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Bowen Island

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Bowen Island [1] is a small island at the entrance to Howe Sound, connected to Vancouver and the rest of the Lower Mainland by a short ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver and a regularly scheduled water taxi from Granville Island, in downtown. The island has become a favourite tourist destination although amenities and activities are limited. Most activities involve wandering the shops or exploring the parks and natural areas.

Get in[edit]

Most people will arrive at Bowen Island by boat. BC Ferries [2] runs a ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Snug Cove on the island. The ferry takes 20 minutes and generally runs hourly (except early afternoon). There are 15-16 trips a day with the first ferry leaving Horseshoe Bay at 6:05AM. Fare is $9.75 in the summer (adult foot passenger) and $7.75 at other times, bicycles are $2 and a car is $27.90.

A passenger-only water-taxi, the Granville Island Water Taxi [3], now offers service to Bowen Island from Granville Island, on False Creek in downtown Vancouver. The 12-passenger vessel makes 11 runs a day in each direction. The trip takes about 30 minutes, and fare is $20 plus tax in each direction, or $30 return. Bicycles are free, and children under 12 are half-price. Reservations strongly recommended.

Get around[edit]

You can drive your car onto the Queen of Capilano in Horseshoe Bay. Be warned the during peak travel hours and during the summer there are often overloads and the ferry is often late due to high tourist traffic. Mechanical problems can cause the ferry to be cancelled and all vehicles will be stranded on Bowen Island until the ferry becomes operational again. Check the Service Notice section below the current schedule for Bowen Island on the BC Ferries webpage [4]

There is a bus service that will take you around to most parts of the island, however it runs infrequently. Information on the schedules are available through the Translink webpage; the C10 and C11 service the island.

An information centre is located a minute's walk up the main street from the ferry dock (turn right just before the library). The centre is run by Bowen Island Chamber of Commerce, and provides lots of information on Bowen Island accommodation and activities. [5]

There is also a strong culture of hitchhiking on the island.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Wander around the village of Snug Cove.
  • Visit one of the small beaches on the island. There are a couple near Snug Cove; others are scattered around the island and require transportation to get to.
  • Visit Crippen Regional Park. Open every day, 8AM - 9PM in the summer (8AM - dusk at other times of the year). The park has some heritage buildings, a fish ladder, picnic sites and trails for walking, cycling and horseback riding. It is accessible from the main street in Snug Cove.

Do[edit][add listing]

The primary attraction of Bowen Island to Vancouverites has been to get away from everything and relax. If you want to "do" something however, there are a few options.

One is to rent a kayak and paddle around Snug Cove or venture around the island. Bowen Island Sea Kayaking, on the ferry dock at Snug Cove, 604-947-9266 (info@bowenislandkayaking.com), [6], rents kayaks by the hour or overnight. They also provide lessons and guided tours. $35/$45 (single/double, for three hours).

There are also a number of hikes on the island. Crippen Regional Park offers a number of shorter hikes that can be done in a couple of hours. Dorman Point (trail begins at the end of Snug Cove beach) provides views of the harbour and the entrance to Howe Sound. The hike to Killarney Lake (about 45 minutes each way) passes through forest and the fish ladder to the lake. There is also a 4 km hike around Killarney Lake.

Tougher, but with more rewarding views, is the hike to the top of Mount Gardner. The trail begins 3 km from Snug Cove on Mount Gardner Road and is mostly through forest. It rises to an elevation of 719 m and on sunny days provides a very nice view. The trail is 11 km in length, so be sure to leave yourself enough time if you have to walk from Snug Cove to the trailhead.

Buy[edit][add listing]

There are a number of small craft and souvenir shops in Snug Cove, as well as many artist studios and galleries located at Artisan Square [7], a 5 minute drive or 15 minute walk from the Ferry.

  • Naked Soapworks, 435 Bowen Trunk Rd. (walk off the ferry and up the main street. It is on the left past Blue Eyed Mary's), [8]. 11-5. Handmade soaps, lip balms, body butters, massage oils, scrubs, perfumes and body care products. All products are made with only natural ingredients on Bowen Island.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Doc Morgans Marina Pub and Restaurant, (CLOSED AS OF MAY 2012) short walk from the ferry dock, 604-947-9443. Open 7 days a week. Best patio on the island! Fish and Chips, Fresh Seafood Specials, and Cheap Cocktails!
  • Tuscany Restaurant, Snug Cove (2 minute walk from Ferry), 604-947-0550, [9]. nightly from 5PM (summer). A bustling European style trattoria in a heritage style house with a lush garden patio. Pizza Artigiana & Mediterraean cuisine. Thoughtful wine list. Reservations recommended. $15-$25.  edit
  • Artisan Eats Cafe & Fine Foods, Artisan Square (10 minute walk from ferry), 604-947-0190, [10]. Tu-Su 9 - 6, F Sa nights till late. Housemade breads, pates, rillettes, sausages....Panini Sandwiches, antipasti, a great selection of local & European cheeses and fine foods. incredible view of ocean, mountains, ferries and forest. Small plates and Wine Friday and Saturday nights.  edit
  • Mik sa, 449 Trunk Road, Bowen Island (walk off the ferry and up the main road. It is on the left next door to Tuscany under the heritage Bowmart Diner sign.), 604 947 9030, [11]. 5-9PM M-F; 12-4:30PM W, Th, F, S, Su, Mon. Licensed restaurant featuring gourmet tapas and entrees. They tune their TV's in to sports evening including the Olympics and NHL playoffs. $7-$23 per dish.  edit
  • Bowen Island Roasting Co. Ltd. (The BowenCoffee Store), 104-105 996 Dorman Road (Under The Ruddy Potato, beside the Beer & Wine Cellar), 604-562-0024, [12]. 7am-5pm M-F, 9-5 Sat, 10-4 Sun. "The BowenCoffee Store" Everything Coffee...and Tea too! Gifts & Souvenirs. Home of Bowen Island Roasting Company FRESH ROASTED ORGANIC COFFEE. Coffee & Tea brewing supplies. Plus an AMAZING 65+ ORGANIC loose leaf TEAS. Whites, Greens, Oolongs, Wellness, Herbal, Mate, Matcha & Blacks. Snacks, light lunches, Coffee & Tea Bar, Mario's Gelati Italian Ice Cream in summer months. $.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Doc Morgans Marina Pub and Restaurant, short walk from the ferry dock. Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. The pub is located upstairs above the restaurant and has a beautiful large deck overlooking the marina. Phone 604-947-9443
  • The Snug: breakfast and lunch cafe, 2 minute walk from ferry, 604-947-0402. 5AM - 4PM. a busy local west coast cafe. offering fresh muffins, cookies, cakes, croisants, large english style breakfasts, eggs bennie, french toast, wraps, sandwiches, quesidias and so much more. stop in for breakfast, lunch or just for a chat.  edit
  • Bowen Island Pub, 479 Bowen Trunk Rd (200 meters straight up the road from the ferry terminal), 604-947-2782, [13]. 12-12 daily. For over 35 years the Bowen Island Pub has marked the center of the Snug Cove community and been the social and entertainment hub of Bowen Island. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Featuring live music most Saturday nights and a lively crowd most every night. $10.00-$20.00.  edit


Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are no hotels or campgrounds on Bowen Island so the accommodation consists mostly of bed and breakfasts scattered across the island.

  • Doc Morgans Inn, short walk from the ferry dock, 604-947-0707. Accommodation consists of four cottages/suites and one float house in the marina. All spots offer a view of the harbour and have kitchenettes. $130 - $250 (two night minimum stay between May 1 - Oct 15).
  • Snuggler's Cottage, Snug Cove, 604-947-2055, snugglers@bowenisland.com, [15]. Close to the village, the park, and "downtown" Bowen amenities. Self-contained with full kitchenette, cheery living room and private sun-deck. Sleeps up to 6 adults.
  • Twiggleberries Bed & Breakfast & Spa, 711 Cates Hill Rd, 604-947-2877, chilvers@twiggleberries.com, [16]. Four rooms are available. Guests can use the hot tub or if they want a bit more pampering visit the spa.
  • The Studio at Cove House, 426 Union Road, 604-723-6406, [17], [18]. A luxury self-contained Bed and Breakfast suite on the waterfront in Deep Bay, only a 150-yard walk from the ferry. Be pampered but independent. Nightly accommodation, romance packages, and writer's retreats.
  • Shallon at Eaglecliff, 1515 Eaglecliff Road, 604-833-0025 [19], [20]. A beautiful, newly renovated vacation home on 1.5 private acres with a breathtaking view. 4 bedrooms, sleeps 8.
  • Lazy Bowen Hideaway + Lazy B Petite Suite, 1475 Cleator Road, 888-604-1475[21], [22] . An Inviting waterfront cottage/ Duplex + Suite with Spectacular Views. Only 1 Minute from the Beach. 2 Spacious living areas, 3 bedrooms with 3 Queen beds plus 2 full size sleeper sofas, 2 kitchens, sleeps 2-9 guests.

Lazy B Petite Suite 1475 Cleator Road, 888-604-147572.193.201.7 03:23, 7 January 2011 (EST) A Sunny & Bright Waterfront Suite with Spectacular Southerly Views of West Vancouver, UBC, and the Coastal Mountains. Sleeps up to 4 guests. Prepare your meals in a full size kitchen while enjoying the Views. Enjoy the 40" flat screen TV with Cable connection, DVD player, and VCR for evening relaxation. The casual comfort of the living room is the perfect transition to a good nights sleep in our plush Queen bed. The suite is perfect for a family with 2 small children as the sleeper sofa is extra comfy. $115 - $135 for double occupancy, plus $35 for additional adult or $25 for additional child. Maximum 4 guests. Call 888-604-1475 to book your getaway at the Lazy B Petite Suite.

Lazy Bowen Hideaway, 1475 Cleator Road, 888-604-147572.193.201.7 03:23, 7 January 2011 (EST) An Inviting Waterfront Cottage with a Spectacular View. Sleeps up to 5 guests. The Lazy Bowen Hideaway has 2 bedrooms each with plush Queen size beds plus one full size fold down sofa (1 adult or 2 children). A fully stocked kitchen with refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, coffee maker, blender and other appliances. Seaside Decks, gas BBQ, large seaside yard with various seating areas. www.LazyBowenHideaway.com. $145 - $165 dbl occupancy.

  • Chocolate Suite, 581 C Artisan Lane (above Cocoa West organic chocolatiers in Artisan Square), 604 947 2996, [23]. Better than your traditional B&B, this is a Bed & Chocolate Suite located in Artisan Square above the organic chocolatier's shop Cocoa West  edit

Get out[edit]

Bowen Island is typically a day trip from Vancouver. Bus connections at the B.C. Ferries terminal in Horseshoe Bay will return you to West Vancouver, and Downtown Vancouver beyond. Last ferry leaves Snug Cove at 10:05PM. Granville Island Water Taxi also runs passenger-only trips back to Granville Island in Downtown Vancouver.



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