Kyla and I spent a long weekend camping on Mayne Island last month and it was badass! Mayne is one of the Southern Gulf Islands, which sit in the Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and Vancouver/mainland BC, and are home primarily to hippies, artists, and retirees (based on a mix of casual observation, anecdotal evidence, and census data). These quiet little islands can’t really be the site of much badassery, right? WRONG! (No, you’re right, but I lead a pretty tame life, so humour me with this one!)
Here are some reasons why our weekend rocked, and tips so that you can have a badass-as-you-can-get-in-the-Gulf-Islands weekend too:
I got to spend a night on my own (K had a conference the first day, and there’s a 3 night minimum booking on long weekends), and this filled my introverted, independent-traveller heart to the brim. I’ve travelled on my own lots and for much longer periods of time, but usually this happens in/between cities and towns, and I’ve never camped solo. Although it was a minor achievement, I felt pretty accomplished after getting our little tent set up on my own. I cracked open a cider in celebration, walked all over town, stopping to take as many pictures as I wanted, listened to a Savage Lovecast on the beach as the sun went down, did some reading… and promptly got bored and excited for my love to arrive the next day! I’d definitely like to get more accustomed to this more outdoorsy, device- and diversion-free type of independent travel though.
The campground is about a 40 minute walk from ferry terminal, so we packed for the weekend as if it were a backpacking trip. That was our backup plan though; if we didn’t manage to hitch a ride or pick up the Community Bus (not public transportation, but a nice dude who drives a bus around the island at his convenience, getting people to their destinations in exchange for an optional donation). I got lucky with the latter. Guess it was pretty obvious in my sweaty state that I could use a lift, because the driver passed by in the opposite direction, but he slowed down to let me know that he’d be back my way in a few minutes! He dropped me off right at the campground.
The campground itself is an easy 1 km walk from town, and while we didn’t venture much further out, I’m sure you could easily get around the island with a combination of hitching and the bus. If you have a car, EASY. If you don’t mind the hills, bring a bike!
There you go! With this guide, you will no doubt have the badassiest possible weekend on Mayne Island. If you’re hoping for something a little more mellow, the same guide applies 😉
Practical info: you can reach Mayne Island by ferry from Victoria or Vancouver. Some are direct, while others stop at other Gulf Islands. If you’re driving, be aware that ferries fill up early on long weekends (and likely most summer weekends).
I would recommend booking ahead at the campground, as they only have 12 sites. There’s also a large group site available. Stay at a waterfront site if possible!
Find out about Mayne Island events and festivals here: http://maynenews.blogspot.ca/. There’s a great little market that runs every Saturday in the summer.
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