If you love nature and the simple life, head to Galiano Island in British Columbia, Canada for a serene, seaside getaway. The Canadian gulf island is located right between Vancouver Island and the mainland, and accessible by ferry from the Tsawwassen ferry terminal (to Sturdies Bay; see schedules).
Did you know? Galiano Island was named after the Spanish explorer, captain Dionisio Alcala Galiano, who sailed through BC waters and drew up the first sea charts for the area in 1792. The island is only 27.5km long and no more than 6km wide (meaning lots of coastlines to explore).
Having spent Easter weekend 2017 there, here’s my guide on the best things to do on Galiano Island:
Galiano Oceanfront Inn & Spa – located right next to the Sturdies Bay ferry terminal with oceanfront suites and spa. Delicious food and popular place for weddings and retreats.
Richard’s airbnb – a cosy Nepalese-decorated home with 1 double bed, several futons and a loft bedroom, kitchen and outdoor balcony overlooking the forest with a partial sea view.
Crane & Robin – seaside restaurant at Montague Harbour with outdoor seating on the deck. Serves seafood-heavy menu of tacos, salads, sandwiches and surprisingly, pho (obviously not very authentic).
pilgrimme – uber hipster place for serious foodies who love farm-to-table dining. Everything tastes “just plucked” from the earth; menu is mainly veggie focused with some seafood and meat dishes.
Scoops Ice Cream & Burger Bar – no frills diner with generous portions of Island Farms ice cream, fish and chips, burgers, onion rings, etc. on the menu. Close to the ferry terminal.
Sturdies Bay Bakery & Cafe – small artisanal bakery and cafe with fresh bread and famous cinnamon buns (could use more cream cheese frosting). Cheese scones taste better than sweet scones as the texture is more bread-like. Good coffee!
Galiano Island Books – pretty well stocked bookstore with an outdoor extension full of books on sale. Great selection of local and quirky books too.
Daystar Market – fresh produce with a small coffee shop and gift store inside selling local jewellery, soaps, t-shirts and cards. Garden plants sold outside, DVD rentals at the cashier.
Ixchel Craft Shop – cute little store full of eclectic, exotic finds from local and international artisans. Look for Tortilla, the owner’s rescue dog that’s a mix of chihuahua, dachshund and Jack Russell.
Bellhouse Park – a picnic spot overlooking the ‘Active Pass’, where whales normally transit through the ocean. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any orcas 🙁
Spotlight Cove – the perfect place to catch the sunset. We even saw a seal pop its head up out of the water to look at us for a good 2 minutes!
Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park – a nice place to soak up the rays, look at the sea shells in the sand, and/or do a quick ‘hike/walk’ around.
All-in-all, Galiano Island is a simple, back-to-basics place where you can take in the best of BC nature (fresh air and ocean views) and unwind from the modern world.
Get more info at galianoisland.com.