Southern Gulf Islands

Active Pass between Galiano and Mayne Islands

The Southern Gulf Islands are the Canadian islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia in the Strait of Georgia. This area is comprised of around twelve inhabited islands, and several hundred more smaller islands and islets. The Gulf Islands are part of a large archipelago that includes Washington State's San Juan Islands. Many of these islands, and the waterways around them, carry the names of the Spanish and English explorers who arrived in the area in the 18th century.

The Gulf Islands afford almost limitless opportunities for boating, kayaking, cycling, diving, hiking, or just communing with nature.

Regions

Map of the South Gulf Islands and ferry routes

The Southern Gulf Islands that are regularly visited are:

Get in

BCFerries operates car ferries to the larger Southern Gulf Islands. Free reservations are strongly recommended, especially in the summer and can be made online at BCFerries or by a Toll Free (North America only) phone call to 1-888-BC-FERRY (1-888-223-3779).

Ports of call include Otter Bay on Pender Island, Sturdies Bay on Galiano Island, Village Bay on Mayne Island, Lyall Harbour on Saturna Island, and Fulford Harbour, Long Harbour, and Vesuvius, all on Salt Spring Island. Travelling within the Southern Gulf Islands sometimes requires first taking the ferry to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island, then changing ferries and doubling back to your destination.

Some of the islands are also serviced by float planes from either the Vancouver harbour or airport.

Get around

Some of the Southern Gulf Islands are connected by an inner-island ferry service.. However, it is sometimes required that people travel to Vancouver Island to get from one island to another.

There are also passenger only water-taxi services which can be used to travel between the islands.

See

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada

There are 7 walk-in (1.7km) or kayak-in backcountry campsites available at Narvaez Bay, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Campsites are accessible from the parking lot at the end of Narvaez Bay Road, and camping fees apply.There is no fresh water available at Narvaez Bay, so please plan accordingly .

Prior Centennial Campground is a 17 site, drive-in campground operated by Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Amenities include potable water, pit toilets, picnic tables and fire pits (seasonally available). Reservations can be made by calling 1-877-737-3783. Beaumont is a popular destination for boaters as it offers 15 mooring buoys. There is a camping area on shore that features 11 rustic backcountry sites (hike-in or kayak-in only). There is no fresh water available at Beaumont, and no campfires are permitted, regardless of season. Currently, there is no reservation system in place for Beaumont (GINPR). Hiking trails on Pender Island include Beaumont (a difficult 1.5 km hike), Mt. Norman (a difficult 1.5 km, 244 metre elevation hike up to a panoramic viewpoint) and Roe lake (a moderate 1.5 km hike). At Roesland, a 15 minute stroll will take you to a former cottage resort dating back to the early 1900's, where you will also be able to visit the locally-operated Pender Island Museum.

For more information about Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, including maps, visitor guides, camping and mooring fees,and interpretive program scheduling, please visit the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve website .

Do

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