Skip to Content

37 Best things to do on Hornby Island BC

This guide to the best things to do on Hornby Island will help you plan the ultimate weekend trip from Vancouver.

Hornby Island lies in the Salish Sea off the coast of Mainland British Columbia and is also known as “Little Hawaii.”

It’s something of a hidden gem of the British Columbia coastline and is one of the Gulf Islands.

Situated on the unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation, Hornby Island was formerly known as Ja-dai-aich or “outer island.” 

My visits to Hornby Island have been something special. From the peaceful hiking trails on Hornby Island to some of the most beautiful swimming spots and the best Hornby Island beaches and discovering great Hornby Island restaurants, or beautiful camp sites on Hornby Island; I just love visiting this place!

If you’re planning on visiting Hornby Island as a weekend break from Vancouver, or want to know how to get there, we’ll explore the best things to do in Hornby Island from beaches to trails, art and culture to discover all that this idyllic island paradise has to offer!

Best things to do on Hornby Island

Map of what to do in Hornby Island

Click to view the interactive Hornby Island map of the best things to do on Hornby Island.

hornby island map
click to view interactive map
tribune bay provincial park hornby island

1. Visit Tribune Bay Provincial Park

Tribune Bay Beach is one of the best options if you’re looking for a beautiful Hornby Island beach. Honestly, visiting the beaches is easily one of the best things to do on Hornby Island. 

Hornby Island has some of the most spectacular beaches in BC – there’s a reason it’s nicknamed Little Hawai! The island also has hot and dry summers meaning that visiting the beaches on Hornby Island is a must-do activity. 

However, even during fall, winter, and spring, the beaches are still worth exploring for a peaceful walk along the water’s edge and discovering the surrounding area during low tide.

Tribune Bay Provincial Park is one of the top attractions on Hornby Island, covering 105 hectares of natural terrain. 

The park is home to some of the most stunning white sand beaches in the Gulf Islands, as well as fascinating sandstone formations that almost look like cool Hornby Island caves similar to those on Galiano Island

The water in Tribune Bay is surprisingly warm, and during summer, the bright aqua water feels almost tropical. 

Guarded by the magnificent bluffs of St. John’s Point, which is part of Helliwell Provincial Park, the bay is a safe place to swim, as the water stays shallow for a significant distance from the shore.

Recently, the provincial government purchased an additional 10 hectares, fully connecting the original Tribune Bay Provincial Park to Tribune Bay Campground. 

Big Tribune Bay Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island and is known for its soft white sand and warm ocean water.

This beach can get quite busy but remains a popular destination for adventurers seeking a day of fun in the sun.

2. Visit Little Tribune Bay Beach

Right next to Tribune Bay Provincial Park is Little Tribune Bay Beach. Here you’ll find unique terrain and breathtaking views, partly attributed to its status as a clothing-optional beach! 

It offers a more relaxed and peaceful beach experience in comparison to its larger neighbor. However, it doesn’t boast the same level of perfect sand. 

What you will find though are seats made from driftwood washed up on this Hornby beach and a younger crowd hanging out and sharing drinks after work or on sunny weekends. 

3. Explore the architecture and beauty on Hornby Island’s countryside roads

On Hornby Island, it seems as though every house has been built to be unique and they’ll keep you interested as you drive around the island.

Even the Hornby Island cemetery is visually appealing and each grave represents a distinct creation adorned with symbolic items, such as a mushroom statue, bicycle, rack of antlers, and even a chainsaw. Each grave reflects the personal style and essence of the person it commemorates.

This is one of my favorite things to do on Hornby Island – just exploring with no real aim! 

4. Immerse yourself in local art on Hornby Island British Columbia

Art lovers will be in their element on Hornby Island, as the island is home to many talented artists whose work can be found in studios, galleries, and workshops throughout the island.

Hornby Island has one of the densest artist populations in the entire country, with more art studios per capita than even the famous Salt Spring Island.

A must-visit for art enthusiasts is the Jeffrey Rubinoff Sculpture Park, which features over 100 metal sculptures spread over a 200-acre space. To help navigate the island’s artistic offerings, pick up a Studio Guide from the Co-op.

