Bowen Island

Out and About Bowen Island

Bowen Island is a boater’s paradise, nestled in the northern Gulf Islands amongst the Coast Mountain Range. Mt. Gardner stands proudly against Bowen’s skyline at 762 meters. Like most Gulf Islanders, Bowen Island residents are proud of their home and enjoy their rugged wilderness home.


Every Island has a story …

In 1860, Bowen Island near Vancouver was renamed after him, by Captain George Henry Richards, in recognition of his part in the June 1794 battle. (It might be thought that the Queen Charlotte Islands, further north in British Columbia, were named after the ship he commanded at the battle. However, they were so-named in 1787, several years before the battle, by Captain George Dixon who was on a trading voyage in the area in a ship called Queen Charlotte.) Logging interests attracted many of the first settlers, as did farming, fishing, and hunting. Early settlements sprung up next to Bowen’s beautiful coves and bays, and small communities such as Deep Bay, Snug Cove, Miller’s Landing, and Tunstall Bay were formed.By 1900, the special clay found on Bowen promoted a brick making industry in addition to the other natural resources ventures. However, Bowen would later become better known as a recreational retreat for Vancouver residents, especially after a regular steamship service was introduced in the early 1900’s. Bowen was often referred to as ‘The Happy Isle’. After car ferries began to visit the island, the population of Bowen would steadily increase, and it continues to grow to this day.

Who lives on Bowen?

There are about 3,000 full time residents living on Bowen Island, however, another 1,500 people call Bowen their summer home. From artists to retirees, Bowen’s 52 square kilometres is home to a great variety of people. There are even residents who commute daily to Vancouver. 

Where is it and how do I get there?

There is easy access by BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Bowen Island, arriving in Snug Harbour on Howe Sound. Ferries run hourly, but you can always check the schedule at when making your travel plans. You can also call 1-888-BCFERRY (BC) or (250) 386-3431 (Victoria).

When should I go?

The temperate climate (the mildest in all of Canada) makes the Gulf Islands the perfect destination almost any time of the year. Enjoy spring as early as February; warm, sunny, and dry summers; the vibrancy of fall; and, frost-free winters perfect for hiking, cycling, or kayaking. You really can’t go wrong no matter when you plan to visit!A tip for packing: bring layers. You may need clothing for all types of weather during your visit – warmth, wind, and water! Nights are always a little chilly – especially if you are walking by the water – so bring a light jacket even in the summer.

What should I do when I get there?

Visit Bowen Island’s historic Union Steamship Company store, Regional Park information site, and commercial centre. Bowen’s main street offers everything from gifts to restaurants to recreational outlets. The locals are always friendly and willing to answer questions or simply take time to chat.What are some of the Island’s unique features?

Be Entertained ...

From concerts to arts festivals, Bowen Island’s residents maintain an active social life and you can too, when you stopover. Visit one of the many restaurants after taking in some of the galleries, book store, or marinas. For a full business directory, check out

Discover the Water...

Bowen is considered a boater’s paradise and attracts many Vancouverites to the area. Sailing and boating charters can be scheduled while visiting. Visit online to get more information. 

Explore the Parks & Beaches ...

Crippen Regional Park, on the east side of the island, includes much of Snug Cove. Bowen Island has 15 or so beaches to explore, as well as three mountains, two valleys, and four lakes.


Where should I stay? 

No matter what your budget will allow there are a number of  accommodation options available to you!  Gulf Island Accommodations


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