Getting to the Gulf Islands
Gulf Islands Travel Tip
The Southern Gulf Islands are located in the Strait of Georgia which lies between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. Access to the Southern Gulf Islands is by BC Ferries via the Swartz Bay terminal at the foot of Highway 17 just past Sydney on Vancouver Island and the Tsawwassen Terminal at the foot of Highway 17 in Delta on BC's mainland.
times from Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay are anywhere from 60 minutes to three hours depending
on which island you are visiting. Reservations are recommended at the Tsawwassen Terminal and
it's almost impossible to get on during the summer or holiday weekends without them.
Reservations are not accepted at the Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island.
Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island services the Penders, Mayne, Saturna, Galiano and Salt Spring
Island. There are more sailings from Vancouver Island to the Southern Gulf Islands than
from the mainland and during the busy season when the sailings from Vancouver are full, many
motorists board the ferry to Victoria (Swartz Bay) and sail to the other islands from there. The
price is the same, just as long as you let them know where you are going and ask for a thru-fare coupon.
Salt Spring Island, the most populated island, has three ferry harbors: Fulford Harbour; Long
Harbour and Vesuvius Bay. BC Ferries sails out of Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island to Fulford
Harbour at least a dozen times a day. Ferries from Tsawwassen on the mainland leave for Long
Harbour 2 or 3 times a day. Vesuvius Bay has hourly sailings from 7am to 11pm from Crofton on
There is a minimum of two sailings a day going in both directions from both terminals to the rest
of the islands except Saturna Island. Passengers and motorists from the mainland wishing to
reach Saturna Island need to go to Vancouver Island and board the ferry at Swartz Bay.
The schedules change twice a year, summer and winter. For rates and current schedules and to
make reservations call 888 BC Ferry or visit their website at