The Best Island to Visit: Salt Spring Island

If you are looking for an ideal place t relax and unwind then beautiful Salt Spring Island should be your destination of choice.

Salt Spring Island is located within Canada’s southern Gulf Island. The Island is the largest of an archipelago of thirteen major isles and 450 smaller ones. It is located between the British of Columbia mainland and Vancouver Island.

The island has a variety of wildlife including deer and raccoon.

Salt Spring Island is located approximately thirty-five miles southwest of Vancouver. You may take the Vancouver ferry (outbound) to the Island; however, first making stops to Galiano, Mayne, and Pender Islands.

The south end of the island brings out the creative side of people, as there are a great number of artists in the area.

The island’s visitors spend time hiking, bicycling, beachcombing, bird watching, picnicking, swimming, kayaking, or browsing the boutiques and antique shops found in Ganges and Fulford Harbor, the island’s southern port.

April through October finds weekenders visiting the Saturday Market: A farmer’s market and craft bazaar located in Ganges’ waterfront Centennial Park.

The island is 75 square miles. Its former name was Admiral Island in memorial to Rear Admiral Robert Lampert Baynes.

The following places are suggested as “must sees” when visiting the “artsy,” peaceful and natural island of Salt Springs.

As mentioned previously, the Saturday Market is held in Centennial Park, Ganges, from October through April so if visiting during those months, place the Saturday Market on your travel itinerary. You may find out more about the Saturday Market and all it has to offer by visiting their website.

The next suggestion is to take a Studio Tour, on your own, exploring various locales on the island (with no commitment to buy). A map may be attained for such purpose by visiting the Ganges tourist office. Additionally, more information may be devised (regarding the Studio Tour) by visiting their web address.

An artistic place to visit is Mosaic Tile Works located at 185 Arnell Way.

If you enjoy dried flowers then you will want to stop into Everlasting Summer located at 194 McLennan Drive.

The Tufted Puffin Gallery is the perfect place to purchase beautiful and collectible quality birds made out of bronze, stone and clay (materials). Find the establishment at: 340 Scott Point Drive, Ganges.

The island is full of outdoor activities so you will want to take advantage of the opportunity. The best place for hiking (walking) can be found at the Island’s Ruckle Provincial Park (located at the end of Beaver Point Road.) The park is a truly unique experience: There are old pear and apple trees and turkeys roaming about the area.

The Heritage of Salt Spring Island, a Map of Treasures is a suggested bookstore purchase. Herein you may be able to rundown numerous ‘unmarked’ beaches, trails and cycling routes.

You may receive guided paddling by way of kayaking to the outlying islands: three kayak operators offer such services.

Island Escapades located at 161 Fulford-Ganges Road will be pleased to take you to “hidden” beaches. Find them on the “web” at: www.islandescapades.com. Sea Otter kayaking is another operator located at 149 Lower Ganges Road; and, on the internet, at www.seaotterkayaking.com and third is Salt Spring Kayaking. Their physical address is www.saltspring.com/sskayak.

An interesting kayaking is Chocolate Beach known for the Chocolate Lilies that “show up” there each spring.

Shopping is an “art form” in Salt Spring Island. The artisans work together through Artcraft, a craft fair that lasts all summer at historic Mahon Hall. The address is 114 Rainbow Road, Ganges. Visit them on the “web” at: www.artcraftgallery.ca. Here you will find ceramics, jewelry and more.

The Thunderbird Gallery located at Grace Point Square Ganges (Internet address: www.thunderbirdgallery.com) provides works of world-class artists and in unusually high number.

During your stay, you will want to find some great accommodations along with some interesting cuisine. Following are some recommended establishments:

Hastings House located at 160 Upper Ganges Road, (on-line: www.hastingshouse.com) offers five course menus in a beautiful English country house style setting. The suggested dinner item is the lamb. Accommodations include suites in a turn of the century farmhouse and what formerly was a Hudson’s Bay Trading Post. There are seventeen rooms on the property and one cottage. The stay includes breakfast and tea.

Another place to stay is Old Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast located at 1077 North End Road. Their web address is: www.bbcanada.com/oldfarmhouse.) The establishment provides a choice of four rooms and one cottage. The stay includes breakfast.

Restaurants in the area, worth a visit include the following:

Calvin’s Bistro is located at 133 Lower Ganges Road. Check them out on the “web” at: www.calvinsbistro.com. Another eatery is Restaurant House Piccolo. The physical address is 108 Hereford Avenue, Ganges. Get a better idea of what this restaurant offers by visiting them on-line at www.housepiccolo.com. Lastly, The House Café may be to your liking. Find them at 106 Purvis Lane, Ganges.

For more information, in general, about Salt Spring Island you may wish to write or visit the Salt Spring Island Visitor Center located at 121 Lower Ganges Road. Their web address is: www.saltspringtoday.com.

Salt Spring Island is not the only Gulf Island: there are four other “popular” islands you may wish to visit:

Galiano Island provides forty miles of road for biking. Montague Harbor Provincial Park is great for camping making the island an appropriate family destination. Hikers may wish to trek up 1,000 foot high Mount Galiano.

Mayne Island is home to mostly artists and sheep. Historically, gold rushers inhabited the Isle in the nineteenth century. There is no camping on the isle so it is suggested you book reservations with a local hotel or bed and breakfast prior to your trip.

Pender Island, during prohibition, was an escape for gangsters like Machine Gun Kelly. Nowadays, you will find writers and artists inhabiting the island. There are isolated roads for biking and camping at Prior Centennial Park. Beaumont Provincial park may be reached by sea. You must reach Saturna Island by way of ferry transfer. Hikers may enjoy venturing up Mount Warburton Pike and sandy beaches are found at Winter Cove Marine Park. You will need to make bed and breakfast reservations since camping is not available.

In conclusion, a visit to Salt Spring Island will prove peaceful, relaxing, artistic and very rewarding.