Nice day trip from Vancouver: Visiting Bowen Islands, BC

This post shares my experience visiting Bowen Island in Vancouver.

As I was scouting for places to visit around Vancouver, Bowen Island came up as a popular option. It wasn't very clear what to do after reaching there, since I didn't have a vehicle to explore but I decided to go check it out anyways.

From my hostel I took skytrain to downtown, then took 257 Express to Horseshoe Bay. Took about a hour to reach here and I could buy ticket for the 10.15 AM ferry to Bowen Island. Ferry is operated by BC Ferries. Ticket costs 10.75 CAD (Return- there's no one way concept- if you're visiting the island on some day you've to return to mainland, so it is always return ticket- no ticket check during return journey).

Ferry took about 20 minutes to reach Bowen Island. As I got off the ferry, I looked for any possible bicycle rentals- there were none. There was a kayaking rental shop but closed. Guess we'll have to book in advance to ensure someone will be there to arrange things- I had not booked anything in advance. I could see a bus waiting- it had Translink written on it and I immediately recognized my day pass would work on this bus. I decided I will board this bus and go wherever it goes- I will get a free tour of the island- driver asked me where I wanted to go- I said nowhere particular, just want to ride- he asked me to come back at 12 Noon. He said right now he is doing a short ride to some place, nothing to see. At 12 noon he is doing the 281 route to Eaglecliff which will have more things to see.

I didn't have anything to counter his suggestion, so I agreed. It was 10.50 AM, I had 70 minutes. I decided to walk around and found a walking trail. Took this trail to see a mini stream (it was named waterfall though)


Then proceeded to reach a lake. En-route saw a horse field- no-one was around and no horses- but looked like one could take a short horse ride here, as per the display there.




Reached till the Killarney lake and walked back to bus stop. Still had 10 minutes, went and had one coffee and a cookie to keep me going till evening.

If you have time you can walk along the lake

A war memorial

At 12 as promised the bus showed up. Another visiting couple and a local man joined. Driver said he has been living on the island for about 45 years now. He discussed a lot of things with the other couple who seemed to be from neighborhood- I was a silence listener.

He said there's a private school here for which students visit from mainland. Otherwise public school is till higher secondary only, after which students go to mainland for further studies.

There's a small firehall, Bowen is an independent municipality.

Bus took us to a small shopping area, then across the island to Bowen Bay, where we were given 20 minutes time. Most areas were private properties. Driver said many houses were build elsewhere and floated over to Bowen Island.


When we reached ferry point back it was 1 PM. A ferry was approaching. Next ferry was for 2.50PM. So I wasn't sure if I want to stay back for another 2 hours or return to mainland. Decided to take the ferry. Rest of the evening I spent exploring Stanley Park- will write about it in a separate post.

Overall Bowen Island makes a calm, nature friendly day trip from Vancouver, where you can spend some relaxed time at your own pace.

My expense visiting Bowen Island:
10.25 CAD for day pass, 10.75 CAD for BC Ferry, some 5.5 CAD for a coffee and cookie. Total- about 26 CAD

Below are some tips while visiting Bowen Islands
1. Note down ferry timings and plan around that, to avoid unnecessary waiting
2. Didn't see any hotels,big restaurants there, small eateries available, take whatever you may need for the day
3. Advance booking may be required if you're planning to rent Kayak, cycle etc- check with concerned companies. You can take your cycle (say rented in Vancouver or Horseshoe bay) on the ferry.
4. Half day is reasonable time to explore- if you'd like to hike more, you can plan till evening as well.
5. Couple of buses operate within the island-Translink day pass works. You can use them to explore the island. Didn't see any taxi for hire.

Similar: 12 things to do in Gan Island, Maldives * Visiting James Bond island on my own without package * Qionghua Island, Beijing * Nusa Penida off Bali

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