Hornby’s extensive community of resident artists includes writers, musicians, painters and photographers, sculptors, potters, and wood and metal workers.

If you’re interested in discovering the artistic scene, you can check out the Hornby Island Arts Council website. 

Whatever your artistic preference, the island’s many studios and galleries are sure to offer plenty of inspiration and creative energy.

hornby island sandstone rocks

5. Find Hornby Island’s secret beach with unique rock formations

Head south of Ford’s Cove Store at low tide to find a hidden beach with fascinating rock formations that look like fossilized spider webs and some small carved-out caves on the side of the shore.

It’s one of the best things to see on Hornby Island – just remember to check the tide times! 

6. Shop at Hornby Farmer’s Market

Hornby Island’s farmer’s market is located on Sollans Road next to the RCMP office on a spot known as “The Copse.”

It’s open from 11 am to 2 pm every Saturday from the May long weekend to the end of September and is one of the top Hornby Island attractions in my view.

There’s nothing quite like browsing a farmers’ market and stocking up on delicious and unique goods while you’re on vacation!

In July and August, a second weekly market runs on Wednesdays at the same time. The market features a diverse group of artists, bakers, growers, hand-crafting specialists, and even performance artists; so plenty to keep you entertained!  

7. Attend the Hornby Art Festival

One of the best things to do on Hornby Island is to attend the Hornby art festival, a 10-day event. This festival is considered one of the most unique and memorable summer festivals in Canada. 

During this festival, held every August, you can enjoy 12 to 16 concerts and explore the island’s art scene. 

The festival’s popular “Art in Unusual Places” is not to be missed, with mainstage artists performing short sets in strange locations around the island, like the Big Tribune Bay beach, Sandpiper Bluffs, and even the recycling depot!

whaling station bay beach hornby island

8. Whaling Station Bay

When visiting Hornby Island, a visit to Whaling Station Bay is a must-do. 

Located just north of Helliwell Provincial Park, this bay is home to one of the island’s most popular beaches, with nice homes lining the surrounding hills. 

This wide beach with safe, shallow water is ideal for families to spend a relaxing day in the sun or watch people playing volleyball.

During the busy days of summer, the atmosphere can be very festive, with group games of beach volleyball adding to the fun. Wildlife lovers will also enjoy exploring the tide pools, as many birds frequent the area and you can sometimes spot eagles hunting perch.

Whaling Station Bay on Hornby Island is easy to get to too. Just turn at the Co-op and follow St John’s Point Road to Anderson Drive.

Along this road, there are a few small pull-out areas where you can park up and use one of the beach access points to walk down to the ocean.

While the former whaling station is long gone you can still go hunting for treasures in the rock pools. And, be sure to keep your eyes open for eagles which are frequently seen around here!

9. Shop at Ringside Market

Ringside Market is the heart of Hornby Island, where locals and tourists gather to shop and eat. 

This charming market is where you will find the island’s grocery store (Co-op) and gas station, as well as a collection of tiny wooden shops encircling the common area with picnic tables, benches, and a large cherry plum tree as the centrepiece. 

The market is the perfect place to browse for unique items, like local artisanal products, housewares, clothing, art, and jewellery at Hornby Creative. Hornby Creative also sell unique Ocean Plaskets.

These are baskets made from reclaimed marine rope and fishing lines. So you’re not only getting something pretty, but you’re helping the environment too by ensuring these materials are reused! 

Island Potters sells pottery from a variety of local artisans which I can never resist, while Celestial Sphere offers aromatherapy oils and bohemian-style jewellery and clothing. 

Fibres boutique is a cool boutique clothing store that’s worth checking out too.

10. Fossil Beach (Boulder Point)

Paddle boarders, kayakers and beachcombers alike will love visiting Fossil Beach, also known as Boulder Point. It’s a fantastic spot to explore and one of the best things to do on Hornby Island. 

This gorgeous beach offers stunning views of the water, with interesting geological formations and an abundance of fossils to discover. You can also enjoy a peaceful walk along the shore or take a refreshing dip in the water.

