Gulf Islands Region
The southern Gulf Islands stretch along Vancouver Island’s eastern coastline from Saturna near the Canada/U.S. maritime border north to Gabriola offshore from Nanaimo. A half dozen of the larger islands are full-service vacation destinations for weekenders and long-stay visitors. Several hundred more smaller, uninhabited islands serve ocean kayakers, pleasure boaters, seabirds and slumbering colonies of sea lions.
FACT > British Columbia’s Gulf Islands are comprised of 13 major islands and some 450 smaller islands.
Getting here by ferry or floatplane is part of the adventure and practical proof that you’ve made the great escape. Settle in to the welcoming embrace of a B&B, inn, resort or campground, then 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.
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 coffee shops 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 therapies – hydrotherapy, sea-salt scrubs, Reiki, aromatherapy, reflexology, mineral baths and more. Book one-time sessions or dedicate an entire vacation to optimizing mind, body and soul. Sign up for yoga classes or a meditation retreat. Daily exposure to nature on the water or in the vast green spaces that have been smartly preserved for future generations helps speed the de-stressing process.
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, 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 island, you’ll want to collect experiences on them all.
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 tradition. We are proud to be North America’s first carbon neutral airline.
Hastings House Country House Hotel
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.
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. In 2011/12, BC Ferries transported 20.2 million passengers and 7.8 million vehicles on over 186,000 sailings.
BC Ferries’ goal is to always offer passengers a memorable travel experience. Vessels serving customers on BC Ferries routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, the Southern Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast offer a wide range of passenger services – onboard and at the terminal. The mix varies from one vessel or terminal to the next but the goal is always the same: to make your voyage comfortable and enjoyable. On your trip across the water, be sure to look for a variety of onboard amenities like the Coastal Cafe, the Pacific Buffet, the Seawest Lounge and Passages Gift Shop.
BC Ferries has a several appetizing dining options available onboard that vary from one vessel to the next. The Coastal Cafe has an assortment of hot and cold items such as Bread Garden sandwiches, wraps and sushi, White Spot Burgers Onboard, Captain Kids Meals and options from the Healthy Choices Program like a selection of fresh salads. For passengers looking for an elegant dining experience with spectacular ocean views, the Pacific Buffet offers a variety of gourmet choices for an all-inclusive price.
If you are looking to do some onboard shopping, Passages Gift Shop is a great place to find gifts and souvenirs inspired by the West Coast of British Columbia. Passengers will find a wide selection of jewelry, clothing, toys, books and even gift certificates. Simply want to relax onboard? Enjoy the scenic coastal views from the Seawest Lounge – this is the perfect place for passengers looking for a quiet, comfortable and peaceful experience onboard.
There are various passenger services available at our terminals that vary from one terminal to the next. Larger terminals feature markets and coffee shops, play areas and other amenities, while smaller ones have facilities suited to travellers on shorter, inter-island crossings – many with kiosks run by local businesses.
On select routes a guaranteed reservation may be purchased on a first come, first serve basis.
To stay up to date with BC ferries news, promotions, contests and great deals, sign up for the BC Ferries OnBoard Newsletter or join us on Twitter to receive up to the minute notices on specials, deals and services.