The Getaway
20 Reasons to Love Salt Spring Island

Within the Strait of Georgia between British Columbia and Vancouver Island lies one of the most unique and unforgettable getaways in Canada: Salt Spring Island. This Gulf Island, famous for its stunning landscapes and booming art scene, has much more for visitors to do than most people would imagine. Whether your perfect vacation involves hiking through pristine parks, sampling local wines, or even picking up some new art skills, Salt Spring Island has something for you.

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01 Bite into some fruit at the Apple Festival

Every year, Salt Spring Island invites visitors to an event that many call "apple heaven." This massive festival celebrates the island's legendary apples and has so much to experience. Start by tasting over 500 varieties of organically-grown apples at each host farm. Enjoy some of the Salt Spring Pie Ladies' word-famous apple pies if you're in the mood for something a bit sweeter. Of course, there are plenty of ciders to quench your thirst. If you weren't an apple fanatic before visiting, you will be once the festival is over.

02 Experience the child-like wonder of staying in a treehouse

Growing up, many children dream of having a treehouse. Unfortunately, too few of us actually had that dream come true. However, you don't need to give up on your childhood aspirations just because you've gotten older. Salt Spring Island has amazing structures that sit high in the forest canopy, providing views of the surrounding Douglas fir trees or even the incredible coastline. Local artists and designers worked on each building, creating something truly unique. There is nothing like ending a great day on the island by enjoying the cozy vibes of a full-sized treehouse.

03 Discover the island's local fungi

Unless you're a mycologist or just a big fan of mushrooms, you've probably never thought about going on a mushroom foraging tour. Yet, if you're willing to try something new, Salt Spring Island's mushroom gathering tours are great fun for the whole family—journey through the forests, discovering native mushroom species and their role in the ecosystem. You can even harvest mushrooms to bring back to your kitchen.

04 Learn about the most fragile art medium

Art is the heart of Salt Spring Island. The artisans and designers here take pride in their work and are always willing to let visitors get a glimpse of what goes into their craft. Salt Spring Island's Glass Foundry recycles scrap glass into beautiful glass art, giftware, and other creations—all while letting you sit in on a glass or workshop and make some art of your own. From simple workshops for kids to full-blown—pun intended—lessons for adults, the Glass Foundry is a great place to make memories.

05 Meet the island's hungriest inhabitants

Salt Spring Island is famous for a lot more than apples and mushrooms. A massive variety of creatures call the island home, but none are as iconic as the goats. Across the island, you'll find several farms where goats graze freely on the lush pastures. Many of the farms let you interact with the critters, and some will even let you try goat yoga. Once you're done, sit in the attached cafes and enjoy some complimentary coffee while munching on some world-famous goat cheeses.

06 Relax with the scent of fresh lavender

If you're lucky enough to visit Salt Spring Island in the Spring or Summer, you might notice a faint scent of lavender in the air. This is thanks to nearby lavender farms that sit within the foothills of Mount Tuam. These farms grow, harvest, and distill the delicate plants to create essential oils, fine soaps, milk chocolate, and so much more. With over 60 varieties of lavender, these farms are as much a treat for the eyes as they are for the nose.

07 Enter the fae realm on Mount Erskine

Salt Spring Island's dense forests and beautiful scenery will often leave you feeling like you stepped into the pages of a fantasy novel, and no fantasy story is complete without fairies. Visitors up for a bit of adventure should definitely hit the Mount Erskine trail. This trail is perfect for some short but exciting hikes as it takes you over hills, twisted trees, and carpets of moss. As you approach the end of your hike, you'll discover incredible fairy doors decorated with bits of glass and painted pebbles. And if those don't put a grin on your face, the magnificent view from atop the mountains will.

08 Hit the waters and go kayaking

As you might expect from an island getaway, Salt Spring Island has plenty for water lovers to do. If that piques your interest, you should definitely try some of the awesome kayaking tours around Ganges Harbour. These tours take you around the island, encountering shell-covered beaches, great blue herons, groups of otters, and hidden kelp beds along the way. It doesn't matter if you're new to kayaking or a seasoned veteran; there is a tour for you.

09 Enjoy the many works of the Indigenous Mural Project

About a decade ago, Salt Spring Island Public Library opened its doors for the first time and has been working with community partners to support a variety of Indigenous reconciliation programs ever since. Among these many efforts is the Mural Project, which began as simple paintings on a few nearby walls. The project grows every year, and there are now over 30 murals depicting everything from bustling marketplaces to vibrant aquatic life. Tour the island and find all of the incredible works from unbelievably talented First Nations artists.

