Located between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia the Gulf Islands are part of a larger island-chain that includes the American San Juan Islands. And with their gorgeous rich green foliage, Sub-Mediterranean summer weather and roaming pods of Orca whales, it's easy to see why this part of BC is some of the most popular land in the world. Let's begin with the North Gulf Islands…
Included in the Comox Valley Regional District, Denman Island is famous for its summer dances, craft stores and even a museum! Visitors craving a truly rustic experience will enjoy Lasqueti Island, probably the least developed of the island chain. It's also home to the Canada Day Weekend Arts Festival, a celebration of art, sculpture writing and history that takes place every summer. The largest of the Northern Gulf Islands, Texada Island is a popular whale-watching location. Nothing is more breathtaking than witnessing pods of migrating grey whales head north from California to Alaska. Once a haven for Viet Nam War draft-dodgers, the peaceful community of Hornby Island still has the magical look and feel of a hippie commune as well as its share of stunning beaches.
The South Gulf Islands are no less amazing. Once the commercial and social centre for the entire island chain, Mayne Island is home to the historic village of Miners Bay. The privately-owned Thetis Island is a favourite with bird-watchers and naturalist, with public access points all over the island. More the kayaking or canoeing type? Valdes Island is favourite destination for paddlers of all persuasions and is home to Wakes Cove Provincial Park. Bohemian types will be right at home on Galiano Island, a centre for art galleries with a smattering of restaurants and shops as well. Gabriola Island is just off the coast of Nanaimo and boasts numerous public beaches and forests as well as all the expected amenities. Over half of the mountainous Saturna Island makes up Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, a beautiful sanctuary that includes the Russel Reef natural swimming hole. A collage of hills, lakes and forests best describes North and South Pender Island, a community that enjoys a large seasonal population - and no surprise with its many beaches, excellent fishing, and the tour-de-force, a 27-hole disc golf course! Saltspring Island, the largest and most popular of the island group is the cradle of a thriving arts community centered around the charming town of Ganges.
Island Hopping? Do it Canadian-style!