It’s going to be another summer of staying close to home. So if you’re asking yourself “Where can I go for a weekend in BC?” there’s only one answer: Bowen Island. Bowen is known for its relaxed way of life that is equal parts rejuvenating and bustling with an abundance of activities. Even though it’s just 20 minutes away from Vancouver, you feel like you’re somewhere else entirely. And while you could visit as a day trip, you would be missing out on all the things to see and do on Bowen Island. Read on for my Bowen Island travel guide for the highlights.
How to Get to Bowen Island
The ferry ride from Vancouver to Bowen Island is 20-minutes. It cost $40 roundtrip for me with my car. Currently, B.C. Ferries does NOT take reservations for Bowen Island. You do have the option to walk on and leave your vehicle at the ferry terminal but I highly recommend having your car. You can walk around Bowen Island’s main village of Snug Cove but you really need a car if you plan to explore further (and you should!). There’s only one taxi on Bowen Island, which typically only operates on Friday and Saturday nights, however it was service suspended while I was there.
Where to Stay
Artisan Suites on Bowen is a really cute collection of four suites at Artisan Square, about four minutes by car or 30 minutes walking from Snug Cove ferry terminal. It’s located above Artisan Eats Cafe.
Nectar Yoga has a collection of six luxe A-frame cabins and deluxe cottages situated on a large forested property with its own trails and creek. Daily meditation and yoga, as well as breakfast, are included which in my opinion, makes it one of the best yoga retreats in B.C. You can read about my entire experience HERE.
Where to Eat
The Snug Cafe was the place most recommended to me to check out. It is definitely the local’s favourite cafe on Bowen Island. It’s a charming little coffee shop full of character, that also offers breakfast sandwiches and bowls, a decent selection of wraps and paninis for lunch, some healthy smoothies, and loads of baked goods. They’ve got a selection of gluten-free items, too. Conveniently located near the ferry, you can park your car and pop in for a coffee and pastry while you wait.
Doc Morgan’s Pub is located right next to the ferry terminal in Snug Cove. It is open 7 days a week and has indoor and outdoor dining, as well as to-go options. Their burgers are delicious and can come on gluten-free buns.
Artisan Eats Cafe is conveniently located on the ground level of Artisan Suites. They’re known for their coffee and pastries, as well as breakfast and lunch. Currently, they’re open Wednesday to Sunday.
The Ruddy Potato is a little local organic grocery store that also has a great deli selection and ready made to-go items.
The Village Baker Cafe has the best coffee on Bowen Island (I’m told) and is also known for their cinnamon buns. They have hearty breakfast and lunch options if you’re looking for a substantial bite.
Things to Do on Bowen Island
You can either drive here and hike the last 300 metres or park at Crippen Park in Snug Cove and hike up. If you choose the latter, it’s about 2km roundtrip and will take you about an hour. Either way, the views from the top of Dorman Point Look Out Bowen Island are spectacular.
The Killarney Lake Loop trail is a really easy and pretty lake loop. It is 9km in total and takes about 2.5 hours return if you do the full loop around the lake. However, there are picnic tables and public toilets at the parking lot so you could always take a lunch and go for a shorter walk if that’s more your style.
Mt. Gardner is the tallest mountain on Bowen Island. The hike takes you to a helicopter landing pad on the top with spectacular views all the way to Vancouver, up and down the coast, and to Vancouver Island. However, it is a challenging hike and it is not well marked. There are over 21 km of trails on Mt. Gardner so be sure to use the Trailforks or Gaia app and download the hike in advance so you don’t get turned around. Bring plenty of water and snacks, and other hiking essentials. It should take you approximately 6 hours roundtrip.
Swimming on Bowen Island
The weather in the lower Mainland is very mild and it rarely snows on Bowen Island. However the winters are still chilly. But on those warm summer days, there are places you can swim on Bowen Island. The recommended beaches for swimming on Bowen Island are Sandy Beach, Pebbly Beach, and Tunstall Bay Beach.
Yoga on Bowen Island
Nectar Yoga often opens their classes to the public. You can read about the Bowen Island yoga retreat here. Check out the details and contact Nectar to inquire about joining their classes.
If you’re wondering “Where should I go in BC this summer?”, I hope my Bowen Island travel guide has answered that for you! Don’t forget, you can find all of my recommended places saved in Google maps HERE.