11. Plan a picnic dinner at Grassy Point

Grassy Point is a breathtaking spot on the island that locals love for picnics, especially during golden hour when the ocean and mountains are beautifully illuminated. It’s a favourite spot for a reason.

The only thing that makes it better is packing some food and drink to go along with the sunset. Ideally, something you picked up at the farmer’s market if possible or a drink from the Hornby Island vineyard or cidery!

hornby island water tank campbells soup

12. See water tanks turned into art installations

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve surely realised that Hornby Island is full of artists and is brimming with creativity.
Another example of this is that old water tanks have been transformed into art installations.

Among them, you’ll find the Giant Campbell’s Soup Can Water Tank Installation (Galleon Water Supply Tank) but there are several others to discover too including the Sandpiper Water Tank which captures the essence of west coast living and the Periwinkle tank.

13. Mushroom Beach

One of the most isolated beaches on Hornby Island (and because of that one of my favourites) is Mushroom Beach in Helliwell Provincial Park. 

Surrounded by picturesque cliffs, it’s a peaceful spot to relax and take in the natural beauty of the island.

It’s a little tricky to access, but worth the climb down to enjoy the calm water and secluded location. 

14. Try the cider at Fossil Beach Farm

For cider lovers, Fossil Beach Farm is a must-visit spot on Hornby Island. Their tasting room is a rustic yet charming space where you can try a flight of their handcrafted ciders. 

What sets Fossil Beach Farm’s ciders apart is their use of a blend of apples from their own orchard and other orchards in British Columbia. 

They also incorporate unique flavours like their cider infused with blackberries from the farm and their carbonated margarita-style cider.

During our visit, we shared a flight of six ciders ad were very impressed!

If you plan to visit Fossil Beach Farm for a cider tasting, keep in mind that their cider hours vary depending on the season.

On-site cider tasting is available Saturday and Sunday from 1 – 5 pm for May, June and September. Wednesday to Sunday 1 – 5 pm for July and August. In July and August, they have music nights on Sundays from 5 pm – 8 pm

hornby island winery
img via Hornby Island Winery

15. Savor Local Wines on Hornby Island

Hornby Island is home to two wineries and an artisan honey winery that produces some of the best wines and mead in the Gulf Islands.

There’s the appropriately named Hornby Island Winery and Isla de Lerena Vineyard.

Isla de Lerena Vineyard is named after Hornby Island’s previous name given to it by the Spanish in 1791. 

The vineyard is a fantastic place to sample some of the island’s local wines and their tasting room offers a cosy and inviting atmosphere.

At the tasting room, you can sip on a glass of your new favourite wine while overlooking the vineyard from their picnic tables. 

Another excellent option is the Hornby Island Winery, founded in 1999 by John Grayson and Joan Costello. They use locally sourced fruits and berries to produce a variety of outstanding wines, port, and sherry.

They also use proprietary fine bubble technology to create sulfite-free sparkling wines that are a must-try.

16. Go paddle boarding or kayaking on Hornby Island

Kayaking on Hornby Island is a great way to explore the island’s stunning coastline and marine life and is one of the best things to do when visiting Hornby Island.

The island’s sheltered location means that the waters are typically calm and clear, making it an ideal destination for sea kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. 

Depending on the time of year, you may be able to spot whales, seals, and sea lions in the water, and a variety of birds flying overhead. 

Hornby Ocean Kayaks is the main rental company on the island, and they offer a range of kayaks, paddle boards and wetsuits and other gear. 

They can even deliver gear to other parts of the island for a small fee which saves you the hassle of trying to transport a kayak yourself!

sunsets on hornby island-2

17. Go stand-up paddle boarding during golden hour at Fossil Beach

Golden hour is the magical time just after sunrise or just before sunset when the light is soft and warm, and everything looks golden.

Fossil Beach is a beautiful place to go stand-up paddle boarding during golden hour, as it’s one of the best spots on the island to see the sunset. 

