Discover Spring & Summer on Bowen Island
Spring & Summer show Bowen at it’s most gorgeous. Here are a few of our favourite things to do in the sweet seasons, to get you inspired to make the most of your trip to Bowen Island. For even more ideas, head to our Activities page.
While there is plenty of hiking, swimming, and beach-bumming to fill your days here, don’t forget to check out what our community is really about by attending one of our local events, such as the Farmers Markets, Bookfest, the Strawberry Tea, or BowFest. See our Events page for a continually updated listing.
Bowen Island Sea Kayaking and Lime & Moon Pie company have come together to make your mid-week stay both healthier and sweeter! From their website:
Every Wednesday evening from 5 to 8 pm, Bowen Island Sea Kayaking and Lime and Moon Pie Company offer Pieyaking.
Rent a single kayak for $20 or a double kayak for $30 ($15 per person). When you return from kayaking you will get a 50% off any slice of pie coupon!
Why not make a full meal deal out of it, and grab a loaded rice bowl from Shika before (open seasonally), go for a paddle, and return for dessert? Check out all of Lime & Moon's delectable flavours here.
Every season has its berry, you just have to know where to look and what to look for.
One of the first berries to come out are salmonberries, which come in both a yellow-orange and a deep red variety. You can find these along the southern paths of Crippen Park, near the Meadows. Find more information on salmonberries here.
Bowen Island also has plenty of huckleberries throughout the summer, as well as blackberries for those staying in August and September.
While you may not have the time to brave this slug & berry salad recipe written by a local wild-food enthusiast, we hope you enjoy your harvest in your dinner, dessert, or popped into a bubbly glass of champaign, to celebrate your hard foraging work.
For information on berry-picking, check out a book from the Bowen Island Public Library. Click here for the do's and don'ts of berry-picking.
This is not an official guide to berries. Please use caution, and never pick berries you aren't completely sure are safe to eat.
Photo by Peter Stevens.
Yoga on the Pier
Bowen Island Yoga has offered some fun outdoor classes in the summer. If you're into both yoga and the great outdoors, be sure to check their website for their seasonal offerings. They've hosted both Yoga on the Pier mornings, as well as a combo Stand-Up Paddleboarding & Yoga on the Pier class.
Photo by Susanne Jespersen
Making the Market Rounds
We have two excellent outdoor markets on Bowen Island: the Farmers' & Tailgate Produce Markets, and the Seaside Marketplace (also know as the Summer Market, or Weekend Market).
Bowen Island Seaside Marketplace
Located on the lawn of the Union Steamship Marina, by their gift shop and across from the Library, this popular little market is a-flutter with a variety of crafts, art, baked goods, jewelry, clothing, and more. You can find it from 10am-4pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from July 1st to the Labour Day long weekend.
Bowen Island Farmers & Tailgate Produce Markets
There's nothing like cooking with fresh produce, grown on Bowen Island, to make your meals extra special. Every week offers different delights, but expect a wide variety of fruits, veggies, eggs, preserves, and baked goods at our Farmers & Tailgate Produce Markets.
Hours: 10am-12pm, Saturdays only ~ June through October. Check Facebook page for exact dates & times.
Located at the Bowen Island Community School: 1041 Mt. Gardner Road.
Bowen Island Farmers' Markets. A mix of fresh produce from local farms and gardens as well as homemade jams, baked goods, preserves, coffee, garden crafts, tea, seedlings, herbs, buskers and more! Approximately once a month on a Saturday, 10am-12pm.
Tailgate Sales. Located in the lower BICS parking lot, every Saturday on non-farmers'-market weekends.
Fresh picked fruit/veggies/eggs and garden starts only, (no processed foods/other items).
Sales start at 10am. Vendors will stay until they sell-out.
We have excellent year-round restaurants on Bowen Island, but the warm weather brings with it a few more open doors for those looking for a bite.
Paradise Grill. While you're perusing the Seaside Marketplace, you'll notice the ever-adorable Paradise Grill, Bowen's own version of big-city food-to-go, but established way before food truck culture was cool. Popping up reliably every summer since 1997, this burger & hot dog stand offer tons of fixings, including caramelized onions and pickles, plus veggie burgers and dogs, and slushies as well. Check out their Facebook page for details, and this "vintage" BowenTV video all about the Grill, complete with mouth-watering burger shots.
Lime & Moon Pie Company. Open in April on the pier for the warm season, this little pie shop offers a great selection of whole pies to go, as well as by-the-slice delectables that you can enjoy on pie picnic tables. They feature sweet and savoury favourites as well as specialty items, like Pink Peppercorn Pie, and raw vegan varieties. And if you happen to be there March 14, you may find some decorated pies celebrating Pi (3.14...) Day. Find your favourite flavour on their website here. But note: the website hours are for their Yaletown location. Call for Bowen Island hours.
Branch & Butter. Keep your eyes peeled for the newest addition to seasonal takeaway on the pier, a toast and ice cream shop called Branch & Butter, owned by the folks of Branch 01. For now, look for news on opening dates and more info on the Branch 01 Facebook page.
Beaches & Bioluminescence
After a long winter, you've earned your place in the sun! Check out our handy Beaches page for a map and listing, to guide you to your new favourite swimming, picnicking, playing, and tanning spot.
If you're game for a late-night beach adventure, you can witness the magic that happens in the sea water in late summer and early fall,
Bioluminescent microorganisms in the water will light up upon being disturbed, creating a sparkling galaxy below the surface. Bring a kayak and watch your paddles sparkle, or play at the water's edge with a stick. Or surround yourself with the glow by going for a late night swim (though our waters can be quite cold even in summer, so do play it safe).
