islandparent Things To Do Travel Explore the Gulf Islands

Explore the Gulf Islands

Meet You at the Market

Salt Spring Saturday Market on the waterfront in Ganges is famous for a reason: there’s lots to see and do. Oh, yeah…and the Salt Spring fruitsicles! You’ll find 140+ stallholders who, between April to October from 9am–4pm, sell what they make, bake or grow on.

See the Seashells at the Seashore

Montague Harbour was declared the province’s first marine park in 1959 and the area has been home to Coast Salish people for over 3800 years. You’ll find the middens made of discarded clam, oyster and abalone shells on the seashore. Crushed by storms and bleached by the sun, the shells have created beautiful white beaches, perfect for exploring.

Play in Paradise

Visit Big Tribune Bay on Hornby Island, dubbed “Hawaii of the North” for its crystal-clear blue waters and sweeping sandy beach. With lots of tidal pools to explore at low tide, this Hornby favourite provides a day’s worth of to-dos so pack a picnic and beach toys and kick off your shoes.

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Commandeer a Kayak

Go kayaking on Galiano Island with a kayak from Gulf Island Kayaking and see the sandstone shoreline and maybe even a whale or two. As the original kayak outfitter in the Southern Gulf Islands, the owners chose Galiano as its base because of the exceptional beauty of the island’s undeveloped coastline, the abundance of diverse wildlife and the reliable tranquility of its sheltered waters. For rates and tours, visit

Find the Mountain Fairies

Follow the Fairy Door Trail at Mount Erskine on Salt Spring. A good, stiff hike up the 488-metre mountain takes you past twisted trees, mossy forest floors and an assortment of fairy doors. Be forewarned: the first door is further along the trail than you might expect. For details and a map, visit

Hit the Hilltops

Explore Helliwell Park on Hornby Island and take in some incredible views. This 5km hike is stroller friendly, with an all-terrainer. The expansive grass fields mean lots of room to roam, but beware of the steep cliffs!

Ramble on the Ridge

Hike along Galiano’s 75km+ of trails. One of the best hikes is the 90-minute roundtrip hike in Bodega Ridge Provincial Park. At the top, 328 metres above sea level, you’ll have a spectacular view of Trincomali Channel. Watch for endangered peregrine falcons in this safe critical habitat.

Roam at Roesland

Walk the trail to beautiful Roe Lake on North Pender Island and take a dip. Roesland Park is another outpost of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve; while you’re here, explore the Pender Island Museum.

Visit Vesuvius

Vesuvius Beach on the northwest coast of Salt Spring Island has the warmest swimming waters and stunning sunsets. Another place to swim on Salt Spring is at St. Mary’s Lake where you’ll find a small public beach and, not too far from the beach, a rope swing popular with locals. Cusheon and Stowell Lakes are also popular with families.

Say Cheese!

Visit the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company and take a peek through one of the viewing windows into the cheesemaking facility. Stay for lunch at the café and choose from housemade soups, pizza, salad and a delicious goat cheese cake for dessert.

Try out the Tree House Café

In Ganges and set amidst the trees this quaint and quirky restaurant is a local favourite, one that Lonely Planet called “the kind of place where a hobbit would feel at home.”

Scream for Ice Cream

To cool down, drop by Lix Ice Cream and Espresso on Hornby Island. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the building at Ringside Market, painted with as many colours as there are ice cream flavours.

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