You can rent SUP boards from Fossil Beach Farm, and if you’re staying there, the boards are included in your stay. Alternatively, you can rent from Hornby Ocean Kayaks.

As you paddle along the calm waters, keep an eye out for seals, who are known to come out during this time of day.

18. Walk along Sandpiper Beach

Sandpiper Beach is one of the most stunning beaches on Hornby Island. At low tide, the shore reveals a stunning array of geological formations, including flat-topped shale, honeycomb-weathered sandstone, and bright green seaweed. 

The beach is a great place to explore, take a walk, or just relax and take in the stunning scenery. 

To get to Sandpiper Beach, drive to the Sandpiper Beach Community Park and take a short walk to the shoreline.

hornby island mountain biking

19. Go mountain biking on Hornby Island

My husband loves mountain biking, he’s as obsessed with it as I am with hiking which is a lot! 

Hornby Island boasts an impressive network of over 80 km of diverse trails spread throughout the island. I found this surprising given it’s a pretty small island in the grand scheme of things.

The trails are open year-round and offer options for mountain bikers of all levels, from beginners to expert riders. 

Much easier than riding on Vancouver’s North Shore, mountain biking on Hornby Island is fast and fun and great for those who aren’t super confident on a mountain bike.

Hornby Island Outdoor Sports in Ringside Market offers bike rentals, repairs, mountain biking trails maps, and accessories, while the Hornby Island Mountain Bike Association’s website provides valuable information on biking and events.

20. Charter a boat on Hornby Island

Hornby Island Ocean Adventures offers a wide range of tour options for visitors to explore the beautiful island by boat. 

While high season offers plenty of public group tours, you can make your own tour by chartering a boat for you and your friends. 

Whether you’re interested in fishing, wildlife watching, or simply enjoying the breathtaking scenery, a boat charter is a great way to experience Hornby Island’s natural beauty.

hornby island mead
img via Hornby Island Mead

21. Try mead at Middle Mountain Mead

For something a little different, check out Middle Mountain Mead, an artisan honey winery that specializes in handcrafted mead using both ancient and modern techniques. Mead is sweeter than wine but it’s quite a subtle sweetness and well worth a try if you’ve never had it before! 

Middle Mountain Mead on Hornby Island is a hidden gem worth discovering. After driving up a gravel road and walking up a grassy path, you’ll find a beautiful honey winery with creative mead variations made with different spices and fruits. 

You can taste their five mead varieties in the tasting room, which offers two stories of outdoor seating and ocean views. 

The friendly mead-maker explains each variety, including their standout 20% ABV liqueurs, which can be mixed with sparkling water to make a refreshing cocktail. 

If you purchase a bottle of mead after your tasting, the $5 tasting fee is waived. You can also get some charcuterie bites to accompany your tasting.

22. Take a yoga class in a tranquil setting

Sun Door Yoga is a peaceful retreat nestled in a sunny cedar grove surrounded by impressive ferns and maples. 

This yoga studio on Hornby Island offers a variety of classes, workshops, rentals, and accommodations, with an intimate atmosphere that promotes tranquillity and relaxation. 

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned yogi, Sun Door Yoga provides an ideal setting to rejuvenate your mind and body and even more relaxation to your getaway on Hornby Island.

23. Shop the pretty boutique at the nursery

At Baird & Co, a lovely boutique hidden within the nursery, you’ll find an exquisite collection of locally made artisanal products, housewares, art, and plants.

In the summertime, a juice bar is set up on the premises, so make sure to check it out!

24. Hunt for Fossils on Fossil Beach

Join the locals and head to Fossil Beach during low tide to search for fossils. You can break open rocks with a hammer to find them. 

You can quickly access Fossil Beach Farm and participate in a cider tasting before taking a scenic walk on the beach. 

Fossil Beach Farm suggests leaving anything you discover, including fossils, on the beach for others to enjoy.

25. Hike in Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park

Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park is a must-see for hiking enthusiasts. The park offers several trails with incredible views of Denman Island, Vancouver Island, and the Coast Mountains on the mainland.

