How to Spend a Perfect Weekend on Salt Spring Island, BC

Salt Spring Island is a small, charming gulf island off the coast of Vancouver Island in BC. This island is a perfect getaway from Vancouver or Victoria and I’m here to share the top things to do to help you start planning your perfect Salt Spring Island weekend itinerary! From paddle-boarding on the beaches to winery tours and lavender farms, Salt spring Island has something for everyone.

Salt Spring Island brings out the artisan and crafty side of their visitors with plenty of local goodies to try. Salt Spring island is becoming quickly known for its shopping and restaurant scene, along with beautiful natural sceneries and hikes. Make sure to keep reading and check out our favourite things to do on this charming island!

How to get to Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island is one of BC’s many Gulf Islands and is located close to Victoria and Nanaimo. There are a few different options for your ferry to Salt Spring Island, but you must get to Vancouver Island first. If you’re coming from Vancouver, you will be taking either the Horseshoe Bay ferry to Nanaimo or the Tsawwassen ferry to Swartz Bay.

From Victoria’s Swartz Bay, you will be taking the ferry to Fulford Harbour. This is our favourite ferry because it is larger and the route is prettier with better views. This ferry will take 35 minutes. Another option from Nanaimo’s Departure Bay would be to drive 15 minutes to Crofton to take the Crofton ferry. This ferry is smaller but will only take 25 minutes to Vesuvius Harbour.

Always make sure to check ferry times and consider scheduling your ferry tickets in advanced if you’re travelling on weekends. The Sunday ferries often sell out quickly and you won’t want to be stuck at the harbour waiting for hours. Check out BC Ferry times and schedules here.

Where to Stay on Salt Spring Island

We’ve enjoyed different stays on all of our visits to Salt Spring Island! There are plenty of Airbnbs and great hotels to choose from. Since the island is small, you’ll choose between staying near the city centre or about 15-20 minutes out in the wilderness. Here I’ll share our top 3 options for accommodations on Salt Spring Island.

Salty Stay Cabin

Salty Stay Cabin is an Airbnb that is owned by a local Salt Spring Islander under the brand SALT. SALT is their locally produced shop that you can visit in Upper Ganges or shop online. You can find more details on their website or through Airbnb.

The cabin itself is located about 20 minutes from Ganges on a private road next to Mehinick Beach. This was a great base to explore other beaches close by and Ruckle Park was minutes away. We loved this stay because it felt like a modern cabin getaway, with lots of natural light and outdoor space.

Harbor House Hotel

Harbour House Hotel is a fantastic option located directly in Ganges. We loved this location because it was so close to everything we needed and acts as a great base to do grocery shopping or head to the local restaurants. Our room was facing towards the harbour and we enjoyed sunset views over the water during our stay.

Camp in Ruckle Park

If you’re interested in camping during your visit to Salt Spring Island, make sure to check out Ruckle Park’s campground. There are more than 80 sites and you can reserve online through this link. Ruckle Park is beautiful and a must-see on your trip to Salt Spring Island and worth a night of camping.

Top 15 Things to do on Salt Spring Island

If you’re planning your weekend away on Salt Spring Island, I’ve come up with a list of the top 15 things to do on Salt Spring Island to help with your itinerary! There’s so much to do on this small island, and luckily you’ll only have to drive 30-45 minutes to get across the entire island. Keep reading for our top 15 things to do on Salt Spring Island!

1. Hike Mount Erskine

Mount Erskine is definitely the best hike on Salt Spring Island! We really enjoyed the views from the summit, and the hike was steep but enjoyable. The trail took us through a beautiful mossy forest and gave us views overlooking the ocean towards Vancouver Island. Check out trail reports on AllTrails for more statistics!

2. Take your 4×4 up Mount Maxwell

We think this is the next best view from Salt Spring Island, and it’s even cooler that you need to drive a 4×4 to get up to the top! You can definitely hike up the road if you do not have a proper vehicle. This bumpy, pot-holled, steep drive is best enjoyed after a fresh rain so you can get you 4×4 muddy! The views overlooking the ocean towards Fulford Harbour & Vancouver Island are incredible.

3. Picnic at Ruckle Park & Ruckle Heritage Farm

Ruckle Provincial Park is a beautiful, coastal park on Salt Spring Island with plenty of day-hikes. We enjoyed walking beside the ocean in the mossy, green forest! One of the best parts of this park is that Ruckle Heritage Farm is located right at the beginning so you can check-out the local farm goods or say hello to the animals before your hike.

4. Visit Salt Spring Cheese

Salt Spring Cheese creates some of the best artisan goat cheese we’ve ever had, and visiting their farm is definitely one of my top recommendations. The free-range farm features chickens and goats that you can say hello to, and wander over to their garden and cheese shop. You can order items to take home or small plates to enjoy on their outdoor patio.

