SUMMER BOATING | Exploring the Pacific West Coast

There is no arguing that summer is the best time to be out on the water. It's calmer, it's warm - everything is sparkling. It's the ideal time to interact with our coasts as often as you can. Whether you are looking forward to a few weeks away in a destination you've planned for months, or you are tossing the lines off the dock on a sunny afternoon and setting off to wherever the tide takes you (we hope you get to do this often!), we encourage you to get out there and celebrate the beauty of our coast. 

We here on the West Coast of Canada are blessed with a ton of small islands to explore. Why not get out there and find some awesome coastal hideaways? There are so many hidden (and some not so hidden) spots to discover and tour. Here are a few of our favourites in the waters nearby the Southern end of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. 

Boat Only

For the mariner who wants to visit those special spots only accessible by the sea, these gems are worth dropping anchor for.

Sidney Spit

Just a few kilometres away from Sidney, BC, this narrow finger of land offers thousands of metres of white sandy beaches to wander along. Perfect for a sunbathe, a picnic, or a long, leisurely ocean-side stroll. Pretty much as close as us cold-water mariners are going to get to tropical in these parts!

Portland Island

Get ready to explore the cliffs and beaches along over 10km of walking trails that traverse this Island. Count how many different trees you can find, and identify which grew naturally, and which are part of gardens planted long ago. Pro Tip: Look for fruit you can forage...we give you our totally unofficial permission. Located between Sidney and Salt Spring Island. 

Russell Island

A good stop for a spot with a little extra history. There are still remnants of the Hawaiian Mahoi natives who originally inhabited the Island in the late 1880s. (We sort of get why they left for hotter climates) Located at the entrance to Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island.

Wallace Island

There is something inexplicably sweet & calm about this little place. Make your trip an overnighter and stay in one of the campsites (pit toilets & picnic tables available). There is a small dingy dock to tie up to, and stern tie rings to claim. Located in the Trincomali Channel between Salt Spring and Galiano Islands.

 

Boat or Car

If you're not sure what your summer plans are yet, or you just prefer the spontaneity of heading off on a weekend, boat or car, to whatever local destination is next on the list, these options give you more travel choices, as they can be reached by boat or car.

Ganges, Salt Spring Island

Our hometown! Ganges is at the heart of the biggest of the Southern Gulf Islands, and is where SALT's first store is located. Whether you're coming by ferry, or by a boat of your own, you'll be able to enjoy wandering through the shops, sitting in our restaurants, & interacting with our eccentric locals. Saturdays are busiest but they treat you to the infamous Saturday Market full of local food and artisanal creations. It's a must attend. We're a little biased, but we think it's a great spot to spend a day or a weekend!

Genoa Bay

A bay of rustic buildings and notable charm, with a restaurant that totes a number of high reviews. A good place to relax, or get out and stretch your legs with a hike. Located on Vancouver Island, near Duncan. 

Gabriola Island

A little further North across from Nanaimo, you'll find this small but thriving community. A stop in here promises parks, beaches, and fresh local cuisine. Rent a bike or a scooter and tour the island beyond the marina!

Along the way to any of these beautiful West Coast spots, there are multiple opportunities to swim, fish, and watch marine life like seals, otters, and if you are extra lucky, dolphins or whales. We have one of the most diverse populations of cold-water marine life living in our waters. Spot a spider crab hanging onto bull kelp, vibrant purple starfish clinging to rocks, or playful sea anemones waving their tentacles in a tidal pool or peeking out from under a dock. All these creatures and the habitats they live in deserve our protection. On your merry travels, take care with your waste, your fuel, and where you plant your feet as you walk. Responsible visitors mean those places you so enjoy discovering stay beautiful for generations to come. 

Stay safe and Bon Voyage! We'll see you on the water! 

Where are your favourite places to come ashore in the summer? We are always looking for our next favourite spot! Seriously, we showed you ours, you show us yours.

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