If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path getaway, you might want to look into visiting Haida Gwaii this summer. Located off the western coast of Canada, Haida Gwaii is a 150-island archipelago. The islands of Graham (in the north) and Moresby (in the south) contain most of the island’s best amenities and activities, but there are plenty of places to visit. It’s perfect for those looking for an adventure, as it’s only accessible by plane or ferry and is separated from the mainland by the stormy Hecate Strait. Haida Gwaii has so much to offer the whole family, whether it’s going hiking, fishing, or even taking on unique activities like canoe-making. Let’s go over five of the best reasons to make Haida Gwaii your destination for the summer.
1. Learn about Haida culture.
If you’re heading to Haida Gwaii in the summer, you’ll be able to check out historical sites like the remains of the Haida Nation longhouses. There’s also a multi-building Haida Heritage Center in Skidegate. There are performances, arts and crafts, and a house where skills like wood carving are taught. The Haida Gwaii Museum is also in Skidegate, offering the opportunity to learn about the Haida in both the pre and post-contact eras. While many visit Haida Gwaii for nature and outdoor activities, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to learn about an incredibly unique part of Canadian history.
2. Experience some of Canada’s best fishing.
Whether you consider yourself a fisherman or just enjoy fishing as a hobby, Haida Gwaii has plenty to offer. You can find several incredible fishing lodges in Haida Gwaii. Often compared to the Galapagos Islands, Haida Gwaii provides beauty and an abundance of fish, sheltered from the open Pacific. You can fish in both saltwater and freshwater, and the biodiversity can compete with any locale in the US or Canada. No matter what your level of expertise, the islands have plenty to offer any aspiring angler.
3. See the famous Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.
The Gwaii Haanas takes up almost the entire southern third of the islands. It’s controlled jointly by the Haida Nation and Parks Canada. There are beautiful forests, coral reefs, and unique wildlife like orcas and the Haida Gwaii black bear. It’s also home to several ancient Haida village sites. A guided tour might be wise since the park takes up almost 2,000 square miles.
4. Participate in traditional activities like clam-digging and canoe-making.
While the more traditional vacation staples like hiking, swimming, and boating are available, there are plenty of unique crafts and activities to participate in. The Haida Heritage Center offers canoe-making, for example, and the Naikoon Provincial Park contains North Beach, where visitors can try their hands are clam-digging. Visiting the smaller villages strewn across the islands can provide opportunities to learn skills and participate in experiences you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
5. Haida Gwaii offers an unparalleled opportunity for exploration.
If you like adventure and exploration, there’s no better place to visit. With over 2,000 square miles of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, plenty of hiking trails, coral reefs, and hot springs, there’s no shortage of places to explore. If you prefer exploration on the water, you can even go whale watching in the Skidegate Inlet, or let a charter company take you out a little further to some of the more isolated fishing spots on the islands. Whatever you do, just know that when you’re visiting Haida Gwaii, curiosity is often rewarded.
If you’re hoping to escape for the summer and experience all the natural wonders that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, Haida Gwaii is the perfect destination. Hikers, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes will find plenty to love, and history buffs will find myriad opportunities to learn about the Haida people, including lessons in some of their traditional crafts and activities. For some of the most beautiful scenery and exciting outdoor sport in British Columbia, Haida Gwaii is the place to go.
Feature photo by CNN
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