Here's an article by the David Suzuki Foundation explaining more about this beautiful phenomenon of nature.
Guided Island Tour
If you're looking for an insider's take on Bowen Island, someone to show you around to places you might not find on your own, why not treat yourself to a guided tour of the island?
Friendly guide Jody Lorenz offers a variety of tour packages. Want to taste all Bowen has to offer, and burn off the calories as you go? Take a Savoury & Sweet tour. Perhaps you want to explore Bowen's past on a Heritage tour, or try a nordic walking introduction to the trails ...or combine all your interests in a custom tour! Check the website at bowenislandtours.com and book online, or call (604) 812-5041.
Secret Sunset Spots
Enjoy a later sunset at any of our north, south, or west side beaches, or the illuminated coastal mountains from the east side of Bowen Island. Anywhere you find yourself on a clear evening, you're in for a luminous show. We recommend combining your sunset-viewing excursion with a picnic or a walk, and maybe a mug of wine under a cozy blanket. Here are a few of our favourite spots to witness the end of day.
Cape Roger Curtis (west side). Savour a 45 minute walk along a waterfront trail, with sunset views west to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. Find more details and it's location on the map on our Beaches page.
Smugglers' Cove (north side). If you drive north along Eaglecliff Road, at the end of Eaglecliff turn left on Finisterre Road, left on Smugglers Cove and then right on Porter Road, there is a field at the end that's full of wild daisies in June and July. Looking north, the mountains will be ablaze with the colours of the sunset, if you time it right.
Tunstall Bay or Bowen Bay (west side). Both family beaches, great for swimming, paddling, and sunset-viewing. No dogs allowed in July and August.
When spending summer in a new place, locations of the cold-foods and beverage dispensers is a must-know. Here's our list of all things that will quench your thirst and cool your bod.
- Ice cream from the USSC Marina gift shop kiosk
- Cocoa West gelato
- Fresh squeezed juices and smoothies at the Snug
- Iced coffees galore!
- The General Store's ice cream treats freezer
- Whatever's in Rustique Bistro's glass drink dispenser that day. Some favourites: home-made lemonade and sangria
Fishing for Adventure
Fishing can happen in many forms off Bowen Island. It may be as simple as taking the kids down to the beach with a net, to catch minnows and crabs in a bucket to watch. Or it could be as sophisticated as chartering a boat for catching Howe Sound salmon. Jan Stevens recalls her childhood fishing adventures on Bowen Island:
"We used to take our hand line with our little hook. The line was wound around a stick. We would grab some muscles from the beach, crack them open, and then use the meat for bait while fishing off the dock. We kept the shiners alive in buckets of water. Then we would get our rods with reels and use the shiners to fish for rock cod off the dock. In the old days we didn’t need a fishing license, but of course today guests could get a license online." (Buy online here).
Happy Trails To You
You can enjoy hikes and walks all year round, but now that we have longer sunlight hours and warmer weather, being outside in nature is just that much easier. Here are some of our favourite trails for you to enjoy. Bring a to-go picnic and plenty of fluids, especially if you're tackling Mount Gardner ...it can take up to 8 hours (depending on your ability and where you start) and there's no Starbucks at the top! (Or anywhere on-island, for that matter).
Dorman Point. A short uphill hike, beginning from Snug Cove, with views to West Vancouver. Great for day-trippers on foot.
Crippen Park. Our village is surrounded by this lovely park, so step off the ferry and enjoy both nature & shops by foot.
Killarney Lake. Start from Snug Cove by walking approx. 40 minutes through Crippen Park, or drive to the trail start at Mount Gardner Road. Once at Killarney Lake, it's 1 hour around, mostly flat, and just lovely.
Mount Gardner. Start from Snug Cove or hitchhike/drive to the Mount Gardner Road trail start. Start early in the day, and bring snacks, water, and your camera for the spectacular views from the top!
Quarry Park. Have a shady rest by the pond and wander the forest. Hike up Bob's Knob for westward views, or find the elusive Fairy Fen.
Headwaters Park. If you want to extend your Quarry Park hike, cross the street for this easy loop.
Golf Course Trail. Stroll around the golf course, nipping down to Seymour Bay beach to cool your feet, and circle back to the Cup Cutter restaurant for a bite or a beverage.
You can pick up a $2.00 Rotary Trails Map brochure, (we have linked to the online version here), from the Visitor Info Centre or the Bowen Island Public Library, or view it online at bowentrails.ca.
Paddle for Pleasure
The best thing about being on an island? Water all around! That means swimming, fishing, wading, boating, floating, and of course, a west-coast favourite, kayaking! Rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) for a leisurely day on the water from Bowen Island Sea Kayaks on the pier by the ferry dock.
Already a pro? Register in the ‘Round Bowen Challenge, and race to complete a whole (33km) or half (13-19km) circumnavigation of the island. This long-standing event usually occurs on the last Saturday of June, and features a Bowen-famous salmon BBQ after. Find more information here.
Stars in Your Eyes
We may be just a stone’s throw away from the big city, but you wouldn’t know it when the sun sets. Stargazing on a clear night is a simple pleasure enjoyed only when the lights of the city are behind you, and on Bowen the stars shine for you. Hit your patio or an open field, with a blanket and hot drink in tow, and gaze up at the wonders of the universe.
If you’re tech-inclined, download one of the many star-gazing apps for your smart phone, and learn the names of the celestial bodies above us.
And before you head over, you can check if the weather will be suitable for star-gazing: click here.