How to Drive Your Way Through the Canadian Archipelago

Cars Parked On Deck Of A British Columbia Ferry Vessel Moving Through The Salish Sea
Christopher Kimmel/Aurora Photos

Road-tripping isn’t exactly what pops to mind when you think of the Northwest’s Salish Sea, a series of interconnected waterways and islands that separate Vancouver Island from mainland Canada and the U.S. But thanks to a fleet of 13 drive-aboard ferries that run to 13 of the islands in the sea’s Canadian archipelago, you can explore the laid-back lifestyles—and get a personalized porpoise- and orca-watching cruise.

Once ashore, each island has winding roads and its own vibe, from the art studios on Pender Island to the sloping apple orchards and rock-strewn beaches on Mayne to the meandering back roads of Galiano Island. Some islands can be toured in a day. Others, like Salt Spring Island, with lush wineries and a farm-to-table culture that has produced a worthy restaurant scene, deserve a night or three.

Start in Vancouver then loop through Galiano, Mayne, Pender, Saturna, and Salt Spring. Then hop the ferry to Vancouver Island and wrap up your trip with a wine and spirits tour in the Cowichan Valley, before leaving the islands in your wake and sailing back to Vancouver.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!