The Gulf Island Chain

Vancouver, British Columbia

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Carved from sandstone and marked by twisting, red-trunked arbutus, the Gulf Islands of southern British Columbia offer paddlers of all ages and abilities endless opportunities for exploration. They are a kayaker’s paradise, with sheltered waters, infrequent summer rain, short distances between sites and easy access to services. Homes and cabins are tucked among the trees, provincial marine parks dot the shorelines—the lifestyle is rural and the pace a bit slow. There is no better place to take a quick break from urban life. Day trips, weekend excursions and weeklong explorations are all possible. Paddlers who wish to experience the entire chain of Gulf Islands can start their trip near Victoria or Sidney and paddle north to Nanaimo (or the reverse) over a period of 7 days or so. If time is a concern, a number of great 2–3-day paddling loops can be accessed from any of the launch sites listed in this chapter. Especially popular are the routes that launch from Sidney, Swartz Bay and Nanaimo.

The Gulf Island Chain Professional Review and Guide

"Carved from sandstone and marked by twisting, red-trunked arbutus, the Gulf Islands of southern British Columbia offer paddlers of all ages and abilities endless opportunities for exploration. They are a kayaker’s paradise, with sheltered waters, infrequent summer rain, short distances between sites and easy access to services. Homes and cabins are tucked among the trees, provincial marine parks dot the shorelines—the lifestyle is rural and the pace a bit slow. There is no better place to take a quick break from urban life.

Day trips, weekend excursions and weeklong explorations are all possible. Paddlers who wish to experience the entire chain of Gulf Islands can start their trip near Victoria or Sidney and paddle north to Nanaimo (or the reverse) over a period of 7 days or so. If time is a concern, a number of great 2–3-day paddling loops can be accessed from any of the launch sites listed in this chapter. Especially popular are the routes that launch from Sidney, Swartz Bay and Nanaimo."

Activity Type: Sea Kayaking
Nearby City: Vancouver
Skill Level: Easy to Difficult
Duration: 1 - 10 days
Season: Best spring through fall
Local Maps: 3313: Gulf Islands; 3440: Race Rocks to D'Arcy Island; 3441: Haro Strait, Boundary Pass and Satellite Channel; 3442: North Pender to Thetis Island; and 3443, 3462, 3463, 3513, and 3527
Driving Directions: Directions to The Gulf Island Chain

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May 2018