Photo by Tammy Schmidt
When it comes to outdoor adventures and off-the-beaten-path charm, Quadra Island scores a perfect 10. Home to approximately 2,700 year-round residents and a mere 10-minute ferry ride from Campbell River (on Vancouver Island), this quiet, laid-back spot offers all kinds of options for easygoing exploration, heart-pumping excursions and arts and culture immersion. If you’re looking for a brief escape from the demanding tempo of everyday life, Quadra’s laissez-faire vibe and natural beauty won’t disappoint.
Morning As your ferry approaches the small harbour at Quathiaski Cove, the island’s main commercial hub, you will not see a single big-box store. They don’t exist on Quadra. You will, however, see a few boats bobbing around in the bay and catch glimpses of the tidy, three-block town known as Q-Cove. Stop here and explore. Buy some organic spices from the Yellow Dog Trading Co. in the Q-Cove Plaza, then wander up the street to Cafe Aroma for a rich Americano, or, as they call it, a “Quadracano.”
Afternoon Grab a Quadra Island Studio Tour map and start exploring. Visit local artists as they work in their home studios (the island boasts more than 30 studios, some of which are open year-round). Afterward, stop by the Cape Mudge Lighthouse and the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre, which highlights the island’s rich First Nations history.
Evening Head to the April Point Resort & Spa for a feast of local seafood on its spectacular, wrap-around outdoor patio. Take in the perfect view as ships glide by along Discovery Channel.
Morning Start your day with eggs Benny in the dining room at April Point, then head down to the dock, rent a sea kayak and explore the quiet coves that surround the resort. Watch eagles gorging on fish along the rocky shore, paddle past the marina and see crabs and starfish up close.
Afternoon Grab your clubs (or rent some) and head to the Quadra Island Golf Course. Enjoy spectacular ocean views and nine challenging holes set among towering trees. After your round, sip a craft beer on the patio and swap stories with the local hackers.
Evening Hit the Q-Cove Plaza for supplies and head to Rebecca Spit for an evening picnic. Known for its beautiful sunsets and serene swimming holes, this is a favourite spot with the locals. Swim, take selfies and hunt for seashells. After, enjoy some live music at the Heriot Bay Inn.
Morning Grab a coffee and a breakfast sandwich at Cafe Aroma and head to Island Cycle to gear up for a thrilling mountain biking adventure. Make your way to the single-track trails at Morte Lake and cruise down local favourites such as Dead Fish and Nirvana. Or, for something different, try fat-tire biking on the rock-peppered beaches.
Afternoon Enjoy a fabulous homemade burger at A’Muse Eats, a beachside grill and a favourite hangout at Rebecca Spit. If time is on your side, stop by a few more galleries or sip some wine at the SouthEnd Farm Winery.
Evening Stop at Q-Cove for a few more trinkets, check out the Book Bonanza, then catch the ferry back to Campbell River. Snap some photos of the splendid view of Quadra Island from the open decks of the ferry and, alas, brace yourself for the return to normal life.
How to Spend Three Days in Tofino
Old-growth forests, mountainous islands and vast stretches of wave-worn coastline—Tofino is a place where wild, untamed beauty is evident at every turn. During storm-watching season (November to March), watch the waves roll in, warm up by the fire at the Wickaninnish Inn and fuel up for your adventures with fresh West Coast cuisine.