British Columbia is perhaps the most famous region in all of Canada for its stunning landscapes and the iconic Rocky Mountains. But it boasts more than just the mainland Rockies, it also has the warm and picturesque Southern Gulf Islands just off the coast near the USA. Many of these are highly prized tourist destinations for Canadians and Americans alike - particularly Americans coming from nearby Seattle.

One of the top islands to chill out at and enjoy is the mountainous Saturna Island. About half of the island is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. There is also a large First Nations reserve on the island. See here for how to explore the Rocky Mountains on Canada's famed Rocky Mountaineer scenic trains.


About Saturna Island

  • Size: 12 Square Miles or 31 Sq Kilometers
  • Population: 350 (Permanent Population)
  • USA Border: Saturna Island Is Less Than 2 Miles From The USA/Canadian Maritime Border
  • Access: By Ferry

Saturna is ideal for those really looking for a retreat. It has one of the lowest levels of development on the island and the smallest population of the main southern Gulf Islands. Here one can enjoy the serenity of nature with the forests, wildlife, marine life, and the national park that occupies half of the island.

The climate here is a sub-Mediterranean climate and one of the warmest in all of Canada. The winters are mild and damp while the summers are warm and dry. The mild climate makes the Gulf Islands well suited for outdoor activities and swimming. To see read about another stunning island in the Canadian Gulf Islands, click here to check out the stunning Salt Spring Island.

One of the best things to do on this island is go hiking. It is an island dominated by sheer ridges, thick lush forests, and bluffs. The coastline is just as spectacular with many stunning formations formed from sandstones and shales. The island is all about the outdoors, hiking, boating, kayaking, watching whales, and relaxing.

Related: A Travel Guide To Vancouver: 10 Things To Know While Planning Your Trip

Facilities On The Island

Don't count on shopping while on the island. This is a getaway island and there is no actual town center. There are no shopping malls - just a couple of general stores selling the typical necessities. There's no resident doctors or pharmacy, the cell phone coverage leaves much to be desired, and there are no full-time police.

  • Shopping: A Couple Of General Stores
  • Money: An ATM But No Bank

Accommodation On The Island

There are a number of accommodation options on the island and these mostly take the form of quaint country cottages, guesthouses, and campgrounds. Here are some accommodation options.

East Point Ocean Cottages

  • Where: On A Sunny Beach By The National Park At East Point
  • Views: Views Of Mount Baker And Even Whale Watching
  • Note: Fully Equipped Cottages And Pet Friendly

Sunset Beach Cottage Rentals

  • Where: On A Secluded Waterfont - Two Minute Walk To The Beach
  • Booking Note: July-August Minimum 1 Week Booking
  • About: Two Bedrooms With Full Amenities
  • Restrictions: No Pets And Non-smoking

Four Winds Bed & Breakfast

  • Where: Ocean Side Overlooking The North Shore and the Cascade Mountains
  • Notes: Equipped With TVs, Wi-Fi, Private Bathrooms, Queen Beds, And BBQs

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Saturna Lodge & Mill House Restaurant

  • Views: Overlooks Boot CoveNumber Of Rooms: 6 Rooms With Private Baths - Three Rooms Have a Water-view, Balcony, or a Patio
  • Notes: Has A Hot Tub And Are Pet-Friendly

6 Lily Lane At East Point

  • Where: At The Water's Edge
  • Note: Is A Heritage Cottage On A Private, One Acre Point
  • Cozy: Heritage Cottage With European Duvets And A Wood Burning Fireplace

Related: The Hidden Gem Village Of Tulameen In B.C., Where To Find It And What To Do There

Arbutus Point Campground

  • Where: Just A Short Walk From The Saturna Island Ferry Terminal
  • Facilities: Bathroom, Shower, Picnic Tables, Drinking Water, Paid Parking, And Wash Up Area
  • Note: Easy Access To Restaurants And Pub Facilities As Well As The General Store
  • Additional Services: Kayak And Bicycle Rentals

Breezy Bay Farm BnB and Cliff Top Camping

  • Where: Located on 50+ Acres Of Heritage Farm Land
  • Oldest: The BnB Is The Oldest House On The Island (Built-In 1892)
  • Note: The Tent Campground is Hike In

For more information and with pricings see here for more information about the accommodation. Some accommodation on the island has suspended services due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Be sure to check for the latest updates.

Getting To The Island

The island is mostly accessed by ferries. The connections are from Vancouver Island and mainland BC mostly and the main companies offering ferry services are BC Ferries, Victorica Clipper (runs from Seattle to Victoria), Washington State Ferries, and Black Ball Transport.

Other transport options are float planes, water taxis, and private boats.

Next: Summer Is The Best Time To Visit British Columbia, And Here's Why