Saltspring Island: A Traveller’s Guide

Painting by Callie Clssold-Hoyle

Saltspring Island is an incredibly beautiful place here in British Columbia. The island is home to many territories/tribes:

  • Quw’utsun Tribes (Cowichan)
  • Spune’luxutth (Penelakut)
  • BOḰEĆEN (Paquachin)
  • MÁLEXEȽ (Malahat)
  • SȾÁUTW̱ (Tsawout)
  • W̱JOȽEȽP (Tsartlip)
  • W̱SIḴEM (Tseycum)

This island has some great history attached to it, as the first of the Gulf Islands to be inhabited by Canada’s First Nations people. The first settlers to come to this land, after the First Nations of course, were African Americans, Native Hawaiians and those from the British Isles.

This island is definitely riddled with history to discover, and the place I recommend going for a summer trip if you’re looking for something to do on a budget!

This island has a beautifully quaint vibe to it and has been able to avoid a lot of the modern aspects of the big city.

They don’t have any streetlights on the entire island, and they only have one four way stop. There are two chain grocery stores, and many local business shops for you to support during your visit.

Here’s a sort of “traveller’s guide” about Saltspring Island if you ever decide to go:

Where to stay

Photo by Callie Clissold-Hoyle

There are many places you can stay on the island, but I would definitely recommend finding a campground close to the small town of Ganges.

The campground I recommend the most is the Mowhinna Creek Campground. It is 2 minutes outside of town and is a really great place for tent camping!

There are bathrooms with full plumbing, showers and a place for you to wash your dishes and charge your devices.

The one thing I will warn you about camping on Saltspring is: beware the moths!

Photo by Callie Clissold-Hoyle

The first time I camped on Saltspring my friend and I were attacked by GIANT moths, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!

There are also places on Saltspring like the Saltspring Inn and AirBnBs that are available for you to book if you don’t like camping!

Photo by vanessa

Where to eat

Photo by vanessa

The island has a lot of really great options for where to grab a bite to eat! There are a few grocery stores if you like to make your own food, but there are also some really great places to eat around town.

The most notable places for me were the Saltspring Inn which has things like your basic burger and fries to a really yummy salad with onion rings.

The Embe Bakery which has almost any pastry you can imagine and the Food Truck corner which has a poutine truck, a pizza truck and way more!

Photo by vanessa

What to do

Photo by vanessa

When exploring a new place like Saltspring, it’s so easy to find a lot of activities you enjoy doing!

The first thing I would recommend doing right after you get off the ferry at Fulford Harbour is to check out all the cool shops they have right in the harbour! There are many cool shops like The Pottery and The Wardrobe to name a few.

Photo by vanessa

The Pottery has a great assortment of local artists creations, many of which you can find in other shops on the island as well!

The Wardrobe, on the other hand, has all sorts of odds and sods. Charms, jewellery, beads, skirts, sweaters, pants, shirts, bags – and more!

Photo by vanessa

Another great thing to do on Saltspring is visit a lavender farm. These farms are so beautiful and always buzzing with bees! But don’t worry, these bees are not inclined to sting you.

So if you’re looking for a place to take a cute photo shoot, smell some lavender and maybe buy some natural lavender items, this is the place for you!

Photo by vanessa

The Saltspring Saturday market is one of the main attractions on the island, and is one of the most fun things to do while visiting!

There are so many vendors and so many things to choose from. Make sure that if you go, you’re prepared to get there early and be there for a while!

Photo by vanessa

Photo by vanessa

Photo by vanessa

Photo by vanessa

One last thing I recommend you do is go for a late night drive around the island, (if you have a car!). The whole island can be driven in less than an hour and my gosh is it ever beautiful! You can blast your favourite tunes, roll the windows down and enjoy the summer air on your face!

Saltspring island is the perfect getaway for students; it’s not far away, it’s cheap and it’s a beautiful island perfect for relaxation. Take advantage of it! It’s waiting for you to explore!

Photo by vanessa


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