Plan Your Trip to Haida Gwaii
Located off the northwest coast of BC, Haida Gwaii is an ideal destination to experience the rugged and remote wilderness that British Columbia is known for. This chain of islands is home to the Haida Nation, and it is one of Canada’s most historically, culturally, and geographically unique areas.
What to do in Haida Gwaii
For the adventurous crowd there is no shortage of activities, and the ocean is the obvious place to start. Fishing resorts and kayak rental companies allow you to get out on the water and experience the islands’ beaches and coastal bluffs. Check out Langara Fishing Lodge and Kitgoro Kayaking to start. Hiking and camping offer immersive experiences in the outdoors, and keen birdwatchers should head to the Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary.
Two words can describe Haida Gwaii cuisine: seafood and abundance. At Keenawii’s Kitchen, owner Roberta Olson opens her home for waterfront feasts of salmon, shellfish, and seasonal fare. Traditional Haida preparation and ingredients feature prominently in her dishes.
Locals here have a deep sense of place and culture. For a destination with a year-round population in the low thousands, Haida Gwaii has a remarkable number of museums and art galleries. Start at the Haida Heritage Centre, operated by the Haida Nation. The centre provides an introduction to the history and living culture of the Haida, including a museum, a carving shed, and six poles to represent six of the southernmost villages on Haida Gwaii.
There is a lot of potential ground to cover, but pace yourself. The ancient Haida culture, dense rainforests, and expansive beaches have a mythical vibe. If you’re in too much of a hurry, you might miss it.
Where to stay in Haida Gwaii
Skidegate, Masset, and Queen Charlotte are the three largest towns on Haida Gwaii, and they are home to many of its services. There is no shortage of places to stay, and the islands’ remote location lends itself to intimate accommodation. The Copper Beech House Bed and Breakfast in Masset, owned by Canadian poet Susan Musgrave, is renowned for its warmth and character. Haida House at Tllaal receives rave reviews for complementing its natural surroundings.
How to get to Haida Gwaii
Haida Gwaii comprises two main islands: Graham Island to the north, where most of the population and services are found, and Moresby Island to the south, home to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area, and Haida Heritage Site. These two main islands, along with 150 smaller ones, make up the archipelago once known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Pacific Coastal Airlines flies into Masset (on Graham Island) from several communities in BC, and daily flights from Vancouver to Sandspit Airport on Moresby Island are available year round with Air Canada (twice daily in the summer).
Renting a car from the airport is recommended, as taxis only operate in major communities. There are no shuttles or services between towns, but guided tours are a convenient alternative.
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