It’s easy to think that the list of attractions at a remote island such as Salt Spring would be minimal. The reality is that the island is packed with local gems, guaranteed to keep you engaged with the world outside Lightwater Cove. In this post, we’ve combined a list of our favourite places to visit when you stay with us. There is truly something for everyone on this island, whether you and your traveling party are into the foodie experience, wine, a lavender farm, art, or the great outdoors. Let’s explore the best of Salt Spring Island attractions!
Get a taste of Provence without going to France when you visit this boutique lavender farm. After less than a 15 minute drive from Lightwater Cove, experience over 60 varieties of lavender with lovely aromas and in a tranquil setting. Learn about its many uses and shop handcrafted body care products. There is even an operating equine program on the farm. It offers a wide range of therapeutic and personal development support using the transformative power of the bond with horses.
Salt Spring Saturday Market
If you’ve timed it right to be on our island on a Saturday from April to October, we recommend going to the Saturday Market. It’s one of the can’t miss attractions of Salt Spring Island! Located at Centennial Park in Ganges, you’ll know that you are there when you spot the line of people waiting to enter the market. Take your time exploring the stalls. There are many incredible offerings such as handcrafted jewelry, art & photography, paper goods, woodwork, local produce, artisanal foods, and so much more. Plus you can get a pulse of what’s going on in the community from talking to locals while listening to live music!
For the foodie traveler, visiting this artisanal cheese shop is a must. After nearly 20 years as a family owned and operated business, Salt Spring Island Cheese has perfected the art and skill of making cheese with goat milk, dairy culture, sea salt, and rennet. You can see the process in action by taking a peek through the viewing windows in their production facility. Check out the farm shop and café if you are there anytime from July to Labour Day. While you are outside, feel free to walk around the farm, see the animals, and take in more of the island’s stunning scenery. Salt Spring Island Cheese is close to Lightwater Cove, at an under 10 minute drive.
Read more about Salt Spring Island’s cafes and restaurants HERE.
The site of a 100 year old farm that was converted from fruit trees and sheep grazing to a winery, Garry Oaks has been producing award winning wine for nearly 15 years. Sustainability is a guiding principle, as this winery only bottles what they grow and employs many organic processes, to name a few. Their tasting room is open from April to October with varying hours as the seasons progress. You can find their wines sold at many local restaurants and some in Victoria. The winery is a 15 minute drive from Lightwater Cove.
Salt Spring Island might be far from major centers of art, but that doesn’t mean that quality art doesn’t exist right here! With 14 years of business, Gallery 8 Art features original paintings, sculptures, ceramics, glassworks, jewelry, photography and hand carved woodworks. The gallery introduces you to work by local artists, from other areas of BC, and around the country. This is not a reproduction of mass produced art as these pieces are truly one of a kind. Gallery 8 Art is open 7 days a week and is located in Ganges (not too far away from the Saturday Market), and is a 20 minute drive from Lightwater Cove.
Salt Spring Adventures is passionate about helping you connect with the island’s waterways and learning about our fragile ecosystem. Whether you’re seeking thrilling group tours through our incredible Gulf Islands or looking to rent equipment for your own adventure, they have you covered. Choose from several kayaking, whale watching, and zodiac tours ranging from exploring the local harbour to going out to further islands. All guides are seasoned professionals, who love nerding out with you about the natural environment. This is the place to be if you love adventure, physical activity, and exploring nature. Located in Ganges, Salt Spring Adventures is a 20 minute drive from Lightwater Cove.
Read more about Salt Spring Island attractions HERE.
Ruckle Provincial Park
No island comes complete without a Provincial Park. With 7 km of shoreline and plenty of tucked away coves and bays to explore, Ruckle Park is fun for the whole family. There is also a surrounding forest, a field, and shore habitats to take in. Keep your eyes peeled for sea lions and whales out at sea, along with mink and shore otters dotting the shore line. Not to mention that the tidal pools have plenty of crab, mussel, limpet, oyster, sculpin, starfish, and other sea creatures. This is truly a vibrant park and natural habitat, one that requires all visitors to respect the land they visit so others can keep enjoying it. The Park is open from the end of March to the end of October. Some areas are dog friendly and camping sites are available.
The park is a quick 6 minute drive or a 40 minute walk from Lightwater Cove.
Ruckle Heritage Farm
Ruckle Heritage Farm, established in 1872 by Henry Ruckle, is a treasured attraction on Salt Spring Island. As the oldest active family farm in the Gulf Islands and an important part of the province’s agricultural heritage, it holds significant historical value. In 1973, the land was purchased by the Province of BC, and a life tenancy agreement allowed six family members to occupy and farm the historic area. When the agreement expired in 2019, BC Parks took over management of the Farm and its heritage structures. They entered into a contract with Mike and Marjorie Lane, who now operate the farm and ensure its future sustainability.
The farm was once home to a vast orchard, livestock, and various crops. In 1974, the Ruckle family bequeathed the farm and the surrounding property to BC’s provincial park service. The condition being that the 202-acre farmstead remains a working farm. Today, the Lanes continue to honor the Ruckle family’s wishes, managing the farm while preserving the beautiful forested parkland. With their dedication and respect for the land, the Lanes embody the spirit of stewardship and the Ruckle family’s legacy, ensuring that future generations can cherish this remarkable place.
The Farm is very close to Lightwater Cove with a 4 minute drive or a 30 minute walk.
For the independent and group-tour disliking travellers, this is the perfect way to explore Salt Spring Island without any schedules or pre-set order of places. This tour is entirely self-guided. There are 18 studios to visit, all identified with the trademark black sheep sign. (Some of the places are even listed on this post!) They range from workshops, art creation, indulging in deliciously baked goods, local wine and cheese, farms, and more. Owners are on hand to show you how their offerings are made and answer any questions you may have. All you need is to download the map and visit the corresponding studios whenever you want during business hours. Depending on where you start, the distance from Lightwater Cove varies.
Share this article
More for you to explore
Meditation For Wellbeing
July 24, 2022 | Wellness
Meditation has been practiced as a practice for thousands of years. It has been used as a way to connect with the divine, and as a way to reduce stress and anxiety. In today’s fast-paced, high-tech world, everyone is feeling the strain. Finding a way…
Sustainable living is a way of life that aims to reduce your carbon footprint, through reducing, reusing, recycling, and conserving. There are many ways you can incorporate sustainable living into your life. These include utilizing more sustainable household technology, practicing green transportation, buying eco-friendly household products, and…