5 Things to do on Bowen Island Before Summer Ends

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt
Disclosure: Review — This is not a paid post, views are my own. Our activities were courtesy of their operators and Bowen IslandPlease review the Policy & Disclosure section for further information.

Bowen Island is Vancouver’s Original Summer Getaway, being home to picnics, camping, hikes, paddles, and recreation for the better part of the last century. Earlier this summer, John and I got to experience a quick escape to Bowen, packing two days full of adventures by sea and land.

5 Things to do on Bowen Island

Bowen Island

There are more than 5 things to do per category, but here’s a start if you haven’t been to Bowen before, or if it’s been too long since your last visit. We were on the island for 48 hours and we fit all of this in and more, including some down time in our Union Steamship Cottage with the fireplace roaring. A day trip is always an option, and if you’re staying longer – lucky you!

Bowen Island

1) Food Tour

Bowen Island Food Tour

Bowen Island

Duration: 2.5-3 hours
Distance covered: 0.5-1km approximately
Cost:$69.00 – 3% donated to Bowen Island Food Bank

Enjoy the sweet and savoury side of Bowen as Jody Lorenz guides your walk that covers a bit of local history, and a whole lot of food. Come hungry! We stopped at Rustique Bistro; Lime & Moon Pie Company; Shika Provisions; The Snug Cafe; Doc Morgan’s; Candy in the Cove; Bowen Island Coffee; Bowen Island Beer & Wine Store; The Ruddy Potato Deli; and Cocoa West Chocolatier.


It’s great to do this tour at the start of your time on the island since it will give you ideas for planning out the rest of your meals during your trip. We ended up having breakfast at the Snug and dinner at Rustique Bistro following our tour. If we were staying longer, we’d stock up at the other locations to fill our cupboards.

2) Shoreline Kayak Tour

Bowen Island Sea Kayaking

Bowen Island

Located right on the dock, to the east of the Snug Cove ferry terminal, you’ll find another great tour option but this time on the water. The morning of our paddle, it was pouring rain and everyone seemed surprised that John and I were still up for the adventure. We arrived to meet owner Brent O’Malley, who reassured us of our decision: “Welcome to BC!” We set out for our journey all along the south east side of the island, following the shoreline and enjoying Ben’s narration. He covered geology, First Nations history, the Union Steamship era, the region’s marine ecosystem, and more during our soggy time on the water – it was fantastic.

Bowen Island

3) See the Island By Scooter

Zoom Zoom Bowen Island

Bowen Island

Since we took a bus from Downtown Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay, then walked on the ferry to Snug Cove, we were on the island without a vehicle. We were staying just a few steps from the ferry at the Union Steamship Cottages but to see the rest of the island, which is about 52 square km, we were set up with Zoom Zoom. Just steps away from our cottage we were given a quick course on scooter driving and safety from Zoom Zoom owner Jamie Woodall. Neither of us had been on one before, and we were a bit trepidatious at first, but after Jamie’s reassuring instructions we were off!

Bowen Island

Jody had recommended Killarney Lake, as well as the Cape Roger Curtis Lighthouse as destinations. We zipped around, hopped off, walked, explored, took photos, and really enjoyed seeing the island this way.

4) Hike on Bowen Island

Bowen Island

We didn’t get involved in a strenuous hike on Bowen Island but I know that Mount Garder is a popular spot. It’s a 7 hour hike to the peak of the island, over 17km, and gaining about 719 meters. The views, from the photos I have seen, are spectacular.

Bowen Island

Bowen Island

You can take a more level approach and hike around Killarney Lake at Crippen Park as John and I did, or pick up a trail guide for more ideas.

5) Appreciate the Art & History

Bowen Island

There are two museums within a 5 minute walk of the ferry terminal in Snug Cove, which made me very happy. We visited the museum and archives just up the road from Snug Cove, as well as Bowen Heritage, located in a cottage right behind our own.


Head up to Artisan Square — a community shuttle will get you there, or you can take your rental scooter. There you’ll find the Bowen Island Arts Council, galleries, studios, and many more creative spaces to browse and shop.

Bowen Island

If you don’t make it to Bowen Island before summer ends, you’ll still find some amazing events throughout the year. There’s the Bowen Island Wine Festival (September 24), Applefest (October 9), Light Up Bowen (December 3), Christmas Craft Fair (December 4), and more including a Moms’ Retreat and an Adult Spelling Bee this fall. The autumn colours will illuminate the island and we definitely know first-hand that even in the rain, a paddle around the island is still pretty spectacular.

Bowen Island

Follow Tourism Bowen Island on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

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3 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Murray AthertonTuesday, August 30th, 2016 — 3:07pm PDT

    What a wonderful compendia of ideas! Don’t forget our Website – http://www.tourismbowenisland.com Almost 18,000 Page Views this past month thanks to you, Miss604, and others. It is not as awful here as we like to make out. ha ha.

  2. Andrea Wickham-FoxwellWednesday, August 31st, 2016 — 2:34pm PDT

    Great round up. I haven’t been to Bowen in ages so had no idea how much there is to do there. I love the idea of the Zoom Zoom! What a great way to leave the car at home yet still get around to see the island. Bowen is on my list of BC backyard exploration for sure!

  3. Andrea Wickham-Foxwell…. We at Zoom Zoom are brand new! We would love to help you explore Bowen by scooter! As one of my riders said, “It’s like riding in a convertible, except you get a 360 degree view!”Friday, September 2nd, 2016 — 8:27pm PDT

    Andrea Wickham-Foxwell….Zoom Zoom is BRAND new! We would love to help you explore Bowen by scooter! As one of my riders said, “It’s like riding in a convertible, except you get a 360 degree view!” There are so many great places to explore beyond the cove and we are happy to get you there… Hope to see you soon!

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