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.
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
The Well on Bowen offers a full schedule of yoga and wellness classes in their Artisan Square studio and some fun outdoor classes during the summer months – such as Yoga on the Pier. Check out their website for their schedule including special events.
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 little casual market offers a changing variety of crafts, art, baked goods, jewelry, clothing, and more. Sunday 10am-4pm 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 ~ May 11 through October 12.
Located at the Bowen Island Community School: 1041 Mt. Gardner Road.
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.
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 food-tasting 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.
- A cone from Union Steamship Marina's ice cream window
- Branch on Bowen scoops the popular artisanal Earnest Ice Cream
- Cocoa West's gelato
- Fresh squeezed juices and smoothies at The Snug Café
- The Ruddy Potato Café's iced coffee and kombucha on tap
- The General Store's treats freezer
- Barcelona Tapas & Wine Bar's sangria and wines on tap
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. 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 guests today can buy a license online." (Buy online here).
Happy Trails To You
You can enjoy hikes and walks all year round, but with the longer summer days 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 but steep uphill hike, beginning from Snug Cove, with views to West Vancouver and Vancouver Island in the distance. Allow at least a half hour up or a one-hour minimum return.
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 about 1-1.5 hours around, with some short steep sections.
Mount Gardner. There are many trails and three trailheads: Killarney Lake, Laura Road and Bluewater. You can, if you wish, hike up one side and go down the other, then bus or car-shuttle back. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, bring snacks, water, and your camera for the spectacular views from the top! Over 700 meter elevation gain. Allow minimum 3 hours.
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 occurs in June. 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.