“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” –Henry Miller
Galiano Island has a reputation as being the most welcoming of the Gulf Islands. This is due in part to the limited amount of farmland on Galiano and the many residents who have opened their homes to visitors as a way to generate revenue. The island is a haven for many rare and protected plants, and is a popular destination for birding, camping, hiking, kayaking and sightseeing. Galiano Island is named after the Spanish explorer Dionisio Alcalá Galiano who sailed in the Pacific Northwest 200 years ago. The waters around Montague Harbour attract flocks of wintering birds including diving ducks like scoters, buffleheads, goldeneyes and mergansers. The island has a complimentary bus service in the summer months.
How to get to Galiano Island.
Bodega Ridge Resort & Cabins
Bodega Ridge Resort & Cabins offers deluxe log cabin accommodations where guests find all the comforts of home. Set in a lush temperate rainforest filled with Arbutus, Red Cedar, Douglas-Fir and Garry Oak trees, Bodega is the perfect retreat for a relaxing vacation. Bodega Ridge is a popular destination for corporate group retreats and weddings. The restaurant features locally grown produce and a full service bar.
Galiano Inn (Oceanfront Inn & Spa)
Spend a relaxing week in an idyllic setting at the Galiano Inn where every room comes with an ocean view. Your private deck or terrace is the perfect spot to watch ferries, sailboats and whales as they pass by. The Madrona del Mar Spa is known for its innovative treatments and use of indigenous and natural products from the West Coast. The inn is blessed with spectacular views and beautifully landscaped grounds. Its award-winning oceanfront restaurant features artisan cheeses, fresh fish, produce, poultry, and British Columbian wines. The atrium restaurant offers diners views of Mayne Island, Mount Baker, and whales passing through Active Pass. Getting there is easy, it is a quick six minute walk from ferry.
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Galiano Golf & Country Club
The Galiano Golf & Country Club is a challenging nine hole, 1,936 yard course with elevated tee boxes, lush fairways, manicured greens, and two tees for the back nine. Experienced and new golfers will enjoy the course and its spectacular setting. Snacks and drinks are available on the patio and in the clubhouse from mid-June to September. Barbecue dinners are held on Fridays and Saturdays in the summer. Nine & Dine is a weekly summer event held on Fridays that includes a round of golf with tee off at 4:30 PM followed by a barbecue dinner. Reservations are recommended.
Galiano Island Museum
Learn about Galiano’s fascinating history through historical artifacts and photographs at the Galiano Island Museum. The museum is located at Aunt Di’s Cottage in Lions’ Park at 922 Burrill Road, and is open on Saturdays from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM in July and August.
Galiano Saturday Market
The Galiano Saturday Market is open May 18 to October 12 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Lions Field. Founded in 1976, the Daystar Market carries a variety of specialty and grocery goods, including locally grown fruit and produce, artisan breads, grocery and dairy, a large selection of local and bulk goods, organic and conventional products, organic coffee, and ready to eat snacks.
Montague Harbour Marina
The Montague Harbour Marina at Galiano Island has a variety of amenities and services for boaters, campers and tourists. The marina is open from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, with extended hours during peak summer months. They offer moorage facilities, a fuel dock, grocery store, gift store, restaurant and ice cream. The Harbour Grill restaurant at the marina offers delicious food and stunning views of the harbour and local wildlife from its popular waterside deck. Harbour Grill is open daily for breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Bluffs Park is an easy access park at the south end of Galiano Island. Spectacular ocean views of Active Pass, Mayne Island, Navy Channel, Saltspring Island and the Pender Islands can be seen from the hiking trails and cliffs. First established in 1948, the 130-hectare park is a popular recreation destination for birding, hiking, picnicking and sightseeing. Several of the park’s hiking trails pass through lush temperate rainforest giving birdwatchers ample opportunities to see bald eagles and peregrine falcons.
Bodega Ridge Provincial Park
Bodega Ridge Provincial Park is a hiking, birding and sightseeing paradise located on the northwest side of Galiano Island. It takes one hour to hike to the top of Bodega Ridge, the tallest point on Galiano Island where breathtaking views of Salt Spring Island, Vancouver Island and Wallace Island can be seen. The 233-hectare park is a protected area for flora, fauna, marine and bird wildlife. Bodega is best known for its four kilometre hiking trail and birdwatching opportunities along the mountain ridge overlooking Trincomali Channel, Wallace Island Marine Park and Saltspring Island. The trail explores old paths, sections of logging roads and shoreline, and has several challenging sections with cliffs, loose rocks and slippery slopes. Bodega Ridge is a popular birding site, and is a protected habitat of the peregrine falcon. The falcons share the region with bald eagles and turkey vultures. Birdwatchers come from across Canada and the United States to watch these predatory birds in their natural habitat.
Dionisio Point Provincial Park
Dionisio Point Provincial Park is situated at the northern end of Galiano Island, at the entrance to Porlier Pass from the Strait of Georgia. This 142-hectare park is flanked by sandy beaches and two impressive bays. The park is rimmed by a beautiful shoreline and is filled with wildflower meadows and verdant forests. The intertidal area is rich with sandstone shelves, pebble beaches and a shallow bay, known as Coon Bay to the locals. Visitors can stroll along sandy beaches or follow the trail at Porlier Pass to Race Point Lighthouse and a series of coves. The various recreational opportunities include camping, diving, fishing, hiking, kayaking, and swimming. The park is open year round and has marine only access. Facilities include 30 walk-in campsites, pit toilets and a hand water pump. A strict no fires regulation is enforced.
Matthews Point Regional Park Reserve
Matthews Point Regional Park Reserve has a 200-metre sandy beach, hiking trails and a day use picnic area. The park protects several eco systems and is an important bird wildlife habitat. There are more than 130 species of birds living on Galiano Island. Situated at the south end of Galiano Island, the 33-hectare park has far reaching marine views overlooking Active Pass and Mayne Island. Matthews Point Park is an ideal spot for birdwatching and marine activity. Off the coastline one can watch boats, ferries and fishing vessels navigating Active Pass. The park has a good selection of hiking trails that explore the coastline and surrounding forests of Arbutus, Red Cedar and Garry Oak trees. One of the more popular walking trails is the hiking route connecting to Bluffs Park.
Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park
Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park is a 97-hectare park with craggy headlands, meadows, white shell beaches, tidal lagoons, and towering forests. The park begins five metres below sea level and climbs 180 metres to a steep rocky precipice. Visitors can moor their boats to one of the 35 buoys in sheltered Montague Harbour or come by ferry and camp in one of the scenic campsites. The park is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or afternoon of exploration. Located within the park is Gray Peninsula, which was inhabited by First Nations peoples before the arrival of Spanish explorer Dionisio Galiano in 1792. Skirting the northwest edge of the peninsula is a spectacular rock ledge that was carved into rippling patterns by the movement of glaciers thousands of years ago.
Montague Harbour with its abundant salmon and shellfish is heir to a rich history. The white shell beach on the north side of the park marks one of several shell middens. The middens provide evidence of First Nations occupation dating back more than 3,000 years. Castaway shells left by centuries of harvesting form berms on the foreshore in many areas of the park. Wave action erodes the middens, crushes the shells and redeposits them to create Montague’s white shell beaches. Archaeological excavations of the protected middens have unearthed arrows, spearheads and stone carvings. Middens are protected by law.