5. Check out the Saturday Market

Salt Spring Island’s Saturday Market is definitely a must on your weekend trip to the island! With over 120 local vendors, you’ll definitely find something to take home from their world-class artisans and food producers. You’ll enjoy browsing the market and meeting local farmers and artists!

6. Shopping in Ganges

Ganges is definitely up and coming in the food and shopping scene! Upper Ganges is where you’ll find most of the boutique shops on Salt Spring Island, and make sure to check out Francis Bread, Woodshed Provisions, SALT and OMG Boutique.

7. Try Salt Spring Wild Cider

Salt Spring Wild Cider is a must on your weekend getaway to Salt Spring Island, and I recommend going on a sunny day to sit on their patio! They offer delicious small plates and patas shareable plates along with their home-brewed cider. We loved the Ginger cider the best, so we took one home with us. Their patio is also dog-friendly!

8. Visit Sacred Mountain Lavender Farm

You must visit Sacred Mountain Lavender farm on Salt Spring Island. They have a beautiful property and it would be amazing to see when the lavender is in full bloom. Their boutique shop offers plenty of lavender-goods, and we especially loved their hand-made soaps and lavender honey!

9. Grab a beer at Salt Spring Brewing

We love checking out local breweries, and Salt Spring Island has it’s own Salt Spring Brewery for you to try! There’s a great outdoor patio for you to enjoy some beer and snacks, or head inside to their tasting room.

10. Check out the local Farm Stands

One of the coolest things you’ll notice on Salt Spring Island is the amount of farm stands set up on the side of the road! We found farm stands for eggs, baked goods, and even popsicles. They operate on an honour system and some of them even look like mini vending machines!

11. Go Beach-Hopping

There are some fantastic beaches to visit on Salt Spring Island and each offer their own coastal vibes. We enjoyed Beddis Beach the most, for its white shell beach and dog-friendly area. We also checked out Vesuvius Beach and Mehinick Beach.

12. Go for a Winery Tour

Salt Spring Island is known for it’s great wine and are 2 wineries you must visit on Salt Spring Island! Gary Oaks Winery and Salt Spring Vineyard are the two best wineries on the island and a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

13. Paddle-boarding or Kayaking

Salt Spring Island is great for paddle-boarding and kayaking because of the more calm waters around the island, and Ganges Harbour is a great spot to try for beginners. You can find rentals and tours from Salt Spring Adventure Co.

14. Rent a Bicycle around the island

Another great option if you’re not interested in water sports would be to rent a bicycle from Salt Spring Adventure Co and enjoy a bike ride around the island! Since it’s such a small island you can complete a loop in a day if you’d like, or find local trails and maps that are provided with your rental.

15. Explore Fulford Harbour

I wanted to include Fulford Harbour as a great option on your last day on Salt Spring Island. I love the ferry from here, so if you aim to catch the ferry you should arrive an hour or 1.5 hours ahead of your sailing to explore the harbour. You’ll find a small cafe to grab a coffee, pastries or sandwiches and plenty of spots to enjoy while watching the waves. You can explore around the harbour to find sea creatures and we saw so many starfish!

Restaurants on Salt Spring Island

There are plenty of fantastic restaurant options on Salt Spring Island! I’m here to share some of our favourite shops and restaurants for you to choose from on your trip to Salt Spring Island.

  • Moby’s Pub
  • Salt Spring Wild Cider
  • Pasta Fresca
  • Francis Bread
  • Treehouse Cafe
  • Fernwood Cafe
  • Rock Salt Restaurant & Cafe
  • Auntie Pesto’s
  • Embe Bakery
  • Oystercatcher

When is the best time to Visit Salt Spring Island?

Salt Spring Island enjoys year-round mild temperatures, but the best times to visit Salt Spring Island would be in the Summer or early Fall. In the Spring, you can often enjoy rainy days and muddy trails. In the summer, you’ll be enjoying a lot more sunshine and the beaches will be packed with people!

We’ve travelled to Salt Spring Island in the winter, and while it’s still beautiful, remote and slow, you’ll notice that most restaurants, shops and farm stands are closed for the winter. Some of the Salt Spring island charm is lost during the Winter, so I recommend visiting in other seasons.

Spending a weekend on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island is a small island getaway that can be enjoyed in a weekend! I recommend visiting this island for a long-weekend trip or for a short 2-day getaway from Vancouver. You do not need to spend much time on Salt Spring Island to see everything, but extending your trip will allow you to slow down and relax away from the mainland!

I definitely recommend visiting Salt Spring island and adding it to your BC bucket-list! This is a perfect weekend getaway and you’ll enjoy the charming island way of life. If you’re looking for more BC Island adventures, make sure to check out our Vancouver Island blog posts!

Comments (1)

  • Christy Lummerding

    March 29, 2024 at 6:04 pm

    I’m coming in July to Victoria I want to spend weekend at Salt springs, how much to book a room for a weekend there

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