B.C.'s Gulf Islands are little pockets of paradise, scattered off the coast of Vancouver Island in the Salish Sea. BC Ferries connects them, so you can sail across the ocean and visit these tiny idyllic islands.
You can set sail any time of year to have a scenic getaway, but summer retreats on the Gulf Islands are especially dreamy. You can take a dip in the clear blue waters of Hornby Island, or explore the breathtaking trails of Saturna Island when the weather is warm.
Here are five Gulf Islands you'll want to head to via BC Ferries before the fall weather kicks in.
Why You Need To Go: With sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and lush greenery all around, this place will make you feel like you're somewhere far away on vacation.
Hornby Island is home to three stunning provincial parks and a wide range of breathtaking hiking trails. For a picture-perfect summer afternoon, spend the day in the shallow waters of Tribune Bay Provincial Park.
Salt Spring Island
Why You Need To Go: The biggest of the islands, Salt Spring is a go-to destination that's only about a 30-minute ferry ride from Victoria's Swartz Bay ferry terminal.
On the island you'll find lavender farms, cideries, wineries, and a ton of little shops — so you won't be bored here.
Drive around the island and you'll spot farm stands on the side of the road where you can stop in and grab some goodies, leaving your cash in a box.
Why You Need To Go: If you want views for days, this is the island to check out. Galiano Island is an explorer's dream come true, with unique sandstone caves, ancient forests, and beautiful beaches.
BC Ferries will get you to this island from the Tsawwassen ferry terminal near Vancouver, or the Swartz Bay ferry terminal near Victoria.
Why You Need To Go: This picturesque island will have you pulling your camera out immediately. Hike up Mount Warburton Pike while here, or sit on the shore and wait for an orca or seal to swim by.
The Fog Alarm Building on the island is a museum with different exhibits to check out, and its beautiful coastal setting makes it worth a trip alone.
Be prepared for a long trip from Vancouver though, as you have to transfer between ferries. BC Ferries has multiple departures running from Swartz Bay to the Southern Gulf Island, including Saturna.
Why You Need To Go: This small island is full of vibrant nature and has a welcoming community.
Take the ferry from Vancouver or Victoria and you can spend a peaceful day on this little gem.
Check out some of the local art studios on the island, have a drink at Mayne Island Brewing Company, or take just sit back and take in nature.
Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.