Four Breathtaking BC Islands ideal for a long, relaxing vacation or a quick weekend getaway this summer.
Deciding to keep your summer plans close to home this year? Before heading out across the border or packing for that road trip to Okanagan, consider vacationing on some of British Columbia’s beautiful islands. BC is home to an archipelago of islands and each island offers breathtaking scenery, beaches and artistic residential villages. Just a ferry ride away from Vancouver, these four island destinations will have you feeling like you’re a million miles away!
If you’re seeking a quiet, tropical paradise close to home, Hornby Island will be your best bet. It’s definitely more remote than the other islands on the list and takes around three ferries to reach, but it’s well worth the travel-time. Known as the ‘Hawaii of the North’, experience first-hand how fitting that name is with its turquoise blue waters, lush greenery and sandy beaches. Besides exploring the almost tropical beaches, it’s also a haven for canoeing, kayaking and skimboarding. A lot quieter and less populated than the other islands, it is ideal if you’re seeking a secluded, relaxing vacation.
Salt Spring Island
Farmers markets, artisanal shops and gorgeous beaches – Salt Spring Island is a top contender for a BC island getaway as it has something for everyone. Outdoor enthusiasts will be happy with hiking trails, diving, and kayaking. If you’re into local art, there’s no better island to be, as Salt Spring is internationally recognized for its population of artists and musicians! Be sure to visit their Saturday Market, the best in BC, which is where you’ll get a true sense of this island’s vibe. Famous for local art and organic food, including their famous Salt Spring Island cheese, this is a must-do!
As one of the larger islands, Pender Island is actually two islands, North Pender and South Pender, divided by a canal and linked by a one-lane bridge. While majority of the density is on the North island, both are equally beautiful, with over 20 public beach access points. Couple that with its sub-Mediterranean climate, myriad of outdoor activities, and seven parks to explore, it definitely makes for a memorable trip. Pender Island is mostly residential, so expect a lot of peace and tranquility, making it an attractive escape from the city.
Dubbed the ‘Gem of the Gulf Islands’, Galiano Island is extremely accessible, with just a 50-minute sail from the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. This gorgeous island is home to ancient forests and beaches, and has that relaxed beach-town vibe. It’s also a paradise for mountain bikers and hikers, with long trails through the Douglas Fir and Garry Oak Forest. If you’re not an outdoor enthusiast, you can spend the days golfing at the Country Club, relaxing at the spa or checking out some of the island’s local festivals!
Photos: Salt Spring Tourism, istock