by Female Abroad

There are a few different itineraries that can be taken when renting a boat in Vancouver to explore the magnificent British Columbian Gulf Islands. Gulf Island options include Gabriola Island, Galiano Island, Maybe Island, Pender Island, Salt Spring Island, and Saturna Island. These islands sit along the eastern coastline of Vancouver Island and run from Saturna close to the USA and Canada boarder, and up to Nanaimo. The Gulf Islands are scattered throughout the Salish Sea, just off the coast of Nanaimo.

Each island is unique, yet they all share the breathtaking majesty that the region is known for. The inhabitants of the islands are a remarkably diverse and creative group, which makes the region a fantastic destination for tourists. The list of inhabitants are a mix of retiring business moguls, mystics, scholars, artisans, cheesemakers, and more. This multicultural mix of people suggests that the atmosphere is on "island time," which is simply code for sit back, relax, take in the scenery, and don't rush around.

There are a few hundred more little islands that are top choices for natural life and flora but the six or so larger islands, where you can find the residents already mentioned, are the most popular. Over this cluster of islands, there are a ton of workouts to undertake with many opportunities nearby for hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking if you consider yourself more of an active explorer.

Additionally, there are opportunities to engage in leisurely pursuits like birdwatching, tanning, and beachcombing. If you are a skilled photographer, there is certainly enough to capture, including isolated plantations, flocks of sheep, and obviously the breathtaking perspective on mountain trails. The various island spas and wellness centres, where you may enjoy services like reflexology, fragrance-based treatments, mineral showers, sea-salt cleansers, and hydrotherapy, are another extremely relaxing option. There are also options to join a yoga practice or fully immerse yourself in a retreat for reflection.

On the island are also a notable collection of pubs, cafés, and diners on six islands where you can unwind and take in the scenery. Another way to unwind is to visit a craftsmanship workshop.

Currently, it is possible to explore the majority of the Gulf Island group's six main islands thanks to the possibility of boat rentals in Vancouver or even taking a BC Ferry. To get the most out of your time on the West Coast, combine the time spent cruising just outside of Vancouver with another activity in Vancouver. The best time to visit if you are planning on boating is between June and October during the mild weather.

Every island has quite an exceptional vibe, there is something for everybody, and well worth a visit no matter which island you are able to visit.

Recommended Tours

Through our affiliation with Viator, a Tripadvisor company, we are able to suggest the following highly rated tours. For more information, click the blue link to visit Viator's website for more information, to check availability and prices, as well as to purchase.

Sailing Experience on a 50’ sailboat

Get a new perspective on Vancouver by getting out onto the water. This small-group boat tour takes you sailing around the city and its harbor aboard a 44-foot Beneteau sailboat. Relax with an included drink and snack as you take in the views of Coal Harbour, Stanley Park, Passage and Bowen Islands, Point Atkinson, Howe Sound and even more.

Half-Day Whale Watching Adventure from Vancouver - winner of Viator's Experience Award 2022

This whale-watching adventure from downtown Vancouver gives you the chance to see whales and other marine life. Hop aboard the 'Salish Sea Dream' our 80-foot flagship catamaran, and keep your eyes peeled from one of several viewing areas.. Learn about the local history and geology from knowledgeable crew on board, and soak up views of the Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands, and Howe Sound.

Vancouver Harbor and Indian Arm Lunch Cruise

Delight in the beauty of Vancouver on a lunch cruise along the city’s gorgeous waterfront. Enjoy a unique dining experience as your float through Vancouver’s Inner Harbor, Burrard Inlet, and Indian Arm—a dramatic glacial fjord. Stroll the deck, indulge in a freshly prepared buffet and take in the beautiful sights including the Coast Mountains, verdant forests, and local wildlife.

Granite Falls Zodiac Tour

Experience Vancouver sights by water on this 3-hour zodiac-boat tour from Granville Island. Cross False Creek and admire Siwash Rock, an iconic stone spire located near the Lion’s Gate Bridge. In Vancouver Harbour, learn about the waterfront landmarks. Venture into Deep Cove and the glacial fjord of the Indian Arm, for incredible views of granite cliffs that you can only see by boat. Capture the beauty of Granite Falls and Silver Falls before heading back. - locals that have boats head up to Granite Falls for a clean beach and the falls have a natural water slide you can slide down.