Sah yeh yeen | spilḵsen
Texada Island (Sah yeh yeen in ʔayʔaǰuθəm or spilḵsen in she shashishalhem) is located in the traditional territory of the Tla’amin, shíshálh, Komoks, and Wei Wai Kum Nations. At over 300 square kilometres, Texada Island is the largest of the Gulf Islands. Home to approximately 1,126 people, the island is part of the qathet Regional District and is located just a short ferry ride from Powell River’s Westview ferry terminal.
Texada Island is affectionately called “The Rock” by locals. Outdoor recreation opportunities abound, and there are some unique attractions and annual events to check out on the island. Since Texada Island is so close to Powell River (just a 40-minute ferry ride), it makes a great addition to your Sunshine Coast trip itinerary since you can choose to stay overnight or simply head over for a day trip.
Things to Do
There are plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities on Texada Island. Take your kayak, canoe or paddleboard out for a spin and explore the local lakes and the island’s coastline. Leave some time to venture out for a swim—the warm ocean waters off of Shelter Point Regional Park are popular, and Bob’s Lake is perfect for some freshwater swimming.
Fishing is also a popular activity. Purchase a fishing license online and do some saltwater fishing at Coho Point or Blubber Bay or some freshwater fishing at Bob’s Lake or Angel Lake. If you’re into scuba diving, bring your equipment along and check out dive sites such as Anderson Bay and Upwood Point.
When it comes to hiking and biking, there’s an abundance of trails and old logging roads covering the island. Check out the nature walk at Shelter Point Regional Park that follows along the forested shoreline, Mount Pocahontas for spectacular 360-degree views, Stromberg Falls trail for waterfall views (which are most impressive in the rainy season), and the Marble Bay/Eagle Cove Trail Network which offers several different loop options. Embrace your inner geologist and see if you can spot a “flower rock” (star porphyry volcanic) while you’re out exploring. These stones with white, flower-shaped crystals are unique to Texada.
Attractions on the island include the Texada Island Museum, where displays include a school room, a replica of the Little Billy Mine, and a room honoring the Chinese residents who worked and lived on Texada Island. You can also visit the Texada Aviation Museum, which features suspended aircraft, parts and models, and an Airbuzz flight simulator. An annual Aerospace camp is held here to immerse youth in the basics of aviation and aerospace science.
And just like many communities on the Sunshine Coast, there is a strong artist presence on Texada Island. Keep an eye out for artisans at the local Farmers’ Market, or plan your trip around the annual Texada Artist Studio Tour for a chance to meet with artists, see their studios, and purchase unique pieces.
Where to Stay
A variety of accommodations are available on Texada Island. Campsites at Bob’s Lake, Shelter Point Regional Park, and Shingle Beach are popular spots—while some of the sites can be reserved, others are available on a first come, first served basis. There are also vacation rentals and cottages available, many with beautiful waterfront views, and moorage is available for boaters at the Texada Boat Club.
Food and Drink
Dining options on Texada Island are limited; they include the Texada Island Inn, Mary Mary Café, Real Deal, and a seasonal concession stand at Shelter Point. Groceries and liquor are available at the Texada Market and the Gillies Bay General Store. Remember that you’re on island time, and that hours, staffing, and availability may vary.
Texada Island hosts some unique annual events in the summer. These include the Texada Artist Studio Tour, the Texada Annual Fly-In, Run the Rock (marathon, half-marathon, and 8-kilometre run/walk), Texada Island Roots & Blues Festival, and the Sandcastle Weekend.
Getting to Texada Island
Texada Island is accessible by ferry, boat, or plane. BC Ferries operates a route from Westview (Powell River) to Blubber Bay (Texada Island) several times per day. Out of all of the Sunshine Coast’s islands, Texada is unique in that you can bring your vehicle on the ferry. Reservations are encouraged, but there are always unreserved spots available on a first come, first served basis. Keep in mind that once you get to Texada Island, many roads are gravel (unpaved).
The Texada/Gillies Bay Airport is a popular stop for private aircrafts, especially during the Texada Annual Fly-In event. Aviation enthusiasts can park for the day and explore the island, or even camp overnight alongside their aircraft (there are a few grass campsites with fire rings and picnic tables).
Looking for a way to get around Texada Island? Coastal Rides operates a convenient shared and private transportation service.