Gulf Islands Region
Dream an island getaway to life in the heart of the Salish Sea. Make that islands plural, each with their own unique character yet all sharing unspoilt natural beauty and a sublimely tranquil pace of life. The characters who reside here are pretty unique too: writers and musicians, B&B owners and descendents of original pioneers, retired millionaires and earthy neo-hippies, cheesemakers and spiritual seekers. No matter their background, everyone has set their clocks to “Island Time”, and that means no rush, no fuss, no problem for residents and visitors alike.
FACT > British Columbia’s Gulf Islands are comprised of 13 major islands and some 450 smaller islands.
The southern Gulf Islands shelter along the eastern coastline of Vancouver Island, stretching from Saturna near the Canada/U.S. maritime border north to Gabriola offshore from Nanaimo. A half dozen of the larger islands are charming, full-service vacation destinations for weekenders and long-stay visitors. Several hundred more smaller, uninhabited islands serve ocean kayakers and pleasure boaters, seabirds and slumbering colonies of sea lions.
Sandstone Sculpture – The Malaspina Galleries on Gabriola Island are a naturally occuring sandstone formation sculpted by years of wind, rain and the ocean that resemble a breaking surf wave.
Getting here by ferry or floatplane is part of the adventure and practical proof that you’ve made the great escape from the norm. Settle in to the welcoming embrace of a B&B, inn, resort or campground, then feel free to do as little or as much exploring as you like – either actively (hiking, biking, kayaking) or in more relaxed fashion while birdwatching, beachcombing or catching rays in a deckchair.
Meet the locals – Bring your camera so you’ll remember the time you met your first Alpaca.
Inhale the fresh air and scenery. Snap photos of apple orchards, sheep-filled fields, fishing harbours and the panoramic views from cliffside hiking trails. Wander through rare Garry Oak ecosystems. Hang out with the regulars in coffeeshops and pubs while learning best-kept island secrets direct from the source.
Meet creative folk in galleries and home art studios. Linger over regionally sourced food and drink on oceanfront patios. Or simply find a quiet spot on land or by the sea to picnic with loved ones and/or a good book.
Holidaying on a Gulf Island guarantees rest and relaxation – healthy, creative or pampered, it’s up to you. These three options mix and mingle at spas and wellness facilities specializing in all manner of holistic treatments – reiki, hydrotherapy, sea-salt scrubs, aromatherapy, reflexology, meditation, yoga, mineral baths and more. Book one-time sessions or dedicate an entire vacation to optimizing mind, body and soul. Daily immersion in nature speeds the process, and vast green tracts of these islands have been smartly preserved and protected.
Concerts, readings, theatre productions, gallery openings and a busy spring, summer and fall schedule of festivals – literary, musical, nautical, arts and apples included – keep residents and visitors entertained. Buying local is never easier than at weekend markets where artisans, jam-makers, gardeners, farmers, cooks and musicians strut their island style.
Immerse yourself for a weekend or longer in a very different way of life. Enjoy a variety of easily accessible experiences. And stack up the quality time with friends and family. Guarantee: Once you’ve visited one, you’ll be back for more.
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Experience Vancouver Island from a new point of view with a breathtaking seaplane adventure. Enjoy a 20 minute Victoria panorama flight featuring unique views of the city & the Olympic Mountains in the distance. Day trip to the world-renowned Butchart Gardens or downtown Vancouver. A variety of exciting tours await. Discover British Columbia’s spectacular coastlines with Harbour Air Seaplanes. Harbour Air Seaplanes also offers frequent and convenient scheduled flights connecting downtown Victoria, downtown Vancouver, Richmond (YVR Aiport), Comox, Nanaimo, Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast, the Gulf Islands and Whistler (seasonally). Travel like a local and experience a true West Coast [...]More Information
Comox, Duncan, Ganges, Nanaimo, Victoria • Central Island, Cowichan, Gulf Islands, North Central Island, South Island
BC Ferries Vacations™ connects you with Vancouver Island’s world-class destinations and provides unique vacation experiences to the avid traveller. Offering several packages for one and two-nights or longer, BC Ferries Vacations™ travel experts have hand-picked the best accommodations and activities and packaged them with the ferry travel to bring you all-in-one convenience, quality and value.More Information
Many Communities • Across Vancouver Island
1-888-BC FERRY (1-888-223-3779) Ext 3
A small waterfront luxury country resort, spa and restaurant sitting waterfront, on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Enjoy luxury lodging, fine dining, wellness and relaxation in a casually-elegant atmosphere. Explore British Columbia’s natural beauty, Salt Spring’s mild climate and the warmth and creativity of its people.More Information
160 Upper Ganges Road • Salt Spring Island • Gulf Islands
British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) is one of the largest ferry operators in the world, providing year-round vehicle and passenger service on 25 routes to 47 terminals, with a fleet of 35 vessels. The company provides an essential transportation link that connects coastal communities and facilitates the movement of people, goods and services throughout coastal British Columbia. BC Ferries’ diverse service area includes connections between the Vancouver Mainland and Vancouver Island; from Vancouver Island or the Vancouver Mainland to many small island communities; from Prince Rupert on the province’s north coast to Haidai Gwaii and to Port Hardy. [...]More Information
Many Communities • Across Vancouver Island
Fly with Kenmore Air from Seattle, Washington over 45 spectacular Northwest destinations. Daily scheduled seaplane flights leave from Seattle’s downtown Lake Union to Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Nanaimo, the Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast, Desolation Sound, Blind Channel and the Northern Inside Passage. Skip the ferry lines & and avoid long lines at the boarder. With Kenmore Air you’ll be in Victoria in about 45 minutes. It’s fast, convenient and stress-free! Charter flights are also available!
Nanaimo, Victoria • Central Island, Gulf Islands, North Central Island, South Island
Salt Spring Car Rentals
Car & Scooter Rentals – Renting a car or scooter can be an excellent way to see the sights and enjoy all the special spots on Salt Spring Island offering visitors independence. We offer pick up and drop off services for car rental customers to Salt Spring Air, the float plane docks and the ferry terminals when possible. Let us help with planning your day trips: diving, kayak rentals, whale watching, sailing & fishing charters or suggestions for a tour around the beautiful countryside.
Ganges, Salt Spring Island • Gulf Islands
Salt Springs Spa Resort
Featuring scenic ocean and forest view chalets, each including a 2 person jet tub fed from our healing mineral springs, BBQ, fireplace and kitchen. Our Spa offers a variety of treatments to relax and revitalize.
Salt Spring Island • Gulf Islands
Green Acres Lakeside Cottage
This popular resort is situated on seven acres of spectacular waterfront on St. Mary Lake. Choose from a variety of lake-view cottages or luxury log chalets set back in the forest. All units feature fully appointed kitchens, decks or patios and barbeques. Our private sandy beach faces a scenic nature reserve and the lake is designated “no motors.” Free use of boats, wi-fi, and kids activities for the perfect family summer vacation. Cozy fireplaces and organic bedding make it a peaceful off- season getaway destination. Minutes away from the busy downtown centre of Ganges, and the Long Harbour Ferry terminal.