Salt Spring Island: Perfect 5 Day Getaway
It was a series of unfortunate events that finally got us to step off of the ferry and onto Salt Spring Island. After missing our early morning flight thanks to my car breaking down on the way to the airport (I just need it to hold out until January), our quick hour and a half journey turned into a nearly five hour trek of planes, taxis and a ferry ride to hop over the Pacific Ocean. At last, we stepped onto land and were greeted with the salty scent of the ocean that sparkled like a million diamonds in the sunshine and tree covered mountains that make Salt Spring Island home.
In case you haven’t heard, Salt Spring Island is Canada’s hidden paradise – despite being the most visited of the Gulf Islands, very few of the friends I spoke with before leaving had even heard of Salt Spring Island. I even had one friend of mine think it was another island in the Caribbean!
Day 1 – Arrive on the Island
Salt Spring Island is unique in that it doesn’t hold the many chain name hotels and resorts that most vacation places do. Instead, Salt Spring Island offers an entirely authentic experience for the traveler who wants to escape. My brother and I lucked out in finding a rustic cabin tucked away on a private residence, where we could watch the tide rise and fall in the canal. If you’re not the rustic type, be sure to check out the Salt Spring Accommodation Group for a comprehensive list of alternate options including resorts, hotels, B&B’s or even a campsite for the budget traveler.
Spend your first day soaking in your surroundings. A stroll through Ganges, the main village on the island, will bring you to a number of local, family-owned restaurants, coffee shops and book stores.
Day 2 – Get Your Heart Pumping
A hike is in the works for today and Salt Spring Island is just the place to do it. If you’re looking for an invigorating hike, you can spend the afternoon climbing to the top of Mount Erskine. It’s only 2 km one way, but steep! With a beautiful view from the top and the chance to spot hidden fairy doors in the trees along the way (there are at least six, possibly more that mysteriously pop up!), it’s a magical treat for those who make the climb.
If you’re looking for a more leisurely hiking experience, go over to Ruckle Provincial Park. The Beaver Point Hall to Yeo Point Trail is filled with gorgeous views from all directions. The five hours I spent hiking this trail was the highlight of my time on the island. To my right, I was met with ocean views, rocky cliffs and hidden pebble beaches to explore along the way. To my left was the rainforest that offered moss cushioning for our running shoes, the tallest trees I’ve ever seen and shade from the sun. Being wrapped up in a world of forest and ocean all mixed together, I was over the moon excited.
Unwind from today’s hike by grabbing some food and making your way to Vesuvius Bay for a picnic, wine and a sunset that you won’t be able to peel your eyes from.
Day 3 – The Saturday Market
Salt Spring Island is known for it’s Saturday Market, which runs every Saturday at 9-4pm from March 26th to October 29th. The island is filled with creatives from artists to photographers and is a haven for hippies and those seeking a natural lifestyle. The market is the day when all of these people come together to share their art, food and talent with tourists. We managed to pull together a beautiful gift for Mother’s Day including a hand painted wine glass, soap and a blown glass seahorse created by our host’s daughter.
Head to the market early so that you don’t miss out! Once you’ve had your fill, pop on over to The Treehouse Café for lunch in a tree house!
Day 4 – Take a Paddle
Also known as the Nature Island, Salt Spring Island is a nature lover’s playground. If you’re up early enough, catch the sunrise at Beddis Beach, have a swim, lounge in the sun and then go off for a day of sea kayaking. We went with Salt Spring Adventure Co. and loved every minute of it! Since we were there in low season, we had the entire tour to ourselves and paddled for an hour out to Chocolate Beach – a beach made up entirely of crushed white shells – explored the little island for a bit, and went back onto the water.
Salt Spring Adventure Co. offer options for any experience level and have a number of tours with different lengths and features. Along the way we spotted brightly colored starfish, a herd of seals and even had one brave fellow pop his head up to say hello not far from my kayak!
Day 5 – Head Home
I hope that by the end of your time on Salt Spring Island you feel just as rejuvenated as I was. I hope that the nature and magic of the island has you heading home with a new sense of connection, a clear mind and renewed energy.
If you’d like me to help you plan your perfect nature escape to Salt Spring Island, I would love to chat with you about creating an authentic travel experience, just click on the image above!