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Unique Things to do in the Southern Gulf Islands

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

Welcome to the Gulf Islands, a hidden gem located in the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia, Canada. This archipelago of over 200 islands is a paradise for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and those seeking a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.



From paddling through serene waters to hiking along forested trails and indulging in local farm-to-table cuisine, the Gulf Islands offer a unique blend of adventure and relaxation. Join us as we explore the top things to do in the Gulf Islands and discover the beauty of this pristine destination.



Things to do in Salt Spring Island (Tsawout Traditional Territory)


Salt Spring Island, located in the traditional territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, is a vibrant community known for its rich culture and array of locally owned businesses. It's a haven for art lovers, with galleries and studios showcasing works by talented artists, while the Saturday Market in downtown Ganges attracts hundreds with its artisanal food products.


For outdoor enthusiasts, the island offers breathtaking views from Mount Maxwell, forest trails to hike or bike through, and several lakes and beaches ideal for swimming and paddling at Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park or Ruckle Provincial Park.


Below are our top 3 things to do on Salt Spring Island


Ruckle Farm has farm activities for visitors to enjoy. They have a farm stand to purchase fresh produce and other products. Farm tours teach about history, growing practices and crops. A "Farm to Table" cooking class teaches how to cook with farm ingredients. Visitors can also participate in a "U-Pick" program to pick berries and vegetables from the fields.


Salt Spring Arts is a non-profit organization located on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada. The organization's mission is to promote and support the arts on the island. Salt Spring Arts operates a gallery space that showcases the work of local artists and artisans. Salt Spring Arts offer art classes for all ages and skill levels in a variety of disciplines such as painting, drawing, printmaking, pottery, photography, and more. Instructors are experienced and passionate about their craft, and classes are offered both in-person and online. They also host workshops, lectures, and events with visiting artists and experts to further engage and connect students with the arts community.


Woodshed Provisions is a food business on Salt Spring Island that makes artisanal foods using locally sourced ingredients. They specialize in creating cured meats, sausages, pâtés, terrines, pickles, smoked salmon, and holiday hams using traditional techniques and high-quality cuts of meat. They also offer catering services and collaborate with local businesses to create unique culinary experiences. The company is committed to supporting the local food community and creating delicious and unique products.


Unique Places to Stay on the island:



Things to do in Mayne Island (W̱SÁNEĆ Traditional Territory)


Mayne Island is a part of the Salish Sea territory, where First Nations people have been fishing and living since 3000 B.C. Helen Point, located at the southern entrance to Active Pass, has been an important place for the Tsartlip First Nations.


Mayne Island has a rich history of farms, including apple orchards and tomato greenhouses established by Japanese immigrants, who were later forced to move to internment camps during WWII. Visitors can enjoy Dinner Bay Park's tranquil Japanese Gardens, and explore the island's surrounding waters for world-class kayaking and warm swimming spots.


Below are our top 3 things to do on Mayne Island


Japanese Memorial Garden is a unique and tranquil spot. The garden serves as a tribute to the Japanese-Canadian residents who were interned during World War II and is maintained by the Mayne Island Japanese Garden Society. The garden features traditional Japanese landscaping and design, including a pond, waterfall, and stone lanterns. Visitors can walk along the paths, relax on the benches, and admire the carefully pruned trees and plants.


The Georgina Point Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse. The lighthouse has acted as a beacon of hope and safety to sailors and vessels since it was built in 1893. Climb the tower to admire its stunning architecture, listen to tales of brave rescue missions, and witness some of the most exquisite sunsets you will ever see. Today, the Georgina Point Lighthouse is a popular attraction on Mayne Island, and visitors can explore the lighthouse and learn about its history.


Shavasana Art Gallery & Café is a place on Mayne Island, BC that showcases local art and crafts. You can visit the gallery from April through December to see different exhibits every six weeks. While there, you can enjoy a coffee or tea and try locally baked treats. It's a great spot to admire art and grab a snack


Unique Places to Stay






Things to do in Galiano Island (W̱SÁNEĆ Traditional Territory and Penelakut Traditional Territory)


Galiano Island is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Located in traditional Penelakut Nation territories, this popular destination offers a variety of activities, from wildlife sightings at the oceanfront and Active Pass lookout points to camping at Montague Harbour Marine Park.


Visitors can also try their luck fishing or take part in whale-watching at Bellhouse Park. For those looking for unique local experiences, Galiano's restaurants, grocers, shops, and art galleries can't be beaten. During the summer months, don't miss out on the Saturday Market where you can shop for local treats and support businesses within the community.


