island and human settlement in British Columbia, Canada

Hornby Island is off the coast of Central Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It's a blend of laid back and scenic with parks, beaches, hiking/biking trails and vistas.

Understand edit

Get in edit

By boat edit

Ferry edit

BC Ferries, toll-free: +1-888-223-3779. Operates ferries connecting coastal communities. There is a two-leg journey to get to Hornby island from Central Vancouver Island. The first ferry connects 1 Buckley Bay ferry terminal to 2 Denman Island West ferry terminal. From there, it's an 11 km drive across Denman Island to 3 Denman Island East (Gravelly Bay) ferry terminal to catch the second ferry to 4 Hornby Island (Shingle Spit) ferry terminal. Both ferries carry cars and foot traffic; it's the only way to bring your own car to Hornby.

From Nanaimo, head north on BC Highway 19 to the Buckley Bay exit (exit 101) and take the road east to the Buckley Bay ferry terminal. The drive is roughly an hour. From Courtenay / Comox, it's roughly a ½ hr drive south on BC Highway 19.

Water taxi edit

It's possible to get a water taxi from Comox to Hornby Island. The trip is about 30 minutes. If you have your own boat, there is a marina at Ford Cove Harbour in the southwestern tip of the island.

By bus edit

A bus can get you to the Buckley Bay ferry terminal, then you can walk on the ferry to Denman Island.

Get around edit

By car edit

The main road on the island is Central Road, a strip of pavement that nearly circumnavigates the island. It starts at the ferry dock at Shingle Spit, heads up the west coast of the island and across the north-center to the Four Corners (a.k.a. "Downtown Hornby"). From there, it hangs a right and heads south to Ford Cove. The trip from the ferry to the Four Corners is about a 15-20 minute drive. Watch out for cyclists on the road and crossing the road. Hornby Island has a lot of bike trails and cyclists.

By public transit edit

BC Transit (Comox Valley Regional Transit System), +1-250-339-5453.    

  • Bus route 10 runs between Buckley Bay and downtown Courtenay five times daily M-F, four times on Sat and twice on Sun.
  • A free (pay by donation) bus service is available (July 2023) on Denman Island that meets the ferry from Buckley Bay and connects to the ferry to Hornby Island
  • A free (pay by donation) bus service is also available (July 2023) on Hornby Island that meets the ferry from Denman Island and serves most centres

See and do edit

Coastal scenery at Helliwell Provincial Park

The attraction of Hornby Island is the outdoors, with some of the best sights protected by parks. Take in views of mountains and ocean or a mix of forests while hiking, mountain biking or kayaking.

  • 1 Helliwell Provincial Park, end of St. John's Point Rd. Park located on a rocky headland best known for its oceanside hike on top of the Helliwell bluffs. The 5 km loop has plenty of views of Hornby Island and across the Strait of Georgia to the Coast Mountains. Other highlights include some old-growth Douglas fir forest and, in spring, wildflowers near the cliffs. Offshore is Flora Islet, a diving spot that is one of two places in the world to see the Six-gill shark.    
  • 2 Mount Geoffrey Regional Park, 1675 Lea Smith Rd, with other entrances at the end of Strachan Rd, Northwind Rd, Slade Rd, Euston Rd and the cemetery on Central Rd. A series of parks and crown land that preserve Mount Geoffrey, the highest point on the island, and nearby cliffs. The 50 km of hiking and mountain biking trails go through forests, along cliff tops and to the peak of Mount Geoffrey (330 m) for some panoramic views. Trails range from wide and good for walking to expert-rated biking trails; a good map is available from the park's website.    
  • 3 Tribune Bay Provincial Park, St. John's Point Rd (at the "Corners", head north on St. John's Point Rd and then a right onto Tribune Bay Provincial Park access road). Golden-white sand beach with shallow clear water that is popular for swimming, skimboarding and standup paddleboarding.     There is parking available in the park for about 100 cars, and the wide and shallow beach can be crowded in the summer.
  • 4 Whaling Station Bay Beach, Anderson Rd (from the Coop, head north on St. John's Point Rd to Anderson Rd). Shallow sandy bay and beach that's popular for swimming. Parking is along the side of the road with a number of access points to the beach. Drivers should respect the private property and not block driveways.
  • 5 Fillongley Provincial Park. A coastal park on the east side of Denman Island with forested areas and areas with seasonal wildflowers.    

