The first time I visited Mayne Island, I didn’t have a vehicle – the campground is close enough to the ferry, and the town is close enough to the campground, that this isn’t a problem! Check out the post for more information: Camping Like a BAMF on Mayne Island.
Mayne Island Camping is one of the most unique places I’ve ever camped! It’s a private campground with 12 walk-in sites, most of them waterfront. It also has a large group site with a fire pit (no fires allowed at individual sites), a beach, an outdoor forest shower, a large field with outdoor equipment to borrow, and 22 acres of forest to explore! The campground is dog-friendly – just let them know that you’re bringing a pup; there’s a fee of $5 per night.
What to expect: The campground is easy to navigate; sites offer a good amount of privacy, and the ocean views make the higher-than-usual camping fees well worth it! The first time I camped there, there were dozens of seals hanging out on aptly-named Seal Beach the entire weekend. This time, they weren’t out on the rocks, but there were always a few in the water nearby. We also saw river otters, bald eagles, and plenty of sea creatures, like starfish, on the beach.
From your ocean-side hammock or camping chair, you’ll be treated to sunset views of BC Ferries passing between Mayne and Galiano Islands, and float planes flying in and out of Miner’s Bay. You can walk along the rocky shoreline, or hang out on the sandy beach. The main hub of the island, Miner’s Bay, is just 1 km from the campground.
How to pack: although campsites aren’t technically drive-in, you’ll only need to walk up to 5 minutes from the parking lot. So while you’ll want to store food in the car overnight, it won’t take long to go back and grab things. I’d still recommend packing your gear in a large backpack or something that means fewer trips to the car.
What to do on Mayne Island: While you could easily spend the weekend relaxing at the campground, taking in sunsets and sea life, there’s lots to do on the island. Here are some ideas:
- Check out the Saturday Farmer’s Market: if you’re on Mayne on a summer Saturday (between May long and Thanksgiving, 10-1pm), definitely stop by the market. Local produce, artisan products, community vibes, snacks, and live music. When we went, there was a bit of a line to sign in with COVID contact-tracing info.
- Wander around Miner’s Bay: there are a few shops and restaurants in town – there were a couple of new places since we were last there in 2017: Give Pizza Chance family-run food truck, Das Nest, which opened during the pandemic, plus some more well-established places like Sunny Mayne Island Bakery Cafe, Shavasana Art Gallery and Cafe, and the Springwater Lodge (established in 1892!). There are also some shops, including a grocery store, a museum/gaol, and even hiking trails that you can access from town.
- Enjoy a flight at the brewery: The Mayne Island Brewery is exactly the type of colourful, boozy wonderland you’d expect to find in the forest on a Gulf Island! Grab a seat at one of the tables in the woods, listen to a rundown of beers by one of the friendly staff, and choose from the fun and funky flavours which use ingredients like nettles (or whatever’s in season when they’re foraging) and beets! They also have more traditional beers 😉
- Mayne Island Disc Golf and the Japanese Gardens:
- It was my first time playing disc golf, and I loved this course! It has 18 holes, starting in the Dinner Bay Park area and weaving through the forest (I didn’t know that disc golf involved a little hiking!), complete with ocean views. You’ll need to pick up discs before you play; you can get Mayne Island souvenir ones at Home Hardware on the island, but you’ll probably save some money by purchasing them elsewhere before your trip. If you haven’t played before, the gist (though not the technique!) is pretty self-explanatory. Find the hole marker and start point, and try to get the disc in the basket in the fewest number of throws. You may need to do a bit of searching to locate the basket.
- If you’re planning to play disc golf, the Japanese Gardens are worth a visit too. It’s difficult to find much information about the former Japanese population in the area, but there was a well-established Japanese community on the Gulf Islands, including Mayne, before they were forced into internment camps during World War II. The garden was created to commemorate these early Japanese settlers, and some of the trees and plants were donated by descendants of one of the first Japanese families to immigrate to Mayne Island. The garden is peaceful, with beautiful flora, torii (Shinto) gates, small bridges, and benches for reflection.
- Georgina Point Lighthouse and Oyster Bay: Take in the views of Active Pass from either of these spots; you’ll see those iconic Gulf Island sandstone rocks, mainland mountains in the distance on a clear day, and you’ll probably witness some marine life. I watched sunbathing seals, a river otter, and a large heron at Oyster Bay.
There’s much more to Mayne Island! I still haven’t made it to the bistro at Bennett Bay, or to many of the walking and hiking trails all over the island. If you’ve been, what’s your favourite spot on Mayne? If you haven’t, what are you most looking forward to?