Our family’s adventure in Salt Spring Island began and ended with a ferry ride, as most island adventures in BC do. The fun starts on that big boat, with the kids trying to find all the sea creatures that play in the ocean waters, while I’m busy pointing out the houses and cottages on the Gulf Islands, and feeling the warmth of the sun on the passenger decks. When we arrived on Salt Spring Island, our family decided to drive around the island and find a beach to enjoy the heat in. We had such wonderful weather on our 4-day excursion, we were super lucky. Read on to discover where to explore, eat, and have fun on Salt Spring Island!
There was no doubt in my mind that Salt Spring Island is a special place – not only because everyone I knew who was familiar with the island pronounced it so, but because it simply is a unique place. It’s an island with mountains, beaches, and a vast amount of farm land. The farms have a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, and also animals, cheese, hops, vineyards, and a cidery.
The island is littered with deer, which we absolutely loved. The locals disdain for deer was amusing to our family, as we relished in the many deer sightings throughout the weekend. We checked out the world famous Salt Spring Market, and were enamored by the local art, fresh produce, baked goods, food vendors, musicians, and clothing. (Oh! The clothing – which were the most comfortable, free-flowing clothing I’ve ever seen and felt!)
Where to Stay
There are a few different options for accommodations in Salt Spring Island, including bed & breakfasts, hotels, cabins and campgrounds, and house rentals. We stayed at a lovely and modern vacation rental through Air BnB, that I highly recommend – it’s in a quiet location, comes with a vegetable garden, and is great for couples or small families. Here’s a few other places to check out as well!
- AirBnB – we stayed at Hummingbird Hollows Guest Cabin & loved it!
- Cusheon Lake Resort – lakeview cabins perfect for families
- Harbour House Hotel – waterfront hotel with its’ own organic farm
Where to Eat
Salt Spring Island is such a unique place with so many places to eat! We were spoiled by the amount of delicious locally-sourced food at the restaurants we were able to eat at during our stay. There are cafes and restaurants at each ferry terminal, at each tip of the island, and a large amount are found in the heart of Salt Spring at Ganges, where it’s easy to walk around and explore by foot. Here are our favourite spots to eat at as a family.
- Salt Spring Inn – possibly the best food on the island, we had a delicious dinner and breakfast there!
- Tree House Cafe – a quaint spot built around a plum tree with loads of live music
- Rock Salt Restaurant – great burger with great views at Fulford Harbour
- Salt Spring Coffee – great cafe in the heart of Ganges
- Moby’s Pub – fun pub atmosphere with a pool table, and steps to the beach!
- Barb’s Buns – great coffee and breakfast, with warm baked goods
Where to Explore
Our family’s adventures on Salt Spring Island began and ended with aimless driving… sounds silly, but with an island of this size, it’s easy to follow the signs and see where your heart (and your car) takes you! Follow the signs, use the easy to follow official map of Salt Spring (there’s an app too!), and ask for recommendations from locals you meet – they hold the secret keys to some of the best spots on the island! Here are some of our favourite places to visit (and shop at!).
- Salt Spring Market – open on Saturdays & Tuesdays in Ganges
- Salt Spring Island Ales – check out the tasting room and brewery
- Salt Spring Island Cheese Factory – explore the farm, meet the animals, and taste the cheese!
- Earth Candy – a unique market located on an organic farm
- Stowel Lake Farm – a quaint place to purchase local organic produce
- Salt Spring Wild Cider House – a variety of ciders enjoyed with a beautiful view
The most memorable part of our trip on Salt Spring Island was our trek up to the peak of Mount Maxwell. The dirt and gravel road that takes you from the main road to the peak of Mt Maxwell is bumpy, narrow, and steep. Immersed in the forest, you have no idea where you’re going, other than up… when we finally reached the parking lot at the end of the road, we eagerly jumped out of the car and ran out towards the trailhead. Not even a minute in and we were suddenly stopped at the edge of the world.
The words tumbled out of my mouth faster than I could stop them and think of something eloquent to say. The view was absolutely stunning and left us all in awe. It was definitely worth the trip up the mountain to see the spectacular views.
Our adventure on Salt Spring Island seemed to go by way too fast. I find myself dreaming of the fresh air, the sunshine and the ocean views, the goat cheese and the cidery, and the feeling of freedom. Salt Spring Island is full of free-thinkers, artists and creators, farmers and cultivators, and you get a sense of this wildness and freedom to live your life however you see fit. It won’t be long before we return!
What is your favourite place to travel to?