From ancient forests to white-sand beaches, Cortes Island in BC truly has it all. Situated at the entrance of Desolation Sound, the scenic island is at the doorstep of plenty of natural treasures, including a swimming lagoon, deep blue inlets, and dramatic cliff sides. So a visit here can easily turn into a weekend trip!

Visitors have a handful of forests and provincial parks at their fingertips, including Children’s Forest and Grandmother Grove. The former stretches from Whaletown to Carrington Bay, and makes for an ideal half-day trip. The latter sits on the southwestern bank of the bay, with sand disappearing into the mouth of a stream surrounded by forest.

Between Hague and Gunflint Lakes, Kw’as Park is home to over 170 acres of lush hiking trails through old-growth.

There’s even an undeveloped marine park encompassing multiple lakes, estuaries, a saltwater lagoon, and an old-growth forest called Ha’thayim (von Donop) Marine Provincial Park.

Now, let’s dive into the island’s beautiful beaches. Visitors can lounge at six white-sand beaches, all of which have “warm waters” that are perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding.

Here are all the beaches to discover on Cortes Island:

  • Smelt Bay Provincial Park
  • Hague Lake
  • Hank’s Beach
  • Hollyhock
  • Manson’s Landing
  • Manson’s Lagoon

Recent Posts:
Here’s when BC’s iconic fireworks show will light up Vancouver skies
From parks to a pool party: This outdoor music series in Vancouver kicks off next month

cortes island bc
Photo via Shutterstock

Location and directions

To get to Cortes Island, Vancouver residents can catch a ferry to Nanaimo and drive or commute to Campbell River. From there, they’ll follow the signs across Quadra Island to Heriot Bay, finally catching a final ferry to Cortes Island.

Alternatively, visitors can arrive via water taxi directly from Campbell River or the Sunshine Coast, or catch a 30-minute flight from Campbell River.

So there you have it, island lovers! It turns out you don’t have to leave BC for the ideal summer escape.

Cortes Island 

Where: Discovery Islands, BC