Don’t spend half your family getaway crammed in a car. Jump on a ferry and fall in love with your national park reserve, 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 kayak or paddleboard. Discover geocache treasures. Fall asleep to the sound of the waves while camping. Sing a campfire song with a park interpreter.
– Sidney Island: family-time in paradise
Hop on the foot-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.
Need longer than a day to unwind? Disappear for the whole weekend. Borrow the provided wheelbarrow 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 island 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, discover the delight of sleeping in a Douglas Fir forest at Prior Centennial campground or by the salty sea at Shingle Bay campground.
– 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 in hopes to spot whales. If you’re there in the summer, learn about endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale 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.
– SMONEĆTEN Campground (North Saanich) a perfect home base.
Need a quick recharge? Pitch your tent in a fern-lined campsite surrounded by tall cedars—only 25 minutes from Victoria. SMONEĆTEN Campground makes a perfect stopover base from which to explore Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Victoria and the western communities. Bring your bike and ride the nearby regional cycling trails. Or better yet, head to the nearby town of Sidney for a nice meal and a movie and end your evening with a warm drink by the cozy campfire – perfect!