British Columbia – Part 2: Gulf Islands, the Discovery Passage and Beyond

Off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, in the Salish Sea, are the Gulf Islands of British Columbia including Salt Spring, Gabriola, Galiano, Mayne, Pender and Saturna among many others. The extensive ferry service is half the fun of exploring these islands, each with their own unique charms and offerings but generally known for their rural character and natural beauty.

On a visit to these islands you will encounter artists, wineries, farms and all kinds of local goods. You can enjoy boating, kayaking, hiking, fishing, camping and wildlife viewing and as much rest and relaxation as you desire.

Further north and west of the Gulf Islands is the Discovery Passage and a chain of islands that include Quadra and Cortes. The Discovery Islands dot the intricate waterways that are part of the larger Inside Passage, the sea vessel route connecting Washington and Alaska. From here, land and sea activities abound and several outfitters run exciting and beautiful multi-day kayak and camping trips.

If you have the time and crave even more adventure, keep heading to the west on Vancouver Island to Port Hardy, from where a 12-hour ferry ride will take you up to the Great Bear Rainforest and Bella Coola Valley for kayaking, fishing, hiking and grizzly bear tours. From Bella Coola, you can take several days or more to do the long but beautiful drive back to Vancouver through Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, Anahim Lake, and the wide-open spaces of the Chilcotin and Caribou regions—BC’s historic Wild West.

Not up for that long journey by land or sea? For an unforgettable experience, you can visit the Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, one of the most remote and stunning places in the world, accessible by floatplane or helicopter from Vancouver Island or downtown Vancouver.

Below are some of the great places to stay and explore in this part of BC. Whether it is a luxurious fly-in remote wilderness lodge, a cute B&B, or a rustic camp that beckons you, I can help you have an unforgettable time with your family in BC. Let’s plan it!

Gulf Islands
Cusheon Lake Resort (Salt Spring Island)
Hastings House (Salt Spring Island)
Savary Island Resort
Mayne Island Resort

Discovery Islands
Taku Resort (Quadra Island)
Discovery Islands Lodge (Quadra Island. They also run multi-day kayak trips.)

Great Bear Rainforest 
Bella Coola Mountain Lodge
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort

Chilcotin Plateau
Tweedsmuir Park Lodge (Tweedsmuir Provincial Park)
Eagle’s Nest Resort  (Anahim Lake)

Cariboo Region
Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort