12 Fun Things to do on Galiano Island, BC

12 Fun Things to do on Galiano Island, BC

Escape into nature on this narrow island that can be driven from one end to the other in just 30 minutes. Galiano Island offers a mix of beautiful nature with luxuries, such as top-notch restaurants and a relaxing day spa by the ocean. It may be remote, but it's the closest of the Southern Gulf Islands to the Lower Mainland of BC, making it relatively easy to get to.

We list the 12 best things to do on Galiano Island as well as the best time to visit, how to get to Galiano and the best way to get around the island.

Planning a trip to the island? Check out our list of unique hotels and B&Bs and list of the 8 best restaurants on Galiano Island.

What to do on Galiano Island, BC

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Best time to visit Galiano Island

Montague Harbour Galiano

The best time to visit Galiano Island is during the dry season from May - September. These are the warmest months of the year with the least probability of rain.

How to get to Galiano Island from Vancouver

By ferry to Galiano Island

  1. Give yourself 45 minutes (60 minutes if rush hour) to get to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal from Vancouver by car.
  2. The ferry from Tsawwassen to Galiano Island takes one hour. Reservations are highly recommended during peak summer times.
  3. If you have a reservation you need to be at the ferry terminal at least 40 minutes before scheduled departure. If you don't have a reservation, you should still arrive early to ensure you get a spot on the ferry.

By float plane to Galiano Island

  1. From downtown Vancouver, give yourself 30 minutes to take the Canada Line skytrain to YVR Airport.
  2. From YVR Airport, take the complimentary shuttle from the international or domestic terminal to YVR South. The shuttle departs every 20 minutes.
  3. Seair Seaplanes offers flights from YVR South to Galiano. The flight time is 10 minutes.

Best way to get around Galiano Island

SmartCar rental from Oceanfront Inn and Spa

The best way to get around Galiano Island is by car. Half of the fun is driving around exploring the island! Taxis and buses are very limited.

You could either rent a car on the mainland of BC to take over with you, or you could rent a SmartCar at the Oceanfront Inn and Spa. For non-hotel guests, the rental is $85 for 4 hours, $120 for 8 hours or $165 for 24 hours. For hotel guests, the rate is $45 for 4 hours, $80 for 8 hours and $120 for 24 hours.

🚗 Compare car rental rates across different companies

12 Best Things to do in Galiano Island, BC

1. Start your morning with coffee from Oxeeye Cafe

Oxeeye Galiano Island

Oxeeye is a cafe and bakery in Sturdies Bay that serves Pacific Northwest-inspired items. Grab a latte and a wild mushroom toast to start your day exploring the island.

2. Go boutique shopping for local goodies

Marcia de Vicque Glassworks Galiano

As you drive through Galiano, you will see many creative shops and art studios with unique local products.

The best Galiano Island shopping:

  • The Saturday Market: open from May Long Weekend to mid-October at the Lions Field with a focus on local products.
  • The Market: a cute and colourful gourmet grocery store & cafe with a focus on healthy food
  • Marcia De Vicque Glassworks: glassworks located in a small wooden cabin in the forest
  • Cedar Grove Pottery: an open air pottery shop located in the forest
  • Galiano Island Soapworks: local soaps and bath products made with natural ingredients
  • IXCHEL Craft Shop: a bohemian boutique store with clothing, art, jewelry and wellness products

3. Treat yourself to the spa

Relaxing with tea after my spa treatment at Madrona del Mar Spa
Madrona del Mar Spa, located at the Galiano Oceanfront Inn & Spa, is a beautiful and secluded spa set on the oceanfront. We booked their Blueberry Bliss Experience, which focuses on indigenous and natural ingredients.

The 2.5 hour spa package included a 30-minute blueberry sugar body polish, 60-minute blueberry smoothie body masque and 60-minute massage. It wasn't one of those body scrubs and masques where you have to stand up afterwards in a dazed state and shower it all off. Instead, they use a multi-jet spray shower while you remain comfortably lying down.

Sitting along the oceanfront with a hot tea after our treatment was a very relaxing moment.

4. Eat dinner at the award-winning Pilgrimme

Pilgrimme is an intimate restaurant in the middle of the forest serving farm-to-table dishes made with locally sourced ingredients and foraged foods found in the woods and sea. In 2015 it was named the 3rd best new restaurant in Canada by Enroute Air Canada. Pilgrimme offers set tasting menus and reservations are highly recommended. This place is special - it's brought us back to Galiano a few times just to eat there!

Fun Fact: Chef McCleery spent a season in the kitchen of the world renowned Noma restaurant located in Copenhagen, Denmark!

Pilgrimme also recently opened a pop-up pizzeria called Charmer. Their pizzas are made with naturally leavened sourdough. Check their Instagram to see when their next pop-up dates are.

See our list of 8 Galiano Restaurants you have to try.

5. Spot wildlife and cool rock formations in Dionisio Point Provincial Park

On the Northeast tip of the island lies Dionisio Point Provincial Park, which has incredible sculpted sandstone shelves and plenty of wildlife. We were excited when we saw a group of seals! The caveat is that you can only access it by boat or kayak.

🚣 Check out kayaking tours with Gulf Island Kayaking

6. Go for a beach stroll at Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park

Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park

Take a walk along the white-shelled beach or bring a beach blanket and take some time to relax along the calm waters.

7. Watch the sunset from The Crane and Robin

Crane and Robin Galiano

The Crane and Robin is a great spot to grab a bite to eat while overlooking Montague Harbour from the outdoor patio. They have delicious tacos, local BC wines and beers, sustainable seafood, and vegan options. It's one of the best spots to watch the sunset on the island.

8. Have a picnic at Bellhouse Provincial Park along the ocean

Bellhouse Provincial Park Galiano

Bellhouse Provincial Park is the perfect place for a picnic on the bluffs overlooking the ocean. You have views of Active Pass, an active marine channel between Galiano Island and Mayne Island. Keep your eyes peeled for a chance to see whales, sea lions, aquatic birds and bald eagles. Ferries also occasionally go by.

9. Stay at a B&B and experience the islander way of life

Breakfast at our B&B in Galiano
There are many cozy cabins and rustic cottages on the island you can book through VRBO or Airbnb. They are a good value at around $160 CAD per night. We loved having a delicious homemade breakfast to start our morning.

10. See an incredible sandstone cave

Caves at Retreat Cove Galiano

Located at Retreat Cove, this hidden sandstone cave is a natural wonder you don't want to miss.

11. Stay at the cozy Woodstone Manor for a romantic getaway

Restaurant terrace at Woodstone Manor
If you and your partner are thinking about a romantic escape to Galiano Island, Woodstone Manor is a great choice for your stay. The charming boutique hotel with a heritage feel has relaxing pastoral views and their cozy-luxe rooms even come with comfy spa robes and slippers.

Enjoy the serene atmosphere on the back patio during breakfast, dine at their European-inspired restaurant or play board games with a cocktail by the fireplace in the lounge.

🛏️ Browse more stays on Galiano Island

Check out our full list of hotels/B&Bs to stay at on Galiano Island.

12. Drink with locals at the Hummingbird Pub

Hummingbird Pub

If you're looking for a fun spot to drink a couple of pints with a local crowd, Hummingbird Pub is the place to be. From May Long Weekend - September, their Pub Bus does pick ups and drop offs at the Montague marina and campground.

We hope you enjoyed these fun things to do on Galiano Island!

Start planning your trip to Galiano Island

If you like Galiano Island, go island hopping to free-spirited Salt Spring Island, charming Pender Island or bohemian Hornby Island.

Or, take a road trip around Vancouver Island and make a stop in charming Gabriola Island.

Planning a trip around BC? See our full list of the 17 best getaways near Vancouver.

Pin and save these unique things to do in Galiano Island for later:

10 Best things to do on Galiano Island

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our list of Gastronomic Experiences Around the World to inspire your next trip.

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