For many residents of British Columbia, there’s no need to leave the province to get a taste of island life! And for visitors to the province during the hot summer months, there is a pleasing selection of beachfront holiday options available.
For many residents of British Columbia, there's no need to leave the province to get a taste of island life! And for visitors to the province during the hot summer months, there is a pleasing selection of beachfront holiday options available. Of course, Vancouver Island is always a fantastic choice for those looking for a hybrid of city life and island wilderness – and can easily be accessed via BC Ferries from the mainland. But for those looking for a little adventure and a more remote setting, the following islands not only feature mesmerizing ocean and mountain views from all sides, but they also provide the perfect environment for a family, group or couples holiday. This summer, consider these 6 amazing summer island getaways for your next vacation in BC.
Although technically the Sunshine Coast is a part of mainland BC, the 180 km stretch of coastal land can only be accessed by ferry, boat or float plane due to the surrounding rugged terrain. Because of this – and the Coast's breathtaking beaches and clear skies, it's easy to forget you're not on an island.
Located on the Eastern shore of the Strait of Georgia, the Sunshine Coast can be broken up into the North Coast, the South Coast, and the Islands. The South Coast includes popular destinations such as Gibsons, Sechelt and Point Roberts, while the North Coast consists of the more remote Powell River, Saltery Bay and Lund. The Islands vary in size, and attract many BC residents during the summer for their beautiful beaches and true island experience.
Visitors to the Sunshine Coast have plenty of options for entertainment and activities perfect for a summer vacation. These include visiting award-winning craft breweries in Gibsons, riding world renowned mountain biking trails in Sechelt, exploring the flood tides in Egmont, and even participating in the weekend sand castle competitions on Texada Island.
Where to Stay
If you're looking to be in the centre of the action with access to all ends of the Sunshine Coast, the Painted Boat Resort Spa and Marina offers spacious suites with fantastic water views and is located only minutes away from Madeira Park and Beaver Island!
Pender Island makes up one of two scenic southern Gulf Islands that can be conveniently accessed by ferry, float plane or water taxi from the mainland. Divided into North Pender and South Pender, these picturesque islands are located between the bustling city of Vancouver and the historic city of Victoria on Vancouver Island, and offer an easy getaway for locals, commuters and visitors to the area.
Because of the pleasant sub-Mediterranean climate, Pender Island has become a hugely popular spot for adventure seekers on the hunt for some of the best fishing, hiking, boating and outdoor activities in the province. Golf-lovers will also be pleased with the island's 9-hole golf course. Year-round island activities include fall fairs, local events, art gallery showings, festivals and farmer's markets.
Where to Stay
For a luxury island vacation suitable for both romantic getaways or family trips, the Poets Cove Resort and Spa in South Pender features private lodges, cottages and villas with amazing amenities. The private marina even allows you to moor your boat while you're exploring the area.
Located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Nootka Sound is surrounded by beautiful BC mountains in addition to the forested islands gathered at the mouth of the inlet. Known for its deep historical roots as the “birthplace” of BC, the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) were the region's first inhabitants and the first people in BC to meet European settlers.
Nootka Sound, which runs on the eastern side of Nootka Island, is a haven for kayakers, hikers and anglers. Guided kayaking tours will lead adventurers along the rocky coast and sandy beaches, while navigating the surrounding islands and coves. Sea life and other wildlife is abundant in this rainforest environment, and guests have a very good chance of spotting orca whales, eagles, bears and seals during their stay. A perfect spot for nature lovers and explorers, Nootka Sound showcases a different side of Vancouver Island.
Where to Stay
If you're looking for something a little off-the-grid, consider staying in one of our luxury yurts, provided by Moutcha Bay Resort in Nootka Sound. Located in the remote section at the mouth of Conuma River, the resort also offers an oceanside chalet or lodge suite ideal for vacationing groups.
Prince Rupert, located on Kaien Island, is a cozy marine city offering breathtaking ocean and mountain views of Northern BC. Deep in the heart of the province's untamed wilderness, those visiting Prince Rupert will have ample opportunity to partake in a multitude of exciting outdoor activities. Among BC's trusted adventure sports such as cycling and hiking, the city also offers ziplining, wilderness hikes and tours, climbing and caving.
For those interested in Prince Rupert's strong First Nations culture and history, among other attractions, the city proudly displays traditional totem poles in the downtown core that can't be missed. And for all those food and seafood lovers out there, an assortment of lounge restaurants in the area produce incredible dishes using the freshest seafood catch of the day.
Where to Stay
Right in the heart of downtown Prince Rupert, the Crest Hotel provides convenient access to all the town has to offer. Surrounded by incredible harbour views and towering mountain ranges, this coastal summer vacation is exactly what you need to relax.
For a truly unique remote experience, venture to secluded Desolation Sound, located at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast and flanked by islands and mountains. Whether you're travelling by plane or sea, the views of the outlying islands and sparkling ocean are so stunning, you'll think you're dreaming.
A great adventure for everyone, visiting Desolation Sound may attract water lovers in particular. The warm Salish Sea not only attracts kayakers navigating the islands and coves, but also makes Desolation Sound Marine Park an ideal spot for swimmers, scuba divers and anglers. The Park itself is the largest marine park BC and is split up into three anchorages: Prideaux Haven, Tenedo's Bay and Grace Harbour.
Spot seals lounging on rocks under the sun, try your hand at either freshwater or salt water fishing, or enjoy the views from your boat – whatever you do here, you'll feel like you're in paradise.
Where to Stay
Guests can access Desolation Sound Resort from Powell River, only a 30 minutes drive away, or from Lund, only 7 km away. The resort provides kayaks and canoe rentals to enjoy, in addition to the selection of activities Desolation Sound offers.
Sometimes all you need is a day trip or weekend vacation to reset and unwind after long days at the office. And although Salt Spring Island may be the most popular of the Gulf Islands, it still remains rich with island vibes and West Coast appeal. Located only an hour away from Victoria's Swartz Bay Terminal, and 2 hours out from Tsawwassen Terminal on the mainland, Salt Spring Island is a great choice for city-dwellers seeking a refreshing sea breeze and island warmth.
Hosting a huge selection of dining options, farmers markets, spas, music and art performances and more, visitors to the island can also delve into the variety of outdoor activities on hand. Some of these include wildlife tours, biking, hiking, sailing, surfing, and soaking in the island's hot springs.
Where to Stay
For guests looking for a great location with access to the Gulf Islands as well as the southern part of Vancouver Island, Brentwood Bay Resort is a fantastic option. Only a 20 minute drive from Swartz Bay Terminal, the resort is nestled in Victoria's wine country and offers a number of outdoor and water activities.
If any of the above island destinations have caught your eye, we can help you with all your accommodation needs. Call our Destination Experts at 1.877.902.1616 for more information!