Don’t spend half your family getaway crammed in a car. Jump on a ferry and fall in love with your national park, one island at a time.
Breathe in the fresh, salty air. Feel the warm, west coast sun on your face. Feast your eyes on the beautiful islands surrounding you.
Climb a mountain. Spot a whale. Learn to sail. Discover geocache treasure. Fall asleep to the sound of the waves. Shop at a farmers’ market. Dine on authentic west coast fare. Sing a campfire song with a park interpreter.
Sidney Island: family-time in paradise
Hop on the passenger ferry from Sidney and arrive twenty minutes later at a tranquil island paradise. Kick-off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the warm sand. While your brood builds sandcastles, you’ll have time to snuggle up with a good summer beach read. New in 2015 - Drop-in Saturdays at the interpreter booth in July and August (11 am to 2 pm) for nature crafts and activities.Need longer than a day to unwind? Disappear for the whole weekend. We provide wheelbarrows for you to roll your gear to a campground in the shelter of a jewel-like lagoon.
Pender Island: Leave it all behind.
One short ferry ride to Pender and you’ve made the perfect escape. Will it be a guided kayak trip, a hike up Mount Norman or a rousing game of disc golf at the 27-hole course? Let the youngsters decide. After you’ve burned off some energy, check into a resort and let the pampering begin.
Prefer to forgo comfort for total immersion? Discover the delight of sleeping in a Douglas fir forest at Prior Centennial campground or by the salty sea at the new Shingle Bay campsites. For breakfast, indulge in freshly-picked strawberries from the Saturday Farmer’s Market.
Saturna Island: Where time slows down.
Bond with your family on a laid-back island where you set the pace. Spend the afternoon at East Point watching for whales. If you're there in the summer, learn about endangered orcas from a knowledgeable park interpreter and soak up island lore at the community museum in the heritage fog alarm building.
You’ll want more than a day to explore the trails, beaches and quirky culture of islanders. Stay at a B&B or a backcountry campground near the dazzling waters of Narvaez Bay. Bring home memories of friendly waves from all you pass.
Mayne Island: Satisfy a personal hobby.
Enhance your youngsters’ birding skills at Georgina Point, an important bird area over-looking Active Pass. With a beach access around every corner, soon the whole family will be seabird experts.
Hire a kayak guide, launch from Bennett Bay and discover the wildlife of the Belle Chain Islets.
MacDonald Campground: a perfect homebase.
Need a quick recharge? Pitch your tent in a fern-lined campsite surrounded by tall cedars—only 25 minutes from Victoria. McDonald campground makes a perfect stopover base from which to explore the Gulf Islands, Victoria and the western communities. Bring your bike and ride the nearby regional cycling trails. Or better yet, head to nearby town of Sidney for a nice meal and a movie and end your evening with a warm drink by the cozy campfire - perfect!
Join us for family fun at McDonald campsite. In June, Parks Canada teams up with Mountain Equipment Coop for an overnight Learn-to-Camp event. In July and August, join us for our free weekly Campfire Magic program. Circle up around the fire with a mug of cocoa and new friends!
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