Kayakers, scuba divers and boaters destined for the Broughton Archipelago depart from this unpretentious centre of the North Island’s forestry industry, as do BC Ferries passengers bound for historic Sointula and Alert Bay. Enjoy the town’s busy harbour life while walking the seawall after a hearty meal. Book fishing charters and whale watching expeditions, or head out on cultural tour. And time a visit during a summer festival season that includes a logger sports competition in early July and Orcafest in August.
Port McNeill Through the eyes of the travellers
Things to do in Port McNeill
- Still a busy logging town, Port McNeill is also an ecotourism adventure destination within easy reach of the Broughton Archipelago Provincial Marine Park. Fishing charters, kayak outings and guided whale-watching tours depart from the harbour. Windsurfers, hikers and mountain bikers are also well-served locally.
- Stroll along the harbour seawall and explore a protected salmon-spawning stream along the Schoolhouse Creek Trail loop circuit. Check in with the Visitor Centre for information on how to reach the scenic Lady Ellen Point Trail, which is accessible via a logging road.
- The town’s location and full range of accommodations make it a central base for exploring the North Island via a series of daytrips. BC Ferries sails from here to nearby Alert Bay and Sointula, both perfect for day trips.
- Photo opportunities include bald eagles, black bears, sunrises over the harbour, vintage logging equipment (including a 1938 steam donkey) and the world’s largest burl (a knobbly extrusion from an old-growth tree; it weighs 24 tons and dates back to the 1500s).
- The Shephards’ Garden features a colourful array of perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees along with a forested trail leading to the nearby Nimpkish River.
- The local events calendar is highlighted by OrcaFest (August) with its parade, market and baseball tournament. Brave the frigid waters during the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim, and watch souped-up hotrods blaze down the track during the summertime Rumble on the Runway series.