Quadra Island is a 10-minute ferry ride from Campbell River. The Spanish names of some of these islands are evidence of the Spanish explorers who came to this area in the 1700s. It is home to many local artisans and potters. This 35km island boasts the Rebecca Spit Provincial Marine Park and the Octopus Islands Provincial Marine Park. Cape Mudge Lighthouse is also worth a look.
Cortes Island, a 40-minute ferry ride from Quadra Island hosts abundant wildlife, motor boat free Hague Lake for swimming, arts and crafts, and many festivals including a seafood festival in May.
Denman Island is home to farms and art galleries. Located via a 10-minute ferry ride from Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island, this 19 km long, 5 km wide island offers white sand beaches for swimming, great paddling, and the Sandy Island Marine Park, otherwise known as Seal Island.
Hornby Island has some of the best and warmest ocean swimming on the West Coast. Beautiful views from the bluffs show off the west coast’s natural splendour. Go kayaking, mountain biking, or hiking. For the scientifically curious, the Hornby Island Natural History Centre and the Island Stars Astronomical Observatory are excellent. Get here via Denman Island and a short ferry ride from Gravelly Bay.
Texada Island is the largest Gulf Island, at 50km long. Once a whaling station, and still hosting a working limestone quarry, Texada offers three museums, biking, hiking, fishing, swimming, and scuba diving. Bird watchers will find over 250 resident and migrant species to spot here. Restaurants and cafés offer something for every palate.
Lasqueti Island is accessible via a foot-passenger ferry from French Creek, is largely undeveloped, and has no paved roads.
Jedidiah Island is entirely located within the Jedidiah Provincial Marine Park. This sparsely populated island is accessible by kayak or charter boat only.
Savary Island, otherwise known as the “Hawaii of the North,” is located at the entrance to Desolation Sound. This tiny island (0.8-1.5km wide, 7.5km long) island has a permanent population of 100. It offers amazing white-sand beaches. Accessible only via water taxi, and has no facilities (washrooms, garbage bins).
Sointula, once known as Malcolm Island, was settled by a group of Finnish who were employed in the coal mines in Nanaimo. Seeking a different and better way of life, they made arrangements with the government to set up a community on this island off the northern coast of Vancouver Island. Now known as Sointula, which means “place of harmony” in Finnish, these pioneers were looking for a utopian socialist community life style. The community suffered many setbacks along the way, but still survives to this day.