6 Best Gulf Islands Travel Books

Looking for Gulf Islands travel books? We’ve put together this list of the 6 best Gulf Islands travel books to help you plan your trip to BC’s Southern Gulf Islands.

The Gulf Islands offers beautiful vistas where the mountains meet the ocean. We have abundant wildlife and many visitors get to see orca in their natural habitat, as well as bears, bald eagles, sea birds such as blue herons, and other wildlife.

The mild climate that this area enjoys means that outdoor adventures are possible for most of the year, from early spring around Victoria Day, until late fall around Labour Day.

For the most part, travellers to the area looking forward to exploring the area and enjoying outdoor activities, whether they want to explore the islands on their bicycle, head out on the water with their kayak, play a round of golf at one of the local courses, and maybe even enjoy some snorkelling.

This is a paradise for boaters, and many places in and around the gulf islands are not accessible any other way, and several islands (including Moresby, Prevost and Valdes) don’t have a ferry service.

We have found that having a book as a guide for trip planning during your trip can be really helpful, which is why we’ve put together this list of Gulf Islands travel books, covering many of the activities you choose from while exploring the Gulf Islands. Despite our modern times and infrastructure, some of the Gulf Islands have areas without cell (mobile) service or WiFi, so having a physical book for reference can be very helpful. Here are some books that will help you plan your trip and make the most of your visit to the Gulf Islands:

Best Guide for Undersea Gulf Island Explorers

Snorkelling Adventures Around Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands: The Ultimate Guide
If you’re interested in exploring the marine life off the coast of Vancouver Island and around the Gulf Islands then this guide by area local Sara Ellison is a great reference for what to expect, and how to get a great look at the native marine life without having to learn to use, and then lug around scuba gear. Even the famous Jacques Cousteau said that this area was one of the most fascinating temperate diving destinations.

Best Guide for Boating around the Gulf Islands

The Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island: Victoria & Sooke to Nanaimo
The Dreamspeaker Guide to the Southern Gulf Islands is a classic guide has just been revised for 2024 (5th edition) and is a fantastic guide for boaters exploring the area of the Southern Gulf Islands. Covering marine parks and areas only accessible by water, including details with hand-drawn charts, photographs and information on local marinas.

Best for Hikers

Hiking the Gulf Islands of British Columbia
There are so many options for great hikes in the Gulf Islands, this guidebook is a great companion for exploring the many great beaches, stunning views and picking hikes with your preferred level of difficulty. It also has details for kayakers on the best places to launch and explore paddling.

Best Guide for Cyclists

Cycling the Gulf Islands: A Guide to Scenic Routes on the San Juan and Gulf Islands
This book covers both the Gulf Islands and our southern neigbours the San Juan Islands, providing details for cycling around 11 different islands and including important information such as difficulty, start and endpoints, areas of interest and loaded with colour photos. For the Gulf Islands, you’ll find guides for Salt Spring Island, Pender Island, Mayne Island, Galliano Island, Gabriola Island, Denman Island and Hornby Island. The guide also includes the San Juan Islands, covering San Juan Island, Lopez Island, Orcas Island and Shaw Island.

Best Guide for Kayakers

Sea Kayak the Gulf Islands
This guide offers 23 different trips for exploring the Gulf Islands, originally written in 1990, this revised edition has information on tides, currents, safety considerations and charts, including great information on launch locations. The author is an experienced local kayaker who has spent countless hours on the water and has a wealth of knowledge to share. This is the definitive resource for paddlers in BC’s southern Gulf Islands.

Best Book About the Gulf Islands

Enchanted Isles: The Southern Gulf Islands
Featuring beautiful photographs by this site’s own Kevin Oke (founder of this Gulf Islands Guide website), this coffee table worthy book that covers the history, character and interesting places in the Gulf Islands is a keeper. Covering each of the islands from Nanaimo to Victoria, this book provides a lot of depth and is a great reference for visitors, and islands lovers (nesomanes) alike.

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