Between the British Columbia mainland and Vancouver Island, 30 mi/50 km southwest of Vancouver, lies the Gulf Islands, a cluster of pastoral islands, much like the San Juan Islands in neighboring Washington. The largest of these islands, Saltspring Island, is only 20 mi/30 km long and about 10 mi/16 km wide. It has a thriving arts community that boasts best-selling authors and galleries with national reputations. Mayne Island was once a stopover for prospectors heading to the Klondike Gold Rush. It has several charming turn-of-the-century buildings.
All of the Gulf Islands are very laid-back and great to discover by bicycle, car or on foot. Hop between islands on the frequent boats run by B.C. Ferries, or consider a sea kayak excursion—a popular way to see this area.
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