From must-see attractions to outdoor adventures and more, discover and explore the best B.C. has to offer
Whether you grew up on the West Coast, have recently moved here, or are just planning to visit, there's no doubt you've got a bunch of adventures you can't wait to cross off your bucket list. To help you prioritize, we're sharing some of our must-do B.C. experiences so you don't miss out.Photo credit: Tim Gouw
Experience: Explore the largest Southern Gulf Island in British Columbia
Location: Salt Spring Island
From Vancouver: There are three B.C. Ferries routes to get to Salt Spring Island. Arrivals and departures for Vancouver go via Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to Long Harbour. The Ferry from Crofton on Vancouver Island arrives at Vesuvius, and the Ferry from Swartz Bay near Victoria on Vancouver Island arrives via funky Fulford Harbour.
Bucket list factor: Salt Spring Island may be British Columbia's largest Southern Gulf Island, but the (roughly) 27-kilometre-long and 14-kilometre-wide stretch of land situated between mainland B.C. and Vancouver Island takes a mere 45 minutes to drive from top to bottom. While this makes it possibly one of the shortest road trips in Canada, it's certainly no less fun.
Whether you're looking for a romantic trip escape, a getaway with friends, or just some one-on-one time with nature, the island offers an escape to simpler times that you won't find in many other places. With deer roaming the natural woodland, towering trees and a dramatic coastline, you'll also find an abundance of local produce, a thriving artisan scene, and a laid-back island charm that will be hard to say goodbye too.
There are plenty of things to see and do on Salt Spring, but here our some of our must-do experiences to give you a taste of what the island has to offer.
The award-winning and entirely family-owned and -operated company makes all its cheese by hand using traditional methods and natural ingredients. With flavours including garlic, basil, chiili and olive tapenade, sample your favourite cheeses before grabbing lunch in the beautiful courtyard. Visitors can also wander around the farm to see the animals, enjoy the scenery, and watch the cheese being made.Facebook/The Southern Gulf Islands
This boutique lavender farm is nestled on the edge of sacred Mount Tuam (near Fulford Harbour) and displays up to 60 varieties of lavender. With two acres of lavender fields, the plant is grown for lavender buds, bunches and for distilling essential oils which can be bought from the onsite shop.
Insider tip: If you want to catch the lavender in full bloom, make sure to plan your trip accordingly, as the peak bloom of lavender happens in the summer months from July to August.
Located in the middle of the forest, the Solace Organic Spa is one of the premier organic spas in Canada and the first hydrotherapy experience on the Gulf Islands. Offering everything from signature skin and body treatments to spa parties and solace for two, you'll also have access to an outdoor hot tub, infrared sauna, cold cedar plunge pool and outdoor relaxation.
With picked and pressed fruit from the wild, old orchards on Salt Spring Island, the Wild Cider House is a must-visit during your tour if artisanal craft ciders are your thing. Try a flight, share a bottle and sit down for a full lunch and dinner (indoor and outdoor seating available), while overlooking the farm setting, orchard and valley below.
Fun fact: Salt Spring Island was once the largest producer of apples in B.C., and the island is still covered in apple trees that are more than 100 years old. There's even an annual apple festival to celebrate this nutritious fruit.
Originally established for its distinctive landmark viewing point, Mount Maxwell Park is one of the highest points on Salt Spring Island and offers breathtaking panoramic views of Vancouver Island, the surrounding Gulf Islands, and the mainland of British Columbia. It's recommended that you have a 4x4 vehicle to get to the top, but you can always park your car at the end of Seymour Heights and hike the Mountain Trail to Baynes Peak.
From stunning hikes and adventurous activities, unique stays, the wonderful Ganges town, artisan markets, local wineries, distilleries, eateries and everything in between, there is so much to explore on this wonderful little island.
For more information on this one-of-a-kind island, visit here.Facebook/The Southern Gulf Islands