The Cliff Trail, which starts on the north side of the escarpment and features a steep flight of wooden stairs, is one of the best hikes in the Comox Valley region. 

The Outer Ridge Trail, located in the northwestern corner, can be added to the hike for a total of about 12 km, 3 hours, and a 400m elevation gain. 

However, the length of the hike can be adjusted based on your preference, and there are several variations available on the AllTrails app.

AllTrails is my go-to hiking app for finding, planning, and navigating while I’m out on the trails. With offline maps on AllTrails+ you can be confident you’re still on the right track, even without mobile signal.

26. Go on a serene hike through Helliwell Provincial Park

For those who love hiking and are looking for hikes on Hornby Island, exploring Helliwell Provincial Park is an absolute must. 

helliwell provincial park hiking hornby island

Originally a farm, the park was generously donated by John Helliwell in 1966 and is one of the most breathtaking areas on the island.

The 3.5km loop trail is an easy hike that takes you through a forest filled with old-growth Douglas firs, leading up to a rocky headland covered in long grasses and wildflowers. 

From there, you can take in the awe-inspiring views of the ocean and mountains, almost as if you’ve stepped into a fairytale. As you walk along the cliffside trail, you might be able to spot some wildlife, such as eagles, seals, and otters.

Another hike along the ridge takes you to a spot with incredible views of the Strait of Georgia and the inland Coast Mountains. 

You can see more of the best hikes on Hornby Island with AllTrails+.

27. Stay Up Late to Enjoy Star Gazing

With little urbanization on the island, Hornby Island is an ideal spot for star gazing on clear nights. 

Island Stars Observatory, located near Whaling Station Bay Beach, is open to the public and offers an enjoyable and informative way to explore the night sky.

28. See Hornby Island and Beyond from the Sky on a Seaplane Tour

37 Best things to do on Hornby Island BC Nanaimo Classic Pano W
img via HarbourAir

Although this tour doesn’t take place on Hornby Island, it’s still worth considering for the incredible views of Hornby Island that you’ll get. 

This 30-minute seaplane tour of the Nanaimo area including Denman Island and Hornby Island offers a bird’s eye view of the spectacular scenery of the bay, coastline and inland mountains. 

You’ll see Vancouver Island like never before, and it’s surprisingly affordable. It’s a great thing to do before or after your trip to Hornby Island. ]\Since it starts in Nanaimo you could do it before/after getting the ferry to Hornby Island BC.

Book a panoramic seaplane tour here.

29. Go glamping at Fossil Beach Farm

Stay in luxury tents at Fossil Beach Farm, a 100-year-old farm and cidery along Fossil Beach. 

The spacious tents are equipped with a comfortable queen-sized bed, dresser, and seating area. Outside your tent, enjoy your own private fire pit and cottage chairs overlooking the ocean. 

It’s a fantastic spot to watch the sunset while sipping on a local cider or enjoying some wine from the Hornby Island vineyard. Make sure to keep an eye out for playful seals!

Best places to eat on Hornby Island BC

I recommend reserving your table at these Hornby Island restaurants. They’re some of the best places to eat and book up quickly over summer weekends.

hornby island pizza

30. The Table restaurant at Isla de Lerena vineyard

After your wine tasting at Isla de Lerena, check out their restaurant, The Table (open from 5 pm – 8 pm). 

The focal point of the sun-filled dining room is their authentic Neapolitan pizza oven which makes some of the most delicious pizzas I’ve had this side of the Atlantic.

If you’re there during the summer, you might also be treated to some live music while you dine between 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.

31. Try a Vietnamese sandwich at the Sizzle food truck

Indulge in the delectable flavours of East-Asian cuisine at the Sizzle Food Truck after a jam-packed day of exploring the best things to do on Hornby Island. 

The Vietnamese sandwich, banh-mi, is a perfect combination of grilled chicken or tofu, pickled vegetables, and zesty sriracha mayo on a soft, freshly baked bun. 

32. Get breakfast from Hummingbird Bread Co and Lix.

Start your day off right with a delicious breakfast pastry from the cute food cart at Hummingbird Bread Co. 