Rentals edit

  • 1 Hornby Island Outdoor Sports, 5875 Central Rd (at Ringside Market), +1 250-335-0448. 10AM-5PM. Bike rentals and sales, as well as paddleboard and skimboard rentals. Rentals are by the hour, day or week. Bike rentals $10-25 first hour, $3-10 each additional hour, $30-75 for a day; Paddleboards $7.50 hourly, $65 for a day; Skimboards $5 hourly, $20 daily.

Buy edit

  • 1 Hornby Island Coop, 5875 Central Rd (at the "Four Corners" and Ringside Market), +1 250-335-1121. Su-M W-Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM. Local grocery and hardware store, pharmacy and post office. Groceries are on the main floor and the hardware is downstairs.

Eat and drink edit

  • 1 Forage Farm & Kitchen, 5875 Central Rd, +1 250-335-1487. 9:30AM-3PM daily, plus Th-Su 5PM-8:30PM. Local farm fresh ingredients and a varied menu with breakfast options, sandwiches, burgers, salad and a noodle bowl. Many of the breakfast items have vegetarian or gluten-free options. $7.50-15 (breakfast), $10-21 (lunch & dinner items).

Sleep edit

Lodging edit

  • 1 Ford's Cove Marina Cottages & Camping, 10835 Central Rd, +1 250-335-2169. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 9AM (cottage), 11AM (campsite). Self-contained cottages with one or two bedrooms and include full kitchens. The campsites accommodate tents or RVs and some have electrical hook-ups. The location is a short walk to a beach and the trails at Mt Geoffrey park. There is also a general store on site with baked goods, coffee, sandwiches and pizza. Cottages: $1,350/week July-Aug (one week minimum stay), $109-159/night at other times of the year; Camping: $48/site July-Aug, $30-42/site at other times, power hook-up extra $6/night.
  • 2 Sea Breeze Lodge, 5205 Fowler Rd, +1 250-335-2321, toll-free: +1-888-516-2321. 16 cottages on a large property with a rocky beach. Many of the cottages have full kitchens and can sleep between 2-8 people. July-Aug: Cottages rented weekly Sun-Sun, $1,400 per adult including meals (children $450-900 depending on age). Sept-June: Cottages available daily, meals not included $145-210/night (Mar-June & Sept-Oct), $120-175 (Nov-Feb).
  • There are many cabins and houses available for weekly and weekend rentals through Hornby Island and various online rental agencies

Camping edit

  • 3 Bradsdadsland, 2105 Shingle Spit Rd, +1 250-335-0757. Family-oriented campground with just over 50 sites between the main road and a beach. Some sites have power hook-ups. Amenities include two flush toilets, eight outhouses, coin-operated showers, laundry facilities, children's playground and beach access. $50-62 late June to early Sept, cheaper rates at other times. Power hook-ups $4.50-$5.50 and sewer $5/dump.
  • 4 Tribune Bay Campground, 5200 Shields Rd, +1 250-335-2359. Check-in: after 11 AM, check-out: 11AM. 116 drive-in campsites with fire pits and picnic tables. 18 sites have electrical hook-ups and some sites are shaded. Amenities include showers (coin-operated), outhouses, women's and men's wash houses, a dryer and a children's playground. The campground has a good location, being next to the Ringside Market (with shops, food and a sports rental shop) and is walking distance to Tribune Bay beach. Reviewers indicate it can get crowded and is sometimes noisy at night. $40 standard site, $45 powered site. Price includes 4 people, additional persons are $10/night (adult) and $5/night (child). The campground only operates June 15 - Sept 15.

Go next edit

This rural area travel guide to Hornby Island is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.