The floating lodge is not uncommon in British Columbia, whose western coast is fringed with thousands of densely forested islands and more than 16,000 miles of shoreline. For decades fishermen have followed salmon runs from floating shacks on rafts, and loggers still access remote swaths of woods from their barge-top mobile homes. But King Pacific is the grandest floating lodge of all.
Vancouver-based Creekside Architects helped design the 17-room, 20,000-square-foot lodge – which was constructed in 1999 from native pine, fir, cedar, and stone – to feel airy and open, with soaring atriums and oversize windows. In the lodge's Great Room, red cedar walls – accented by massive pine columns and fir beams – and floor-to-ceiling windows frame views of KPL's utterly wild setting: a placid harbor surrounded by endless waves of spruce, cedar, and fir forest.
Cast to salmon on unnamed streams, sign up for heli-hiking forays into the Great Bear, or sea kayak pristine shorelines. If it's September, join a guided trek to look for the rare white kermode (or "spirit") bear. Every May a tugboat pulls the navy barge on which KPL stands to the tangled shores of Princess Royal Island, where it remains tethered for the summer. The uninhabited, 568,000-acre island lies smack in the heart of the recently protected Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact tract of temperate rain forest on the planet. Miles from the nearest town, KPL ferries in all guests on a floatplane.
More information: From $4,800 for three nights, including flights from Vancouver, meals, and activities; May through September [kingpacificlodge.com].