Come and experience island living at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. A peaceful refuge just a short ferry ride from Vancouver, and one of Canada’s newest national parks, GINPR is truly a special place - rich in nature, rich in island culture.
The park -- a mosaic of lands and waters across 15 islands, islets and reefs in the Southern Gulf Islands -- protects one of the most beautiful and ecologically at risk areas in Canada. Blessed by a Mediterranean climate (and located within a rain shadow), the area receives 40% less annual precipitation than Vancouver.
Plan for a leisurely rest break (stay at a B&B, visit the colourful island markets, stroll the beaches, picnic beside the sea) or come prepared for a more active getaway (hiking, camping, kayaking and boating). Soak in the spectacular view and watch for the abundant marine life (whales, porpoises, sea lions, seals, eagles, herons and oystercatchers among others).
During the summer season, you are welcome to take in the fun (and free!) scheduled interpretive programs, or head out on your own to discover the park’s Top Ten destinations as part of the park’s geocaching treasure hunt (visit the park web site at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/gulf for more info).
Vancouverites wanting a weekend adventure can hop on regular ferries at Tsawwassen (near Vancouver) and head directly to Saturna, Mayne and/or the Pender Islands (each island has its own unique character to discover). If you’re planning a visit to Vancouver Island (Schwartz Bay), you can stay overnight at McDonald Campground (30 minute drive to downtown Victoria). Be sure to plan a visit to Sidney island (take a passenger ferry from the quaint seaside village of Sidney), where you will find walk in campsites and a long stretch of natural sand beach.