Things To Do on Bowen Island, A Charming Island Off The Coast of Vancouver

For a quick trip from Vancouver, consider heading to Bowen Island – a laid-back rural island filled with charming boutiques, casual eateries and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Only a 20-minute ferry ride away from West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay, Bowen Island makes for a great day trip or weekend jaunt.

Seeing and Doing

Once you exit the ferry, you’ll enter a charming little village right by the marina known as Snug Cove.  In this area, pop in and explore the Catching Star Gallery, where you can admire art from local artists, see the World’s Smallest Candy store, and learn about Bowen Island’s heritage at the Cottage Museum.

Snug Cove is also home to the Visitor Center, delicious restaurants, and clothing/souvenir shops. It is the main hub of the island and the first and last stop you’ll make on Bowen Island.

Aside from enjoying the rural offerings, Bowen Island is also known for its outdoor adventures and wellness activities. At the marina, stop by the Bowen Island Sea Kayaking shop to rent kayaks or paddleboards and explore the island by water.

The waters are calm and uncrowded, so you can paddle your way around the island in a leisurely manner. Whether you want to take a kayaking tour or go at your own pace, you can see some lovely sights, such as Finisterre Island and a number of beaches, including Cates Bay Beach and Deep Bay.

For on land adventures, Bowen Island has a number of trails for beginners and experienced hikers. Three main trails include Dorman Point (a 1.5 hour hike), Crippen Park (1.25 hour hike) and Mt. Gardner (a challenging 5-6 hour hike). For an “Off The Beaten Path” experience, Bowen Island Tours offer guided hiking tours that take you on a trail less traveled. You can bet each one of these trails offer spectacular views!

Eating and Drinking

Back at Snug Cove, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner all in one spot. The Snug Cove Cafe is quite popular for breakfast among tourists and locals – as the meals are casual but hearty, and served in a small turquoise wooden building that you can’t help but find charming.

Along the same road, you’ll find multiple other offerings, with each restaurant excelling in a certain cuisines – such as Barcelona for Spanish Tapas or Tuscany for Italian pizza. And for a sweet treat, hop over to Branch & Butter, where you can enjoy unique flavours of ice cream, such a Beer & Pretzels and Vegan Maple Walnut.

In the evening, for something more lively, head over to Bowen Island Pub – where you can enjoy live music, a leisurely meal and a quick game of pool.


A little further north of Snug Cove, you’ll find Artisan Square, a small community with retail boutiques, cafes, fine art and shops specializing in health and wellness.  Stop by Cocoa West Chocolatier for a taste of organic chocolate, enjoy pastries at Artisan Eats Bakery, admire local artisans at various studios and galleries, and get your sweat on at the gym or unwind at the local yoga studio, The Well.


In the Summer, Bowen Island has many local events and festivals that bring the community together. You can enjoy Long Table Dinners, meet the community at the People, Plants and Places Biennial Tour or attend the annual End of Summer festival, Bowfest.

Bowen Island’s natural haven also makes for a spectacular location for wellness retreats. Throughout the Summer, you can practice Yoga on the Pier and in the Fall, you can partake in several 3-day retreats at the Bowen Island Lodge.

The Bowen Island Lodge will host a series of retreats exclusively for women this Fall:

  • Free Your Creative Energy – September 14 – 16, 2018 – a retreat that mixes wellness activities with creative workshops
  • The Art of Slow Living – October 5 – 7, 2018 – a retreat based on personal growth, wellness and mindfulness
  • Unplug and Recharge – November 2-4, 2018 – a technology-free retreat to help you unwind before the holiday season

These retreats offer a great opportunity to discover what Bowen Island is all about! All facilitators and partners are Bowen Island locals, encompassing local artists, business owners and yoga/wellness instructors. Each of these retreats will help you unwind and reconnect, while being surrounded by Bowen Island’s serene and natural beauty.

To learn more about Bowen Island, click here.

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