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Unwind on Bowen Island: Your Complete Escape Guide

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Our trips to Bowen Island are never dull. There’s a ton of stuff to keep you busy here and plenty of options for relaxation. If you’re thinking about visiting this lovely island but you’re unsure if it’s worth it, it’s a yes.

So get your bags ready, plan your activities (and don’t forget that high SPF sunscreen), and check out our guide to make the most of your time on Bowen Island.

What is Bowen Island known for?

Bowen Island is known for its lush forests, picturesque coves, sandy shores, extensive hiking paths, and a plethora of other outdoor adventures to enjoy, such as biking, kayaking, and paddleboarding. 

The island’s vibe is relaxed and laid-back, accentuated by a charming small-town atmosphere. Given its close proximity to Vancouver, it’s the perfect spot for those who want a peaceful escape from the city without having to travel too far. 

Fun Facts about Bowen Island

Bowen Island has a traditional name in the Squamish language

Bowen Island has a traditional name in the Squamish language
Image by Bowen Heritage via

In the Squamish language, Bowen Island is referred to as Nex̱wlélex̱wm, which translates to “Fast Drumming Ground.” This name originates from the rhythmic sounds produced by the ocean as it flows through the island’s northern region, including Finisterre Island.

Cruises to Bowen Island used to cost $1

Cruises to Bowen Island used to cost $1
Image by the Vancouver Archives via

Back in 1964, those eager to explore Bowen Island could embark on their journey aboard the “Lady” ships operated by the Steamship Company, departing from Horseshoe Bay, all for a mere $1 fare.

There are many films and TV series shot here

There are many films and TV series shot here
Image from Flickr via

Bowen Island’s natural scenery has made it a popular filming location for numerous films and TV series. Some notable productions that have been shot on Bowen Island include Double Jeopardy, The Uninvited, and Virgin River.

The island has only one public school

The island has only one public school
Image by West Vancouver Schools via

Situated within the West Vancouver School District, Bowen Island is home to a single public educational facility known as Bowen Island Community School. This school offers comprehensive education from kindergarten through to grade 7. 

Upon reaching high school age, students from Bowen Island make their way to West Vancouver, where they have the option to attend West Vancouver Secondary School, Sentinel Secondary School, or Rockridge Secondary School.

There are only three bus services in the island

There are only three bus services in the island
Image by Bowen Island Undercurrent via

On Bowen Island, the primary modes of transportation are private vehicles and hitchhiking. It has a somewhat limited bus service that operates on a few TransLink routes, with schedules coordinated to coincide with certain ferry departures:

  • Route 280 Bluewater/Snug Cove
  • Route 281 Eagle Cliff/Snug Cove
  • Route 282 Mount Gardner/Snug Cove (Weekends and Holidays only)

Time Zone

Pacific Standard Time (PST) (UTC-8)

Best Time to Go

The best time to go to Bowen Island is from mid-July through August, when you can enjoy the finest weather for outdoor pursuits, featuring pleasantly mild and dry temperatures. But, it’s also the busiest time on the island.

If you’re open to sacrificing a bit of the weather’s perfection to escape the crowds, you can visit during October to March. During these times, the island tends to be more serene, and accommodations often come cheaper.

How to Get to Bowen Island

  • By Bus: From downtown Vancouver, board the West Vancouver Blue Buses 250 and 257 Horseshoe Bay Express to Horseshoe Bay. From there, ride the BC Ferries’ service to Bowen Island (approx. 20 minute travel time).
  • By car: From downtown Vancouver, drive towards W Pender Street and follow BC-1A N and BC 99 to Horseshoe Bay Drive in West Vancouver. Then, take exit 2 from B-99 N and take Marine Drive to Horseshoe Bay.


If you’re thinking of bringing your car along to Bowen Island, expect to pay approximately $30. Simply drive your vehicle onto the Queen of Capilano at Horseshoe Bay.

Ferry Rates from Vancouver to Bowen Island

The ferry rates from Vancouver to Bowen Island vary depending on the type of passenger and vehicle. For foot passengers, the rates start at $11.25 for adults and $5.60 for children aged 5–11. Check out the table below for a detailed breakdown:

Adult (12+ years old)$11.25
Youth (5 to 11 years old)$5.60
BC Senior (65+ years old)FREE (Monday to Thursday)
Vehicles (7 ft. height and under)$31.90
Vehicles (8 ft. height and above)$38.40

Data from BC Ferries via

However, please do note that these base prices don’t include fuel surcharge.

Where to Stay Near Bowen Island

Artisan Suites on Bowen

Address: 539 Artisan Ln, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G2, Canada
Pricing: $$$
Book Now

The Artisan Suites on Bowen are quite the character. Guests are housed in a quaint ocean-blue cottage that overlooks the picturesque Bowen Island Marina, where you’ll see cruise ships passing by ( specifically the Cypress rooms).

The Artisan Cafe on the lower level is absolutely out of this world, offering a wide range of breakfast choices, including vegan options.

