Planning A Galiano Island Getaway
Getting out of the big city is a easy as a 45 minute ferry ride to Galiano Island. Never mind heading all the way to Victoria, or escaping to the ever crowding Saltspring Island, just get off on the first stop on the BC Ferries milk run through the Southern Gulf Islands and relax with a weekend away at Galiano Island.
WHEN TO GO
Whenever you decide to go to Galiano Island, there’s one thing that’s mandatory: a reservation on BC Ferries. Yes, you’ll pay a premium, but with infrequent service between the mainland and the Gulf Islands, the piece of mind a reservation brings will remove all the stress from your travel plans.
While you’re on the ferry, pick up a map of Galiano Island from the pamphlet rack. It’s very detailed showing locations of all accomodations and amenities, various points of access to the shoreline as well as trails and parks.
Self catering is the best way to eat on Galiano Island and the best way to get that done is to bring the food you want to eat with you, there is limited grocery facilities on the island and only one place to get booze. All the amenities for the island are located around the south end near Sturdies Bay, if you’re staying at the north end of the island you’re looking at up to a 30 minute ride to get munchies, drinks or ketchup.
Max and Moritz’s Spicy Island Food House is a legendary pit stop while you’re waiting for the ferry. The conspicuous red trailer is only open in the hours surrounding ferry departures and it’s the only amenity on the dock. Featuring a curious mix of Indonesian stir fries and German sausages, this husband and wife operation is true to the charm of the island.
If you need to break out the fancy while on the island, a visit to La Berengerie is a must. Huguette Benger came to Galiano in the 80s from Avignon, France and brought the best of Provence with her, right down to the tablecloths and prix-fixe menu.
WHERE TO STAY
There are many bed and breakfast and self-catering cabin resorts dotting Galiano Island. We landed at Bodega Ridge and were charmed by the warm hospitality of Jesse Keefer’s operation. There are 7 cabins dotting the ridge, each sleeping 6, equipped with a full kitchen, a barbecue, a deck and all the comforts to release the stress of the city.
Camping is avaiable on the island and Montague Harbour is a picturesque place to pitch a tent. Located near the ferry terminal, this Provincial Park offers 40 campsites (some reservable, others first come, first served)
Of course, after you’ve visited a few times, you just might want to stay a while. For Sale signs dot the entire island and Windermere Realty has a monopoly on the listings. If you’d like a starting point on the prices, a land with a building start around $1M, while empty, unserviced waterfront lots are going listed in the $600s.
WHAT TO DO
Exploring is the popular get out and do it pasttime on Galiano Island. You can explore by boat, kayak, bike, car, hike, or sink below the surface and check out some of the best scuba diving in the world.
Bodega Ridge is a popular 5 km one way hike that runs the spine of the island giving you views of both Georgia Strait and Trincomali Channel.
Mount Galiano is the highest peak on the island and its summit offers spectacular views of the ferries traversing Active Pass.
Our favorite place to visit was Montague Harbour where Z enjoyed digging in the tidepools, collecting the shells and counting the eagles soaring in the sky.
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