Below are our top 3 things to do on Galiano Island


Yellow House Art Centre is an art gallery and creative space in Pender Island, BC, Canada. It showcases local and international artists, hosts events and workshops, and provides a space for artists to work and collaborate. The center's goal is to promote creativity and artistic expression in the community.



Yogita Yoga Galiano is an online platform that offers a variety of yoga courses and classes. It is led by certified yoga instructor Yogita Bouchard, who has been teaching yoga for over 20 years. The platform offers classes for different levels and styles of yoga, as well as specialized courses on topics like meditation and breathing exercises. There are also resources such as guided meditations and educational materials available. Yogita Yoga Galiano is accessible to anyone with an internet connection and is designed to support individuals in their yoga practice.

Galiano Oceanfront Inn and Spa has breathtaking ocean views to a full-service spa and restaurant with locally sourced ingredients, this resort provides a wonderful setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. For those looking for some outdoor adventures, there are plenty of activities to choose from like kayaking, hiking, and cycling. Whether simply wanting to take in stunning views or engage in exciting outdoor activities, the Galiano Oceanfront Inn & Spa is an ideal destination for your next getaway.


Unique Places to Stay









Things to do in Pender Island (W̱SÁNEĆ Traditional Territory)


Pender Island, part of the Southern Gulf Islands, was once home to Coast Salish communities who spoke the North Straits Salish language. Today, the Tsawout and Tseycum First Nations live on reserve land at Hay Point on South Pender Island.


The island is split into two parts, North Pender and South Pender, and is connected by a narrow canal and a one-lane bridge. The island boasts a diverse landscape with farmland, forests, lakes, mountains, coves, and beaches.


Below are our top 3 things to do on Pender Island


Disc Golf Island is a disc golf course located in a forested area on Galiano Island, BC. The course has 18 holes of varying levels of difficulty and is open to players of all skill levels. The island setting provides a peaceful atmosphere and the course also offers other outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking. The natural beauty of the island and local wildlife make it a great destination for nature lovers.

Sea Star Vineyards offers a wine and food tasting experience that showcases their award-winning wines and locally sourced, farm-to-table cuisine. This experience takes place in the cozy warmth of their Tasting Room during the winter season.




For over four decades, the Pender Island Farmer's Market has been a cornerstone of the island's community identity. The market's vendors offer something for everyone, including farm-fresh produce, eggs, baked goods, flowers, and hot food options. Visitors can also find unique artisan items that make excellent souvenirs.


Unique Places to Stay









Things to do in Saturna Island (W̱SÁNEĆ Traditional Territory)


Saturna Island, one of the Southern Gulf Islands, has a rich history as the traditional territory of the Tseycum First Nation. This Coast Salish community has inhabited the island and surrounding waters for thousands of years. Saturna Island offers breathtaking natural beauty, with pristine forests, rugged coastlines, and stunning views of the Salish Sea


Below are our top 3 things to do on Saturna Island

Heritage Centre (Fog Alarm Building) at East Point Park

The Fog Alarm (also known as Foghorn) Building at East Point was rescued from demolition and transformed into a place-based museum by the Saturna Heritage Committee. The FAB now showcases exhibits about East Point and Saturna Island, including the European exploration of the area in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the lighthouse, the whales, and much more.



Sage Hayward Vineyards is a family-owned estate on Saturna Island, part of BC's Gulf Islands. Our vineyards sit on a south-facing sea bench with fields stretching down to the historic Saturna beach. The landscape is stunning and tranquil, with a limited population of wildlife and seasonal sheep grazing. Relax on our terrace, sip our wines, and enjoy the natural beauty around you.



ArtSaturna is a group of local artists on Saturna Island who formed in 2012 to showcase their work to residents and visitors. They organize exhibitions in various locations around the island that showcase different types of art and crafts. These events offer a chance to discover the unique artistic expressions of Saturna's local talent. ArtSaturna continues to support and promote the local arts community through workshops, events, and other initiatives.


Unique Places to Stay

Image Sourced: Four Winds B&B Site







The Gulf Islands offer an exceptional destination for travelers looking for a unique blend of adventure and relaxation. exploring local nature, immersing yourself in the fascinating culture of the Coast Salish Peoples, and savoring delectable farm-to-table cuisine are all on offer. As you can see there are plenty of activities to enjoy - from hiking trails to art galleries and local food businesses. No matter what your pleasure is, these unique islands have something for everyone. Rise up to the challenge and experience why it's one of Canada's best destinations for adventure and relaxation!

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