These two idyllic islands in the archipelago outside Vancouver promise relaxing walks, charming towns and a warm rural atmosphere.
Pender Island, in spite of its singular name, actually consists of two islands. The sense of community here is felt strongly through its rich connections to the past and a large presence of artistic and creative types. Enjoy the relaxed pace of Pender, a laid-back and peaceful vacation destination.
The two islands were once connected to one another, before a canal was carved through the isthmus in 1902. Today, most residents live on North Pender, where old-world farms grow organic produce. Explore Roesland, once farmland and then a coastal resort, now part of a national reserve Here, browse the Pender Island Museum to learn more about the community’s agrarian past.
Swim or engage in watersports in the ocean waters around the islands. Rent a kayak to paddle in the coastal coves and inlets at a gentle pace. Don goggles and dive into a cave at Tilly Point, where glowing anemones line the ocean bed.
Tee off on the scenic nine-hole course at Pender Island Golf & Country Club. The putting greens and driving ranges here are surrounded by thick woodland.
Explore the scenery of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, a large portion of which is on South Pender. Hike up Mount Norman or take a more leisurely walk to places such as Enchanted Forest Park, a fairy-tale glade. Tour the wilderness and look for bears, whales and other wildlife.
Come to Pender Island on the first weekend in August to witness the annual Hope Bay Boat Days, a 2-day festival with music, boat shows and communal dinners. In the same month, purchase the best produce from local farms at the lively Fall Fair.
Peak season in the Gulf Islands is in July and August, when the sun is out and the water is perfect for swimming. Travel to the island by ferry from Swartz Bay on Victoria Island or Tsawwassen in Vancouver. Fly in on a float plane to view the beauty of Pender Island from above.