaimo float plane docks.
Practicar provides discount car rental prices with top of the line auto rental customer service. At Practicar we believe that cheap car rental can be accompanied with excellent service. With airport locations and convenient neighborhood locations Practicar strives to meet all of your car and truck rental needs; whether you are looking for airport car rental, an insurance replacement vehicle or a van or minivan to take on vacation. Drive a Good Bargain…Practicar!
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.
It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Live It!
Specializing in marketing and selling local residential, recreational, unique oceanfront and commercial real estate throughout Campbell River, northern 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!
The BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team loves to bring people to the coast and introduce people to the coastal lifestyle. All members of the team live an active coastal lifestyle, and they bring that passion for the coast to all that they do. All three agents have their own boats and are very familiar with the many different regions surrounding central and northern Vancouver Island. With a team behind you, you can be sure that someone is always at hand to answer questions and lend assistance.
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.
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!
Susurrus Spa is dedicated to the care and rejuvenation of the whole person, the body, mind and soul. Let us take you on a sensory voyage of health, wellness and pampering in our luxurious oceanfront haven of tranquility. Indulge yourself at Susurrus Spa located at the oceanfront oasis of Poets Cove Resort & Spa on picturesque Pender Island, the premier luxury resort in the Southern Gulf Islands. Susurrus Spa takes its inspiration from the very word ‘susurrus’, which means ‘a whispering sound or murmur.’
Susurrus Spa is a full-service Gulf Islands spa specializing in traditional spa treatments, as well as Hawaiian, classic Chinese and South Asian therapies. We seek to unlock tension and stress to promote physical, emotional and mental wellness. Upon your arrival, we will provide you with a comfortable robe, sandals and grooming amenities. Feel at ease with private men’s and women’s locker rooms, and enjoy complimentary fresh treats, tea and lemon water while you wait for your treatment to begin.
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.
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.
Poets Cove Resort & Marina is the premier luxury resort in the Southern 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.
Pamper yourself with a specialty treatment at our onsite Susurrus Spa and soothe body, mind and soul in the Eucalyptus Steam Cave. Savour fine dining cuisine and captivating ocean views in one of our distinctive restaurants. Enjoy outdoor activities on the sparkling water from our private marina, soak in our outdoor swimming pools (two), or simply relax in your private cottage villa or lodge accommodations for a rejuvenating West Coast Island experience.
Poets Cove is the perfect escape, offering a luxury boutique retreat framed by charming Arts & Crafts architecture, lush gardens and breathtaking ocean views. Just a short ferry, boat or seaplane ride away from Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle, our small island oasis set in the secluded Bedwell Harbour bay feels a million miles away.
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.
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.
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.
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.