10 Rest in the warm waters of Vesuvius Beach

The oceans in the B.C. area are cold, making swimming in the ocean a bit unappealing for children and people unaccustomed to frigid Canadian waters. While the ocean around Salt Spring Island isn't quite Caribbean warm, it's far more comfortable than you might expect. Vesuvius Beach is extremely wide, with shallow waters perfect for some casual swimming. Majestic rock formations dot the area, and the nearby waves are full of small fish and crabs that love to bask in the warm water.

11 Relax with a wine glass in hand

Salt Spring Island's temperate climate is perfect for growing grapes that produce crisp, aromatic wines. Visit the nearby Garry Oaks Winery to sample Pinot Noir and Zweigelt wines, or swing by the Salt Spring Vineyards for some white, rose, and dessert varieties. Traveling aficionados recommend bringing a blanket and some of your favorite cheeses—or picking some up from a local farm—for an unforgettable picnic among the grapevines.

12 Head into the natural wonderland of Ruckle Provincial Park

Travelers seeking ways to explore the island's pristine forests and rugged coastlines don't need to look any further than Ruckle Provincial Park. This park covers over 1000 acres of land and features miles upon miles of hiking trails that wind through old-growth forests and rocky beaches. As you stride along the paths, you might encounter animals like otters, hares, deer, and even bald eagles. Many visitors mention coming across "sheep jams" as the wooly creatures take over the trails.

13 Throwdown with ceramic artists

The Salt Spring Island Potters Guild is one of the kindest, most welcoming communities of artists you could encounter. These ceramic artisans have been honing their craft on the island for over 40 years and operate a studio and gallery space to display their works. You can browse and even purchase some of their products, ranging from bowls and plates to vases and sculptures. If you're interested in their work, you can even try workshops for throwing or sculpting your own clay creations.

14 Try local craft beer

Once you've tried the island's iconic wines and ciders, you should try some of its craft beers. At Salt Spring Island Ales, brewers create organic beer without preservatives or chemicals, allowing you to taste all of the natural flavors of Salt Spring Island. Even the water for the beer comes from a nearby mountain spring. Rest in their tasting room or patio and enjoy flavors like Nettle Ale or Warbler Wheat Ale.

15 Fill your plate with oysters

Thanks to its prime location amid bountiful seas, Salt Spring Island is also a seafood lover's paradise. If you're in the mood for some legendary oysters, stop by the Oystercatcher. This restaurant has a large waterfront deck so visitors can relax by the seaside and soak in the marina views while enjoying some great food. Deep-fried oysters, delicate mussels, and lots of fresh focaccia bread are the perfect ways to fill your stomach. Plus, live bands regularly play some relaxing tunes throughout the evening.

16 Enjoy the wonders of bees

Some of the most humble yet important creatures on Salt Spring Island are the bees. Without them, it wouldn't be possible to enjoy local bounties like lavender and apples. Salt Spring Island's Honeybee Centre is a fascinating attraction that allows travelers to learn all about these small, buzzing friends. Learn all about honey bee physiology, hive management, and honey creation. As a bonus, the Centre provides samples of all kinds of honey and honey-based items.

17 Take it easy in Ganges

Not every vacation needs to be filled with activities to be fun. Sometimes, you just want to lazily stroll around a charming village and just enjoy the moment. Ganges is a quaint village where many islands head to pick up groceries and supplies. Seaplanes fly in and out, galleries proudly display works of art, and cute shops line the horizon in this humble town. Head to Ganges and just enjoy your day.

18 Hit up tons of galleries on a Studio Tour

Maybe you want to enjoy some of the local artists, but you don't want to be limited to just glass blowers or ceramic artists. The self-guided Salt Spring Studio Tour lists over two dozen galleries and studios that will fill your day with a truly massive variety of artists. Depending on when you visit, you might even get to participate in activities like painting or weaving.

19 Peruse the Saturday market

Local markets are often the best way to take in the culture of a new area, and Salt Spring Island's Saturday Market is no exception. This event showcases products from over a hundred stallholders, including bakers, farmers, and artisans. Do not leave the market without trying some unforgettable charcoal shortbread or some locally-sourced kale chips.

20 Meet the Salt Spring llamas

Throughout your days on Salt Spring Island, you'll come across all sorts of animals. However, one might just surprise you. Some of the same farms that house goats and sheep also house another furry creature: the llama. Farmers harvest these gentle creatures' wool for yarn, clothing, and other handmade objects, all of which you can purchase for yourself. If you're an animal lover and want to get up close to these beauties, some farms will allow you to take some of the more people-friendly ones for a walk.

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