Every day they bake fresh pastries (both sweet and savoury) and you just won’t be able to resist grabbing one (or two) for your breakfast. Or, if you can resist, then you’re much stronger than I!

And what goes well with breakfast pastries? Coffee! Be sure to go next door to Lix for some of the best coffee on the island.

33. Eat BBQ bites and listen to live music at Sunday Sessions

Looking for the perfect way to relax on a lazy Sunday afternoon? Head over to Fossil Beach Farm for their “Sunday Sessions” and indulge in juicy BBQ bites while listening to live music. 

The chargrilled burgers are a must-try, and the atmosphere is perfect for enjoying good food and good tunes.

Check out their event page to see who’s playing, but rest assured that you’ll be in for a treat no matter who is on stage.

On our visit to Hornby Island, we stumbled upon Sunday Sessions by chance and were blown away by the fun, laid-back vibes. 

The music was fantastic, and the farm-to-table BBQ was so fresh and delicious that we couldn’t resist going back for seconds (and thirds!). 

We felt like we were part of a big, happy family as we mingled with locals and visitors alike, enjoying the gorgeous views and the salty sea breeze.

34. Savour delicious pizza at Hornby Island Bakery & Pizzeria

Looking for a unique, tasty dining experience on Hornby Island? Look no further than Hornby Island Bakery & Pizzeria, a family-owned establishment that has been a staple of the island since the 1970s. 

The story of the pizza joint is just as special as its mouthwatering pies, and chatting with owner Jon adds an extra layer of charm to the experience. His infectious laugh and friendly demeanour make you feel right at home.

The story of the bakery and pizzeria began when Jon’s parents and their friends collectively purchased 80 acres of land on Hornby Island.

The pizza at Hornby Island Bakery & Pizzeria is truly something special, with a thin, crispy crust and fresh, flavorful toppings. We savoured every bite as we sat by our fire pit, watching the sunset and enjoying the laid-back island vibes. 

And if you happen to be on the island on a Friday, don’t miss the live jazz night on their big lawn – it’s an unforgettable experience.

35. Enjoy the ocean view and cocktails at The Breeze, Hornby Island

For a dining experience that combines breathtaking oceanfront views with fresh, creative cuisine, look no further than The Breeze Restaurant at Sea Breeze Lodge.

The wrap-around patio is the perfect spot to soak up the island scenery, while the fish tacos and fresh ahi tuna are the perfect complements to the hand-crafted cocktails.

During our visit to Hornby Island, we were blown away by the delicious food and stunning views at The Breeze Restaurant. 

The fish tacos were some of the best we’ve ever had, and the ahi tuna was perfectly cooked and bursting with flavour. 

The creative cocktails were the perfect pairing, and we loved sipping on them as we watched the waves crash onto the shore.

Sea Breeze Lodge is the only hotel-like accommodation on the island, making The Breeze Restaurant a must-visit for anyone looking to combine great food with comfortable accommodations.

36. Eat farm-to-fork brunch at Forage

Take a seat by the windows opening up onto the plaza of Ringside Market and enjoy a farm-to-fork brunch.

Forage uses fresh ingredients daily from its family-run farm and creates its menu based on what’s in season.

37. Grab a beer at Hornby Island Brewing Co.

Hornby Island Brewing Co is an independently-owned nano-brewery. They focus on brewing great artisan beers on Hornby Island.

While on Hornby Island, you can visit their tasting room to enjoy some of their beers. They have some really great-sounding beers including Big Fish Little Fish Blonde Ale, and an interesting barley wine that has rich toffee creme caramel note, and a malty finish.

best things to do on hornby island bc 1

Top tips for what to do on Hornby Island

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit to Hornby Island BC.

Don’t trust Google for restaurant and boutique store hours

Many businesses on the island have irregular hours, and the information on Google may not be accurate. Instead, check the social media pages of the establishments you’re interested in to get the most up-to-date information.

Be aware of early closing times

Most eateries and grocery stores on the island close early, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the closing times to avoid going hungry. 

