If you need to get away from the city for a weekend, or even just the day, hop on a ferry and sail across to Bowen Island. Just a 20-minute ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, this idyllic island with its pristine beauty and tranquil shores is the perfect getaway.
Here are five things to do once you’re on Bowen Island.
Bowen Island’s guided wildlife watching tours offer visitors the chance to spot bears, whales, eagles and other wildlife in their natural environment. Sewell’s Sea Safari Eco-Tours take place on inflatable boats and explore Horseshoe Bay and the surrounding area. Bowen Island Tours offer a taste of history on the island. Led by knowledgeable locals, you can take a closer look at the island’s scenery and various trails.
Tip: Save 15% on tours when you book through Destination BC.
If you want to do your own exploring, you could hire kayaks and view the local wildlife first-hand. One of Bowen Island’s signature activities, kayakers can explore the expansive waters of Howe Sound and coastal mountains towards Whistler.
Bowen Island Sea Kayaking, situated next to the ferry terminal in Snug Cove, offers kayaking lessons to those who are a little less experienced.
Tip: On any Tuesday from April to October 4 2016, when you rent two single kayaks, you only pay for one (or pay half the price for a double kayak). The same applies to paddleboards.
Bowen Island has a series of scenic hiking trails for visitors to explore. Dorman Point offers great views of Whytecliffe Park in West Vancouver directly across the Mainland, as well as UBC. The 2.5-kilometre hike takes between one to one-and-a-half hours from Snug Cove and and back again, and is a great picnic spot once you’ve reached the top. Killarney Lake is another popular hiking trail, and is slightly longer than Dorman Point at approximately 4 kilometres.
Alternatively, you can take a hike uphill and explore everything Artisan Square has to offer. A 15 minute walk from Snug Cove, this quaint part of town consists of galleries, shops, spas and culinary delights. The Gallery at Artisan Square showcases local artists’ work.
Its annual ‘Mini Gala’ sells 50 paintings by Bowen artists at $125 apiece. It’s open Wednesday to Sunday in the summer and Friday to Sunday in the winter.
Tuscany Pizza is a popular dinner spot on Bowen Island. With a charming garden patio and bustling atmosphere, this Italian favourite serves Artisan pizza, with dough made from scratch, and a range of Mediterranean cuisine.
It’s closed on Mondays (like a lot of restaurants in the area), but features weekly specials such as two for one take out pizza every Tuesday. Tuscany Pizza is only open from 5pm each day, so if you’re looking for a lunch option, check out The Snug Cafe just next door, serving a great range of sandwiches, coffee and cake.