Recently I went to Salt Spring Island for a weekend with my boyfriend, and was astounded by first, how much there was to do, and second, how much we had time to do in two days. This beautiful Gulf Island is uber accessible from Crofton, Victoria, or Tsawwassen Bay, making it a no brainer weekend getaway for many people in BC. Here’s what we found to be the “must do’s” to fit in over a weekend on stunning Salt Spring:
Upon arriving to the island, this was the first activity we checked off the list. Located right in the main town area called Ganges, this market is renowned for being huge, bustling, and amazing. With that in mind, we came mentally prepared knowing that parking would be a challenge. Although when we went it was rainy, and past the peak season (well, after labour day), it was still packed… and we could see why!
The market stretches on and on with quality local vendors, and fresh produce galore from an abundance of different farms. We ended up going all out and bought fresh cherry tomatoes, strawberries, fudge, and apple-filled doughnuts. They were beyond delicious…
Jill Campbell Studio
Next, we popped over to the Jill Campbell studio right in Ganges. She does STUNNING work influenced by her travels around Europe, and on Salt Spring. Her prints are very affordable for their quality (starting at around $40) but its worth perusing for fun even if you’re trying to stick to a strict budget. We ended up buying a print set in Vesuvius Bay- our first piece of art together (we felt real cute).
Wind down the aisles of Black Sheep Books
This is another dreamy shop to browse- especially if you’re a book lover like me! Their winding maze of book shelves filled with vintage looking novels makes you feel like you could be in an ancient English library. I reluctantly left without picking up a souvenir, but I’m glad we checked it out!
Wine and Cider Tasting
I meeeean, I can’t say no to checking out local wineries. And cideries? Sign me up too. First we stopped at the Mistaken Identity Vineyard. It was incredibly charming, and even had Jill Campbell’s art on their wine labels! Sadly, they are in the process of selling the vineyard, so by the time you read this they may be closed.
However, if they are still open, I would highly recommend it. Its $5.00 per tasting, but the fee is waived if you buy a bottle. We left happily (not just because of the wine drinking) with a bottle of red in hand for a rainy day.
Next, we visited the Salt Spring Wild Cidery, and LOVED IT. Seriously, we left with two bottles of cider and a t-shirt (obviously we were fans). We both got a cider flight with 6 different varieties, while we munched on our market snacks that they graciously let us bring in picnic style. The overall vibe here was right up our alley, I could see us hanging out there more frequently if we lived on the island.
Tree House Café
After checking into our rustic yet charming waterfront Airbnb on a farm (which we loved), we went for dinner at the Tree House Café right in Ganges. Yes, the name holds up with a tree growing right through the middle of the café! We were told to expect a wait to get in (apparently up to an hour at times), but were happily surprised to be seated right away. Over the summer they have live music every night, which is awesome. They just pass around a hat to tip the band throughout the evening.
I had a Chai latte to warm me up (its an indoor/outdoor kind of café), and then had a veggie burger with kale slaw. 10/10 would recommend.
Airbnb perks: we were able to borrow one of their canoes for free! Although you won’t get this at every accommodation, I would highly suggest getting out on the water at some capacity for a different Gulf Island view either by canoe, kayak, or stand up paddle board. There’s lots of places that rent them out.
Sunday Music at Salt Spring Vineyards
We saved this winery for our second day after hearing about their live music on Sundays (only in the summer). Bonus: they offer free wine tastings! We tried our set, and bought a bottle to drink at a picnic table in the vineyard. This is another spot where they let you bring your own picnic snacks too, so we opted for a locavore lunch made up of farm stand items we picked up driving around the island.
Between the sun shining on my back, the live jazz music, wine, and snacks, I had an actual blissful *my life is so great* moment. You have to go there!
Last but certainly not least: Ruckle Park. Firstly, the drive out to this destination allowed us to see a different, but beautiful area of the island that we might not have otherwise. Secondly, this park is beautiful. There’s many different walking loops that you can take, but we slowly meandered around the scenic ocean view trails for about an hour. Its definitely a park for all fitness levels!
And there you have it. There were some things we wished we could have done but didn’t quite have time for, but with this island being so accessible, we plan to be back sooner rather than later. If there’s any activities that I absolutely missed out on, let me know in the comments.