5 Winter Activities to Try on Pender Island
North and South Pender Island are rich with activities, even when covered in snow. Pender Island is a small town community (think: only one gas station and nothing is open 24/7) so you might not be able to count on the usual city amenities to keep you entertained. That makes the island a great place to disconnect and experience nature. Here are just a few ways travelers can do that:
Hike Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Weather conditions permitting, there is plenty to see and do in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. The Reserve hosts the only Mediterranean-type climate in Canada, meaning that winters tend to be mild and wet. Gulf Island National Park is made up of 15 islands and over 30 islets and the area is home to Garry oaks, wild lilies, kelp beds, and Orca whales. You can access the different islands by BC Ferry, private boat, water taxi, or kayak.
Birdwatch Near Your Cabin or at a Park
You might fall asleep to the occasional hoot of an owl during your stay on Pender Island. Many feathered friends roam about in the daytime, too. You may see grebes, murrelets, auklets, loons, hooded mergansers, thrushes, red-breasted nuthatches, and rufous-sided towhees. Be sure to pack a pair of binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens to make the most out of the experience.
Share a Treat at Vanilla Bakery Cafe
Driftwood Shopping Centre is the Island’s quaint answer to a “mall.” The boutiques are small, family-run, and filled with souvenirs bursting with character. Within the shopping centre, you’ll find Vanilla Bakery Cafe, which is the perfect rest stop on a chilly, wet winter day. You’ll be treated to a variety of baked goods for sale, as well as both warm and cold drink options. On the Island for an event? They cater too!
Tour Vern Simpson Fine Art Studio
Have you heard of the famous Gassy Jack statue located in Vancouver’s hip Gastown area? Vern Simpson is the artist who designed and built it for the city. His studio is located on the Island and is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. You can also call to make an appointment if those times don’t work for you. Stop by and you’ll be treated to a galley of his work.
Pender Island Lantern Festival
Visiting Pender Island over New Years? Prepare to be awe-struck if you can catch the annual Pender Island Lantern Festival during your stay. First hosted in 1999, the festival takes place by Magic Lake and tends to start around 4:30 PM on New Year’s Eve. The Three on the Tree Production Society puts on a multimedia event with paper lanterns, stilt walkers, shadow play, giant puppetry, fire spinning, and a kayak ballet.
Wondering What To Do On Pender Island in the Winter?
Now you know! Just because it’s chilly and damp, doesn’t mean the islands aren’t still full of life and activity. Let Breakaway Vacations help you plan your winter wonderland trip today.