The latest convenience and grocery store that is open is Ford’s Cove Store, which operates from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm in July and August, and 8 am to 8 pm from September to June.

Plan your visit accordingly

If you want to visit wineries or studios on the island, keep in mind that many of the businesses on Hornby Island don’t open fully until the summer months of July and August. 

Some restaurants are only open on weekends, so plan accordingly to avoid disappointment. 

If you’re visiting outside of the summer months, try to plan your trip for a weekend so you don’t miss out on the artisan market and live music events.

Make dinner reservations in advance

As there are only a few restaurants on the island, it’s a good idea to make your dinner reservations in advance to avoid disappointment. 

The Breeze Restaurant at Sea Breeze Lodge and The Table at Isla de Lerena Vineyard are particularly popular, so be sure to book early.

Where to stay on Hornby Island

Hornby Island accommodations fill up quickly in summer so you should book well ahead.

Hornby Island Airbnbs & VRBOs

There aren’t really any hotels on Hornby Island so when it comes to Hornby Island accommodation, you’re best off booking a self-catered place such as a VRBO. VRBOs are like Airbnb where you always get the whole house to yourself, and the service fees are usually a lot less too.

Some of the best places to stay on Hornby Island are listed below.

Hornby Island cottage with waterfront access

This architecturally designed home boasts two cosy bedrooms, a well-appointed bath, and breathtaking westerly views that are sure to take your breath away. You’ll be surrounded by lush gardens that make for a peaceful and tranquil escape.

This cottage on Hornby Island offers easy access to a private beach where you can explore tidal pools, go for a swim or simply soak up the sun on the beach. 

Hornby Island Cabin

This cosy cabin features a studio-style layout with a small kitchen and bathroom, as well as a large deck and private yard. 

Perfect for families, the cabin provides easy access to a virtually private beach that is great for exploring tidal pools or simply enjoying the peaceful westerly views. 

After a long day, unwind on the spacious deck complete with a table and umbrella. 

Barn Suite on Hornby Island

Escape to the Barn Suite, located on the picturesque Little Tribune Bay. 

Surrounded by natural beauty, this rare gem is situated next to a private par-3 golf course and offers an ideal vacation spot for those looking for sophistication and refinement. 

The Barn Suite boasts luxurious furnishings and thoughtful amenities, including a lofty king-size bed with quality linens, an open-plan living-dining area, and a fully equipped kitchenette. 

Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape through large windows.

Hornby Island camping

mount geoffrey hornby island
Mount Geoffrey Escarpment

To secure a spot in one of Hornby Island’s fantastic campgrounds during the peak summer season, advance reservations are recommended due to limited availability. 

Below, we’ve outlined some of the options available for camping on Hornby Island.

Located next to Tribune Bay Provincial Park’s Shields Road beach access, Tribune Bay Campsite offers ample shade from trees and a convenient location near the Ringside Co-op. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking to have all amenities within walking distance.

On the west coast of the island, Bradsdadsland Campsite may have an unusual name, but it boasts an unbeatable location on the bluffs overlooking Lambert Channel, making it a popular choice for families. They offer a range of sites to suit various preferences, from sunny and grassy to private and shady.

Ford’s Cove Campground is a peaceful, small campsite away from the main road. It is conveniently situated near the picturesque hikes and breathtaking scenery of Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park, as well as the government wharf and nearby sandstone beaches.

Read this for all the places to camp on Hornby Island

galiano island ferry from vancouver

How to get to Hornby Island

When it comes to where is Hornby Island, it’s not far from Vancouver Island but you’ll need a ferry to get there.

Hornby Island is located just off the east coast of Vancouver Island, in the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia. Getting to Hornby Island is relatively easy, though it does require at least two ferries. 

Hornby Island from Vancouver Island

To get to Hornby Island from Vancouver Island, you can take Highway 19 to Buckley Bay. 

From Buckley Bay, take the 10-minute ferry to Denman Island. The route is first come first served. 

When you buy your ticket, say you’re going to Hornby Island. 