Bowen Island Boutique Beach House

Bowen Island Boutique Beach House
Image by vrbo via

Address: 506 Eves Rd, Gibsons, BC V0N 1V8, Canada
Pricing: $$$
Book Now

This stunning beachfront home on Eves Road boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that provide breathtaking ocean views, which you can fully appreciate from the expansive outdoor patio just outside your bedroom.

While on the deck, keep an eye out for seals and sea otters frolicking in the ocean. You might even catch a pod of orcas swimming by and breaching as they go.

Bowen Island Lodge

Address: 380 Cardena Rd, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G1, Canada
Phone: +1 877-947-2129
Pricing: $$
Book Now

This sunny lodge has the perfect mix of seclusion and having access to everything you may need—near the ferry, sandy beach, sea kayaking—and it’s right beside an ocean of trees that create a serene and picturesque backdrop.

While parking space is somewhat limited, they provide a complimentary shuttle service for guests and their luggage to and from the ferry terminal.

Wildwood Lane Cottages

Address: 1291 ADAMS, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G2, Canada
Phone: +1 604-947-2253
Pricing: $
Book Now

If you’d like to be one with nature, your best bet is Wildwood Lane Cottages. These heritage cabins are brimming with vintage charm, both in their interior and exterior design, nestled amidst the lush forest canopy of Bowen Island.

Additionally, the property offers a wood-burning sauna, a Jotul wood stove, a selection of classic books and board games, and cast-iron cookware to help you embrace the rustic simplicity of life in the woods.

Kitoki Inn

Address: 503 Collins Rd, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G1, Canada
Phone: +1 778-722-0150
Pricing: $$
Book Now

Think camping, but with style. Kitoki Inn takes inspiration from Japanese design, embracing minimalism and contemporary aesthetics. The cabins are constructed with vibrant fir paneling, custom woodwork, and creations from local artisans.

Inside, there’s floor-to-ceiling windows and a private deck to lounge while literally staring at nature in the face. Kitoki Inn also has a fancy bathhouse with UV-treated water and a garden relaxation area with a fireplace.

Where to Eat in Bowen Island

Barcelona Tapas & Wine Bar

Address: 449 Bowen Island Trunk Rd, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0, Canada
Phone: +1 604-947-2311
Pricing: $$

This rustic tapas restaurant specializing in Mediterranean, Spanish, and South American fusion cuisine is a must-visit for tapas enthusiasts and wine lovers alike. Their innovative twists on familiar dishes are a real treat.

Want our advice? Give in to the hype and order the tapas. Be it octopus, eggplant, or chorizo, you can’t make a wrong choice. If you’re fortunate enough to dine with a group, we recommend exploring the menu and sampling as much as you fancy.

The Snug Cafe

Address: 445 Bowen Island Trunk Rd, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0, Canada
Phone: +1 604-947-0402
Pricing: $

The Snug Cafe is synonymous with the Bowen Island food scene. Nestled in a quaint, wooden building, this joint serves a mean breakfast spread, but make sure to come by before the morning rush.

We loved the eggs benny, salmon, and breakfast burrito—they’re all yummy, but not without pairing it with a cup of oat vanilla latte and day-old scones and croissants.

Artisan Eats Café & Fine Foods

Address: 539 Artisan Ln, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0, Canada
Phone: +1 604-947-0190
Pricing: $$

This unpretentious French cafe and bakery is where you can score tasty croissants and baked goods, with both sweet and savory options. Make sure to take some pics as the location of this cafe is just lovely—like a cute little village.


Address: 810 Beach Dr, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G2, Canada
Phone: 604-947-4653  
Pricing: $$

Right on the golf course on the southeast side of the island is The SHED, where Fridays are pizza only and the rest of the week is all about Mexican staples like quesadillas, enchiladas, and ceviche.

Order the seafood ceviche, the salmon, and the habanero chicken. For dessert, get the ginger ice cream sandwich, which we know sounds unusual, but trust us, it’s surprisingly delicious.

Branch on Bowen

Address: 400 Bowen Island Trunk Rd, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0, Canada
Phone: +1 778-865-9294
Pricing: $

Once you get off the ferry, head to Branch on Bowen for tasty tacos that are wrapped in gluten-free tortilla. There’s not a lot of options but it makes it easier to decide on what to get.

Taco portions are quite generous – one taco can easily leave you feeling satisfied. The vegetarian sweet potato option was a unique and flavorful choice. And to top it off, you can enjoy Earnest Ice Cream’s delightful ice cream right here!

Things to Do in Bowen Island

Go Kayaking

Address: Bowen Island Marina, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0, Canada
Phone: +1 604-947-9266

There’s plenty of stuff to do outdoors right here on Bowen Island, but we reckon there’s nothing quite like kayaking. The folks who show you the ropes are super informative and make sure you’re having a blast while you’re at it.

As you paddle around, you might just spot all sorts of sea creatures – sea lions, orcas, and seals, you name it. It’s a fantastic way to discover the island and take in those stunning BC vistas from the water.

