Off the coast of southern Vancouver Island, in the Salish Sea, the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is a unique, easily accessed natural oasis perfect for exploring by land or sea.
Popular with boaters and paddlers, in addition to those accessing the park via several ferry options, the collection of 15 islands and protected waterways is home to distinctive coastal landscapes and an abundance of wildlife, including seals, sea lions, whales, eagles, herons and other birds.
While the entire reserve is ideal for exploring, a popular getaway for locals is Sidney Spit. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon escape or multi-day camping experience, you’ll find it just a few kilometres off-shore of Sidney, BC, on Sidney Island, whose sandy northern tip is known as Sidney Spit.
For a virtual visit, join the West Coast Traveller in following along with Blue Moon Life’s Gillian and Jonas during a their recent stop at the spit.
Based on Vancouver Island, Gillian and Jonas are living on a 1978 Catalina 30 sailboat and documenting their explorations throughout the British Columbia coast on their YouTube channel, Blue Moon Life.
Visiting Sidney Spit
The compact region reveals a diverse landscape, from kilometres of warm, family-friendly sandy beaches to towering trees to coastal habitat popular with many bird species – and birdwatchers! – especially during the spring and fall migration.
From the waterfront, several easy hiking trails lead through shady forests and sunny open fields. SKTAMEN (sk-thay-men) Trail is a mostly flat 2.1km loop from the main dock to the campground and then returning along the eastern coast. The Lagoon Trail is a short 1.8km spur off SKTAMEN Trail to the lagoon, for a total hike of 3.6 km. Note that no drinking water is available on the island – you must pack in enough water for your stay.
For those looking for a longer visit, Sidney Spit Campground offers 29 tent sites, with wheelbarrows available at the main dock to transport camping gear. Reservations are recommended, and all campers must register at a designated campsite before the last ferry leaves the island for the day. To book your spot, visit reservation.parkscanada.gc.ca or call
Those visiting by boat, like Gillian and Jonas, can tie up to the Sidney Spit dock or mooring buoys and be treated to a spectacular sunset. Mooring buoys and dock space are first-come first-served, and fees apply daily after 3 p.m. Find information here.
If you don’t have your own sailboat or other vessel, you can visit Sidney Spit via the passenger ferry from Sidney Pier, at the foot of Beacon Avenue in Sidney. The ferry currently offers five sailings daily through Sept. 7, 2021, with additional sailings possible to accommodate additional need. Learn more at sidneyspitferry.com
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