You can see the ferry schedule for Hornby Island and prices on

Once you arrive on Denman Island, it’s a 15-minute drive to Gravelly Bay to take your last ferry; the Hornby Island ferry. 

The ferry from Gravelly Bay to Hornby Island takes about 10 minutes and is first come-first served. 

Note that the times posted on the schedule aren’t always accurate, as the ferry runs on “shuttle mode,” making as many trips as possible to get people across.

In summer, the ferries go back and forth roughly hourly throughout the day, and the ferry times are specifically planned to coordinate well with the additional ferry from Denman Island to Hornby Island.

Hornby Island from Vancouver

If you’re coming from Vancouver, you can take the 1-hour 40-minute ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay in Nanaimo. 

Ferry reservations are highly recommended for this route, especially during the summer months and at weekends. You can reserve online at

Once you arrive at Departure Bay in Nanaimo, follow the same steps as above.

The trip from Vancouver takes approximately five hours, including driving time and three separate ferry connections. 

The cost will vary depending on the mode of transportation and the number of passengers. Schedules and ferry prices can be found online at

Flights to Hornby Island

If you wish to fly, you can fly to nearby Comox Airport (YQQ) and then take the ferry from Vancouver Island to Hornby Island via Denman Island.

Skyscanner is what I use to find cheap flights.

It’s also possible to arrive directly on Hornby Island at Ford Cove by floatplane. Gulf Island Seaplanes flies once or twice per day depending on the day and the season, between Vancouver Harbour and Hornby Island.

FAQs about Hornby Island Canada

When is the best time to visit Hornby Island?

Winter is best for quiet and solitude and cosying up in a cabin on Hornby Island. . Between October and April many shops, studios, restaurants and tourist services either shut down completely or only open on weekends. It may be tough to find places to eat out during this time.

As with most places, the shoulder seasons offer a terrific combination of good weather, open facilities and smaller crowds. Visiting in September after the Labour Day Weekend is a great choice, as are May and June. However, booking accommodation and ferry sailings can be more difficult.

Can I go whale watching on Hornby Island?

While there are no whale-watching tours on Hornby Island itself, you can go whale watching from Campell River as well as embark on grizzly bear tours. These tours often include sightings of orcas, humpbacks, and other marine wildlife

What are some of the best places to eat on Hornby Island?

Hornby Island is known for its farm-to-table cuisine and locally sourced ingredients. Some popular dining options include the Sea Breeze Lodge, the vineyard and the Hornby Island Farmers’ Market.

What are some of the best hikes on Hornby Island?

The Helliwell Provincial Park Loop Trail is a popular hike, offering stunning ocean views and access to several beaches. Mount Geoffrey Nature Park is another popular hiking destination, with a network of trails offering views of the Salish Sea and the Coast Mountains

What are some of the best beaches on Hornby Island?

Tribune Bay Provincial Park is a must-visit, with its white sand beach and crystal-clear water. Other popular beaches include Grassy Point, Helliwell Provincial Park, and Whaling Station Bay.

Is Hornby Island worth a visit?

Yes definitely. There are so many fun things to do on Hornby Island and it’s the perfect place for a summer getaway from Vancouver.

How long does it take to drive around Hornby Island?

Hornby is very small and you can drive from one side of the island to the other in under 20 minutes!

Final thoughts on Hornby Island things to do

Hornby Island, British Columbia, is a hidden gem that offers many fun activities for adventure lovers. From boutique shopping to fossil hunting, from hiking to stargazing, Hornby Island is an adventure lover’s paradise.

With a range of hornby island activities including shopping, fossil hunting, and beach days or stargazing, you won’t be short of things to do.

If you’re looking for more beautiful Gulf Islands like this, be sure to check out this guide to what to do on Gabriola Island, the best things to do on Pender Island, the best Salt Spring Island activities, what to do on Galiano Island and all my other Canada travel guides.

Last Updated on September 13, 2023 by Hannah

    Please note: While I make every effort to ensure posts remain up-to-date, I encourage you to check the opening hours and details of the attractions and places mentioned. This post may include affiliate links. These give me a small source of income and come at no additional cost to you.