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Last month I got invited to join Kyla and her family for a long weekend of camping on Hornby Island (I’ll ‘b’ careful not to misspell it). We spent five days there, so I was prepared for lots of lazing around, which – don’t get me wrong! – is a fantastic way to spend a vacation. What I didn’t realize was that there’s tons to do and see there! So while the island’s laid-back vibe meant plenty of recharge time, it was balanced out with lots of time exploring cute spots in town, gorgeous beaches and coastal bluffs, and checking out the bottom of many glasses of mead! Here are 5 suggestions for things to see and do while on Hornby Island:

Stay at Heron Rocks Campground:

This is definitely the place to base yourself! The sites are along the water, where you can walk for ages along the sandstone rocks, by tidal pools and cave-like rock formations. It’s the perfect spot to catch the sunset every night, or to watch eagles hanging out in the trees above the campground. Each site has a kitchen structure with shelves, hooks, and a table – easy to set up a tarp overtop if it rains. It’s outhouses only (there’s a major water shortage on the island, plus: camping), and there are no showers, so bring a shower bag or prepare to either be dirty or take a frigid dip in the ocean to wash off!

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“Downtown” Hornby: I kept referring to this area as downtown, although I don’t know if locals would! There’s a centrally-located, co-operative grocery store surrounded by a sprinkling of shops and restaurants, including an ice cream place, stores with classic Hornby tye-dye t-shirts, cute clothing shops and cafes. We had tasty tacos at Vorizo cafe! Not too far away is the Cardboard House Bakery, which serves treats and lunch during the day, and pizza in the evening.

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Helliwell Provincial Park: this is a gorgeous coastal hike along the bluffs, with lots of photo ops! There isn’t much shade for most of it, so pack lots of sunscreen and water if it’s hot out.

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Tribune BayThis is a beautiful beach! There’s a large stretch of sand for lounging, and shallow water for swimming (apparently it’s “warm”, but IMO that’s all relative when you’re swimming in the Pacific).

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Booze!: Somehow all of my to-do lists seem to include something alcohol-related! Sign of a good vacation, right? There are some wineries on the island, but we checked out the distillery, also called the Phrogery. I’m not much of a gin drinker (beer & wine, baby!), but it’s good quality, and they’ve got lots of variety. As a bonus, it’s on a beautiful property, complete with koi fish and chickens! I got excited when chickens swarmed the car when we arrived, which apparently makes me a city girl 😛

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We also visited the meadery, which was a fabulous place to try out the artisan honey wine! We tasted lots of flavours while sitting on their balcony, overlooking the spectacular garden and lavender fields on the property. From Green Tea Elixir to Magick Mead, which offers “a sense of well being that extends beyond a simple buzz”, there’s something for everyone’s tastes (if you like sweeter liqueur).

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We had a great time on Hornby! I was able to read an entire book, enjoy morning coffees and lots of good food, hang out in a hammock or two, and also get to know the island a bit. I can’t wait to go back!

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