Drop by the Arts Pacific Gallery

Address: 587a Artisan Ln, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G2, Canada
Phone: +1 604-947-0489

For those who collect and adore art pieces, the Arts Pacific Gallery is a must-visit. They’ve been showcasing original works – from paintings and ceramics to fiber arts and jewelry – by a collective of artists since ’98.

If you’ve got a soft spot for local art, this gallery is a must-see. They’ve got an impressive assortment of various styles and pieces that you’ll definitely enjoy.

eBike around Bowen Island

Address: 431 Bowen Island Trunk Rd Kiosk, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0, Canada
Phone: +1 778-956-7946

Since public transit is limited here, an alternative way to explore Bowen Island is by renting Bowen eBikes. Typically, we’d suggest doing a 5-hour rental so you have enough time to see all the famous spots.

And don’t sweat it if you’re new to eBikes – they’ll give you a quick tutorial before you hit the road.

Hike to the Dorman Point Look-out

Hike to the Dorman Point Look-out
Image for Dorman Point via Google Reviews

Address: 370 Robinson Rd, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G1, Canada

You’ll find this picturesque spot nestled within Crippen Regional Park, just a quick hike away from a breathtaking vista overlooking Howe Sound. For an even more magnificent view, once you’ve reached the summit, veer right down the path.

As you descend, you’ll stumble upon a viewpoint with nothing but pure, unobstructed beauty. It’s a sight to behold, no doubt about it.

Swim at Pebbly Beach

Swim at Pebbly Beach
Image by Travel BC via

Address: Pebbly Beach, Bowen Island, BC, Canada

This sunny spot is the best place to bask in some vitamin D as you stroll along its pleasantly uncrowded shores. When you visit Pebbly Beach, the agenda is as simple as can be – just relax and take in the view of private docks and boats.

Walk around Crippen Regional Park

Walk around Crippen Regional Park
Image for Crippen Regional Park via Google Reviews

Address: 430 Bowen Island Trunk Rd #2, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0, Canada
Phone: +1 604-224-5739

Crippen Regional Park is an absolute gem for a leisurely stroll. The park’s trails kick off near the ferry terminal and wind their way around the lake, taking you through diverse landscapes like canyons, forests, creeks, and open meadows.

Once you’ve had your fill of nature, grab a bite to eat or enjoy a drink in Snug Cove village. It’s as peaceful as can be, making it the perfect spot to sit back and soak in the serene waters.

Get Drinks at the Copper Spirit Distillery

Address: 441 Bowen Island Trunk Rd, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0, Canada
Phone: +1 778-895-9622

This charming craft distillery may resemble a modern summer cabin, but it’s actually a well-kept secret for aficionados of fine spirits. Savor the flavors of 100% organic vodka, gin, and whiskey, all crafted right here on Bowen Island.

Consider booking a tour where the owners themselves will take you through the intricate process of spirit-making and share their vision of harnessing rainwater for future batches.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Candy in the Cove

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Candy in the Cove
Image by Candy in the Cove via

Address: 449 Bowen Island Trunk Rd, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G0, Canada
Phone: +1 604-947-2877

This cute little candy shop next to Barcelona has a unique variety of sweets and goods from around the world. Be transported back in time as you come face-to-face again with your favorite childhood treats like milk duds and salt water taffy.

Explore Bowen with Zoom Zoom Scooters

Address: 011 Miller Road, Bowen Island, BC
Phone: +1 604-725-9207

Explore Bowen in retro-style, with Yamaha Vino 99cc scooters to see all the beaches and sights. These scooters can be securely locked when you want to take walks or stopovers and there’s enough room to store snacks and stuff.

They’ve got Island Maps and helmets ready for you, and the rental rates are quite reasonable, with discounts for longer hours. Just keep in mind, they exclusively accept credit cards, which might be a slight inconvenience.

Play Golf at the Bowen Island Golf Club

Address: 810 Beach Dr, Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G2, Canada
Phone: +1 604-947-4653

The Bowen Island Golf Club offers a delightful 9-hole course, carved from a West Coast rainforest on Bowen Island. Don’t forget to secure your spot on this idyllic course by booking a tee time online.

One thing you can’t deny about this golf course is the incredible scenery. You’ll find yourself surrounded by forests, rolling greens, and stunning vistas that showcase both the city of Vancouver and the Strait of Georgia.

Apps to Download for a Trip to Bowen Island

Bowen Island: live ferry data from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island with ferry location tracking and daily ferry schedule.
iOs | Android

AllTrails: custom route planning app with fitness activity tracker and reviews from fellow hikers to help you plan your outdoor adventures.
iOs | Android

BC Ferries: book a ferry ride, manage your trips, and check ferry schedules and conditions.
iOs | Android

Uber Eats: order food from nearby restaurants in Bowen Island.
iOs | Android

Now that we see that you’re willing to venture out of Vancity, why not check out a few more attractions that are just a short drive or ferry away? Check out these articles to see more of what the surrounding areas have to offer. 

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