This scenic seaside hideaway is the perfect jumping-off point for hikes, paddles and other family-centric activities
Beautiful British Columbia offers endless options when it comes to family getaways. But my recent visit to Taku Resort and Marina on Quadra Island proves that it’s one of B.C.’s best-kept secrets for family-friendly fun.
To get to Quadra Island, take a 10-minute ferry ride from Campbell River on Vancouver Island. While it’s the largest of the Discovery Islands, there are no traffic lights and public transit isn’t available either—which should already clue you in to how relaxed life here is.
Taku Resort takes that ethos very seriously, too. Located 10 minutes from the Quadra Island ferry terminal by car, the 15-room, family-run establishment is surrounded by the serene waters of Drew Harbour. It offers cozy beachfront A-frame cabins, spacious beach-house suites, modern terrace suites and a tree-house suite, as well as camping and RV parking.
Here’s what to eat, see and do in and around the resort…
1. Explore the great outdoors
Quadra Island Kayaks Quadra Island offers 200 kilometres of hiking and biking trails and more than 250 rock-climbing routes, as well as plenty of water-related activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, diving and snorkelling.
An easy hike that’s popular with locals is the trail to Morte Lake, a 15-minute drive from Taku Resort. Between tasting edible berries along the way and dipping my feet into the lake’s refreshingly cool waters, my guide Chris Arends, co-owner of Quadra Island Kayaks, dished out handy wilderness survival tips and demonstrated how to extract resin from cedar trees and use it as fuel for fires.
For something a tad more accessible, there’s Rebecca Spit Provincial Park, which is only eight minutes away from Taku Resort by car. Stop by for a picnic, play Frisbee on a grassy field or take a leisurely stroll to the beach—the choice is yours.
2. Marvel at the Island’s diverse wildlife
Taku Resort is an ideal place to spot a wide variety of wildlife. During my stay in late July, there were whales fin-slapping in the distance across from the Taku Resort dock. Luckier folk have had encounters with a pod of 50 dolphins, or have even seen orcas and humpback whales and their calves.
The best way to encounter wildlife? Head out on a daytime or sunset paddle (run by Quadra Island Kayaks) around Drew Harbour, where you and your little ones can observe intertidal life like sea stars and keep your eyes peeled for whales.
Another fun local tip: venture out to the shoreline at Taku Resort around midnight and you’ll probably be rewarded with views of bioluminescent plankton in the water.
3. Check out Indigenous art and artifacts
Housed within the walls of the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre, a 15-minute drive from the resort, are close to 120 artifacts that were formerly confiscated as part of the Anti-Potlatch laws. These range from majestic totem poles to elaborate masks used in the potlatch ceremonies.
A guided tour by artist-in-residence Brad Assu is a must. He regaled us with stories of his great-grandfather, chief Billy Assu, and a sea eagle dance he did as part of a potlatch in 1986 (the mask now hangs proudly in the centre). Assu also gave a brief tour of the carving shed, which had totem poles in various stages of progress (he usually takes about four months to complete one).
Across from the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre is the House of Eagles, which Assu built in a year to represent four families from the Kwakwaka'wakw People. After admiring its intricate carvings and bold, bright colours, head to the big boulders in the same plot of land for a close-up look of the petroglyphs, an ancient form of rock art. Whether you’re four or 40, you’ll be equally intrigued (and impressed) by them.
4. Tuck into hearty fare
Isabel OngWhile Taku Resort does not have a restaurant on its premises, its cabins and suites have kitchens that are stocked with everything you need. There’s also the Stone House, a quaint hexagon-shaped structure by the water that guests can book for communal-style meals.
Don’t be fooled by Quadra Island’s rather rustic setting, though; your options for dining out with the kids are plentiful. Stop by Coveside Seafood Eatery for generous portions of fish and chips, fresh fish tacos and halibut chowder (Taku Resort’s owner, Fei Wong, is a fan), and feast on seafood pasta or sockeye salmon at The Heriot Bay Inn’s Herons Restaurant patio.
5. Enjoy handcrafted local wine
Isabel OngA 17-minute drive from Taku Resort brings you to Southend Farm Winery, aka Quadra Island’s only winery. Ben McGuffie and Jill Ogasawara, the couple who own it, started making wine for fun. Business officially started in 2009, and they’ve been growing grapes on the family compound and producing a range of whites and reds ever since.
Besides taking advantage of their complimentary tastings (we recommend Siegerrebe, a locally made white; and Principles, a Cabernet Franc made with Okanagan grapes), pair your bottle of vino with a jar of the winery’s homemade rose petal jam and cold-smoked scallop—I couldn’t resist buying some home!
6. Join a local event
Isabel OngYour stay at Taku Resort will not be complete without experiencing a slice of local life. The locals hold a Ted talk-style event cheekily named University of Quadra at the Heriot Bay Inn pub, where they present on topics from hummingbirds to chainsaw maintenance and kayak building. There are also weekly karaoke nights every Tuesday from 9 p.m. at the pub.
For other insider tips, Taku Resort’s general manager Lynden McMartin and Quadra Island Kayak’s Kassy Arends are who you should look to for information on where to fish, the best time to kayak and more.
7. Kick back in absolute comfort
Isabel OngStaying indoors is a perfectly legitimate thing to do while vacationing, and Taku Resort’s terrace suites are great for families or large groups looking to do just that.
I stayed in the three-bedroom suite, which is split into two levels and includes a spacious living area and bathroom, as well as a sunny patio and balcony. The suites have recently been renovated, so furnishings were new and in very good condition. And while Wi-Fi was spotty during my stay, it also made unplugging a lot easier.
In short: If you’re looking for a place where time almost seems to slow down as you (and your fam) rest and recharge, you know where you need to go.
Isabel OngIsabel Ong