The Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia sit like jewels in the Salish Sea, also known as Georgia Straight, between Vancouver’s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Galiano Island, one of these unique islands, has been our most-visited gulf island destination during our time in the province. A recent visit confirmed our love for Galiano, and here are five reasons why.
1. Short ferry ride
From the BC Ferries terminal in Tsawwassen, it takes just one hour to reach Sturdies Bay terminal on Galiano Island. It’s a short trip to paradise.
2. Montague Harbour Campground
This is the only provincial campground on the Island, and the beautiful forest setting, generous campsites and rustic charm (i.e. no flush toilets), appeal to those who don’t mind simple accommodations. The campground is also just steps to the beach and boat/kayak launch, which is perfect for quick beach access for the kids. For those who wish grander accommodations, check out the lovely Galiano Inn. There are also many B&Bs to choose from on the Island.
3. Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park
This Marine Park is home to famous white-shell beaches (and Midden) which are the result of 3,000 years of Aboriginal shellfish consumption. The large piles of shells have been broken down by the ocean tide and redeposited on the shore, making for a striking white beach that you can walk along and have fun searching for sea glass.
4. The Bluffs
Bluffs Park offers a hiking trail complete with stunning views of Mayne Island and Active Pass, where east and west-bound ferries cross in a narrow channel against fierce and competing currents. It’s a great spot for a picnic, and to see eagles gliding upwards on the warm winds.
5. Nature & Wildlife
Galiano is an ecologically rich place. Forests, beaches, and intertidal areas abound and can keep kids busy and interested for a surprisingly long time. As we enjoyed our view from Bluffs Park, a total of six bald eagles rode the air currents above our heads. Nature doesn’t get more impressive than that.
[travellingmom tip: Bring the bikes along, but note that Galiano is a hilly island that will be a challenging ride, particularly for younger children.]
Have you visited Galiano or any of the Southern Gulf Islands? What did you enjoy the most?