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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada

Explorer Quotient

Authentic Explorer | Cultural Explorer | Cultural History Buff | Free Spirit | Gentle Explorer | No-hassle Traveller | Personal History Explorer | Rejuvenator | Virtual Traveller

Authentic Explorer

Three kayakers admire rocky outcrops on the coast of Saturna Island Kayaking off Saturna Island
© Parks Canada / Josh McCulloch

With a foot in both worlds, you appreciate the understated beauty of natural and cultural environments. You enjoy using all of your senses when you explore your chosen destination and really get to know the places you visit. You quickly adapt to personal challenges and risks, easily figuring out how to make the most of every situation. You want to be fully immersed in your travel experiences and tend to stay away from group tours and rigid plans.

Take a deep breath of the fresh salty air, feel the warm west coast sun on your face (or our famous misty west coast rain) and take a moment to feast your eyes on the idyllic Gulf Islands scenery surrounding you. From breathtaking mountaintop views, lush old forests and stunning seascapes to unique historic landmarks— this is the place to embark on your own awe- inspiring west coast experience.

Explore new horizons: climb a mountain, spot a whale, learn to sail, try geocaching, feast on authentic west coast fare, camp in the great outdoors, get your hands dirty on an interpretive program and immerse yourself in the unique flora, fauna and history of the park reserve.

Choose a new gulf island adventure each weekend and experience first-hand the distinctive culture and lifestyle of each place! You will rub shoulders with the locals, take part in a farmers’ market and discover the unique flavours of island life.

For the Authentic Explorer, we suggest…

Best places to spot wildlife – Pack your camera and a lunch and head to East Point (Saturna Island), Georgina Point (Mayne Island) or Sidney Spit for your best chance to see everything from birds to whales!

Best “nightlife” spots – As the sun sets over the pacific, enjoy the dancing bat show over head. Once the sky is dark, admire all of the bright stars you can see away from the city lights. At the beach, stir the deep dark sea to discover the mysterious sparkle of bioluminescence (living creatures that glow in the dark). (Winter Cove, Roesland, Beaumont or Sidney Spit)

The perfect paddle – Feel the waves and become one with nature in a sea kayak. Discover the islands from a whole new perspective and learn a few tricks of this authentic West Coast sport along the way. Check the website for licensed kayak guide operators.

Go on a treasure hunt – Try one of our geocaching programs and embark on a self-guided adventure to experience some of the park’s most interesting cultural and natural hotspots. Choose from two routes: a family-friendly treasure hunt or a more strenuous route.