Cortes is situated 150km North of Vancouver, in the Discovery Islands. Cortes is the perfect jumping off point to explore Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and surrounding inlets, and is known for the wilderness and remote nature of the community. There are many activities to do while visiting the island. Kayaking is a popular activity as well as numerous other activities and local businesses. Hollyhock and the Cortes Museum, which also hosts the local visitors centre, are among favourites, as well as hiking through K’was park and Carrington bay. Craft markets are held weekly at the Manson’s Landing Community Hall, and the Gorge Harbour Marina Resort. A craft shop located in Squirrel Cove features numerous local artists and is open during the summer months.
Things to do on Cortes Island
Weekly markets take place throughout the summer on Friday’s and Saturday’s. There is a treasure filled craft shop and an amazing museum. Road stands are littered throughout the Island with local offerings. Consider taking the self-drive tour, which you can get a copy of at the museum! There are quite a few take-out options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and there is free live music at the Gorge Marina on many summer evenings.
Cortes Island is a perfect place to connect with nature. Try out a swimming hole, take a picnic and hike the numerous trails. Go beach combing on one of our beautiful beaches and take in stunning sunsets. Explore waters by kayak, paddle board, or book a sailing trip. This little Island boasts an eclectic community and is not to be missed!
Book a Kayak Tour with Cortes Kayaks
Explore the coastlines of Cortes Island and Desolation Sound on a guided kayak tour with Cortes Kayaks. Open April through November, Cortes Kayaks offers sunset tours, bioluminescence tours, afternoon adventures, kayaking expeditions, kayak and yoga retreats, lessons and much more! On their kayak adventures you will paddle the coastlines and explore nearby islands, while looking out for humpback whales, orcas, harbour seals, sea lions, and an abundance of birdlife along the way! On all of their trips, their certified local guides will teach you about the ocean, wildlife, geology and history of the area. Trips are family friendly and open to all levels of kayaking experience.Learn more about Cortes Kayaks
Set sail with Misty Isles Adventures
Offering full and half day trips to Desolation Sound and Mitlenatch Island, or take a trip to the Laughing Oyster’s weekly seafood buffet in Okeover Inlet. At 43 feet in length overall with a 12 foot beam and a full keel drawing roughly 7 feet of water, Misty Isles is a Gaff rigged schooner with a certified capacity for 12 passengers and 2 crew. The spacious fish hold has been tastefully converted into guest accommodations with two queen sized beds, a washroom, and ample storage space. A classic west coast wheelhouse is the heart of the vessel. Well lit by windows and portholes, the Yellow Cedar interior envelopes the navigation station and galley space, with steps leading forward into the foc’sle where the ships library awaits next to the diesel stove as well an additional washroom and V-berth bunk . The outer decks are open to all, with lots of seating space and an aft deck awning for raining days, or casting shade during summer heat waves. Welcome aboard!Learn more about Misty Isles Adventures
Book a fishing charter with Cortes Fishing Adventures
If you love fishing, then these guided fishing trips are for you. Make your fishing dreams come true with half or full-day guided fishing trips to some of the best salmon-fishing grounds in the world! Whether you want to drop a line in any of the numerous remote inlets of Desolation Sound, fish around the islands or perhaps cruise over to the world-famous fishing grounds of Campbell River, your guided fishing trip will be a trip of a lifetime! In addition to fishing adventures, we offer sightseeing trips and water taxi services.Learn more about Cortes Fishing Charters
Enjoy local Farmer’s Markets
Three weekly markets offer vibrant gathering places for local food producers and artisans to sell their wares. Markets are the perfect place to pick up a distinctive gift or bring some healthful love from the ground to your belly. The Manson’s Landing Market is open on Fridays year-round, and the Gorge Harbour Saturday Market and Squirrel Cove Sunday Market operate in the summer months!Learn more about Cortes Farmers Markets
Explore local hiking trails
Cortes Island is a day hiker’s paradise. Easily accessible and well-maintained trails allow hikers to explore some of the last remaining old growth forest on the BC Coast. For a short hike (1-2 hours) in Cortes Island’s forest, try some of our most popular trails: the Whaletown Commons, School-to-Sea Hike in Manson’s Landing Provincial Park, Hank’s Beach, and the Siskin Lane trails. If you’re looking to walk the shoreline, come down to Smelt Bay Provincial Park. Though it’s beautiful all the time, the walking is best when the tide is out, especially if you enjoy exploring tide pools and watching the shorebirds, herons, and eagles. Maybe you’ll see seals, sealions, or even an orca out to sea! On a low tide, walk north from Smelt Bay to Manson’s Landing (~2-3 hours) or south to the tip of Cortes before looping around towards Hollyhock beach (~2-3 hours) — or just go as long as you like before turning back to the parking lot.Learn more about Cortes Hiking Trails