Back when I was in Vancouver for 7 days, my friend, Nathalie, took me to the beautiful Mayne Island, part of Canada’s Southern Gulf Islands, for one of the loveliest day trips! I thought I’d do a little post on all the things we got up to while exploring this charming island.
Usually when my friends, especially locals, suggest doing something, I agree without much thought. I mean, my friends know what I’d like and they know their hometowns, so really it’s a win win! When Nathalie suggested going, I didn’t even know what to expect, just that it’d be a fun adventure.
Whelp, Mayne Island was utterly delightful. Imagine all the charm you think of with Prince Edward Island from LM Montgomery’s Anne books, and that’s the same atmosphere you get here. There’s even a thing called “island life,” where life feels a bit simpler and slower than the bustling life of nearby Vancouver.
It make sense since the whole island is only 21 km² with only a little over 1,000 locals!
Map of Mayne Island
Places to Visit in Mayne Island
Sunny Mayne Bakery
Our first stop was to get an early lunch at the very cute Sunny Mayne Bakery in Miners Bay. We were a bit too late for breakfast, so we got some of their soups and warm drinks since the late September weather was damp. They cafe is very cute, but be careful, it closes by 3:00 PM! I also saw later that there’s a nice thrift store nearby called Mayne Island Thrift Store.
Miners Bay in general is the main historic village of the island.
Once upon a time during the early 1900s, Mayne Island had a pretty strong Japanese-Canadian community. As you might guess from 20th century history, after many of them were sent to internment camps during WWII, they never returned to their homes. The Japanese Garden was created in part of Dinner Bay Park to honor their memory.
It’s a very pretty garden which feels a bit like you’re in Kyoto. In the spring, there are some cherry trees, and in the autumn, when we were there, you could see some of the foliage and colors.
If you visit around Christmas, there should be some festive decorations.
Books on Mayne
We stopped in Books on Mayne because, of course, I need to stop in any local bookstore I find! It’s a cute secondhand bookshop, and while there I picked up a book and some postcards. It’s cute because even just overhearing a conversation between the shopkeeper and a local shows you just how small this community is!
Farm Gate Store
In the same area is this nice little grocery store where I picked up some cheese and salami to snack on. If you’re on Mayne Island in the summer, I’d pick up some picnic supplies here or at the Saturday Farmer’s Market before going to one of the parks or beaches.
Georgina Point Heritage Park & Active Pass Lighthouse
Easily one of the prettiest spots on the island, you must stop at the Georgina Point Heritage Park around golden hour to see the Active Pass Lighthouse and just enjoy the sun beginning to set over the water. The lighthouse itself is about 45ft high (13.7m) and was built in 1969.
While there you can climb onto the rocks and just sit and enjoy the peace.
Bennett Bay Bistro
For your final stop, head over to get dinner at Bennett Bay Bistro. It’s actually so close to the US, that sometimes my phone sent me warnings about roaming! Because I had such heavy food earlier in the day (and in general most of my Vancouver food experiences were quite indulgent), I actually was craving a nice salad. The above is what I got, and it hit the spot perfectly. Nathalie had a poke dish I believe, and she wasn’t crazy about it.
Other Places to Go
Obviously, we had a nice, chill day trip to Mayne Island in September, so we didn’t do everything available. In the summer you can apparently swim at Campbell Bay and Piggot Bay. There are also some hiking trails you can do around Campbell Point and Mount Parke. If you’re looking for a nice church, stop by Mary Magdalene Church.
If you want to spend more time visiting other islands, you can! The biggest one is Vancouver Island. Other islands right around Mayne are Samuel, North Pender, Prevost, and Galiano.
How to Visit Mayne Island
How to Get to Mayne Island
The only way to get to Mayne Island is via a ferry. We took Nathalie’s car onto the ferry from Tsawwaseen Ferry Terminal. You need to book ahead, which you can do here. The ferry takes a little over an hour if I remember correctly. I know we had enough time to order poutine and hangout for a bit!
Best Time to Visit Mayne Island
It was nice and quiet when we went in September, so if you want something peaceful, I can guarantee it’s quite relaxing then! It does get a bit chillier, especially in the evenings, but just bring a coat.
High season is summer when there’s a lot more going on, like water sports, the Farmer’s Market, and more.
How to Get Around Mayne Island
Your best bet is bringing your car. The island is small, but it’s far from just being walkable and all the places I pointed above are pretty spread out. If you’re planning an active holiday, you can always check this site for advice on getting around without one.
Where to Stay in Mayne Island
Mayne Island Hotels
There were only two options for hotels when I looked on Booking. However, Seal Beach Cottage seems more similar to an Airbnb, so if you’re expecting a more typical hotel experience, I’d go with Mayne Island Resort, which is surprisingly affordable considering all it offers! It’s right on Bennett Bay, so, as you probably guessed, Bennett Bay Bistro is part of the property.
There’s also Springwater Lodge which, again, feels more like an Airbnb than a hotel, but it’s got a bit of history as it’s the oldest, continuously operating hotel in British Columbia.
Mayne Island Airbnbs
While there’s really only one typical hotel option on Mayne Island, there are quite a few charming Airbnbs to choose from. By far the most unique option is Cob Cottage, which looks like a mushroom on the outside.
Some other nice options are this private room with ocean views, this cute cottage, three blocks from the beach, or this guest suite with a private entrance. Check here for more Airbnbs on Mayne Island
Mayne Island Camping
There are options for camping on Mayne Island in the warmer months. Check here for more info on that.
Have you ever been to one of Canada’s islands? If I’m ever in a position to be eccentric and go off the grid to write my first novel, you can probably find me on Mayne Island!