Recently named one of the New York Times' top places to visit in 2016, the Southern Gulf Islands are a distinctive and visually stunning region to explore.
Whether you're looking for a luxury island getaway with all the amenities or a rustic island experience with adventure around every corner, the Gulf Islands offer lots of unique accommodation options. Here are a few of our top picks:
1. WOODS on Pender
If you've ever dreamed of travelling to a far-off land in your very own vintage Airstream trailer, WOODS on Pender is pretty much guaranteed to make that dream come true. Surrounded by lush forest, WOODS on Pender Island offers a luxury camping (read: glamping) experience on a beautiful 7.3 acre property, just minutes from the Otter Bay Ferry Terminal and seaplanes.
You can choose from a rustic cabin or a funky Airstream as your accommodation; both come with cool amenity options like hammocks, fire pits, barbeques, Adirondack chairs and a private cedar hot tub.
Image via @localwanderer on Instagram
2. Hastings House on Salt Spring Island
For a luxurious getaway, opt for a stay at Hastings House Country House Hotel on Salt Spring Island. This seaside estate is situated on 25 acres of sprawling hillside and features 18 character suites in a Sussex-style manor house, as well as a farmhouse, cottages and a barn. The property is just a few minutes' walk from Ganges Harbour, but there's also a shuttle available to guests.
If you're planning to visit Salt Spring Island in October, make sure to check out our blog post on the Annual Salt Spring Harvest Celebration to make sure you don't miss any of the fun.
Tip: If you're in decent physical shape and are looking for a challenge, rent or bring a bike and explore the island on two wheels. It's a hilly island so be prepared for some elevation changes, but it's totally worth the experience.
Image via @hastingshouse.countryhouse on Instagram
3. The Cob Cottage on Mayne Island
Known by some as the Hobbit House, the Cob Cottage on Mayne Island has attracted recent attention after being named one of Airbnb's most sought-after properties in the world, as well as one of its favourite Fairytale Cottages. This rustic, cozy cottage is sculpted of local and sustainable natural materials, and is situated on a lovely acreage with sheep, gardens and orchards.
The home was constructed in 1999 by local builders of Cobworks and the Cob Cottage Company, and sleeps up to two guests in one bed. Tip: If you've got your heart set on staying at this property, you'll want to book it far in advance of your trip.
You can read more about the Cob Cottage in this fantastic blog post by Dreamweavers Collective.
Images: interior view (top) and exterior view (bottom) of the Cob Cottage, via Dreamweavers Collective.
4. Camping (and Kayaking) at Saturna Island
One of the least-inhabited Gulf Islands, a camping trip on Saturna Island is a perfect choice for the truly adventurous. Opt to take a ferry over to Saturna and camp out at one of the many public campgrounds, or kick your west coast experience up a notch with an overnight kayak adventure on Saturna Island with Ocean River Kayak Adventures.
Image via @bentnic on Instagram
5. Poets Cove on Pender Island
Just as its name suggests, Poets Cove Resort & Spa is a great place to get introspective and let the rush of daily life melt away. Nestled in a quiet bay on Pender Island, the resort has an infectious calming effect that you'll feel as soon as you arrive. Spend the day exploring the island or book a relaxing massage at the Susurrus Spa. Our recommendation: try their Eucalyptus Steam Cave.
At Poets Cove, you can choose from a classic lodge room or a private villa with an ocean-view deck, fireplace and full kitchen. There are also several two and three-bedroom cottages available if you're traveling with a larger group.
Image: An aerial view of Poet's Cove, lodge and cottages.
Bonus* Take Your Loved Ones to Galiano Island
A blog post on the Gulf Islands wouldn't be complete without mentioning Galiano Island. Perfect for a romantic couples getaway or a family excursion, Galiano has many spectacular accommodation options from secluded cabins to high-end resorts. Another bonus? You'll often get to see sunsets like this one.
There you have it, five super unique accommodation options for your next visit to one of the Southern Gulf Islands. For more information on outdoor adventure in the region, check out our blog post Top Outdoor Activities on the Gulf Islands. Don't forget to tag all of your photos with#ExploreVictoria to share your journey.