British Columbia is graced with many incredible glamping spots, from rustic cabins to Airstreams to canvas tents with outdoor showers. The Southern Gulf Islands are particularly idyllic for camping in BC, and the folks at WOODS on Pender have managed to create a rather fabulous slice of heaven on bucolic Pender Island. Pender (and there are actually two islands referred to in the singular) is one of the 200 Gulf Islands between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Read and see why WOODS on Pender is tops on my list, and why you might want to go glamping in this neck of the woods.
Glamping at Woods on Pender Island
With renovated and refitted Airstreams, rustic cabins, bunkie cabins, and WOODS Motel, WOODS on Pender offers a wide variety of accommodation options for couples, families and larger groups.
Situated just 10 minutes from the ferry dock in Otter Bay and nestled in a beautifully wooded setting on North Pender Island, WOODS is one of the most unique places for glamping in BC.
Owner Curtis Redel is a bit of a renaissance man, and you’ll find him either welcoming you to WOODS at check in time, or in the kitchen of the property’s Coffee Kitchen Farm to Table Restaurant.
Curtis is a talented chef, and his decadent breakfast pastries, handmade pizzas and savory dinner options like mushroom gnocchi (a personal favorite), burgers and salads can add to whatever you can prepare in your own Airstream or cabin kitchen.
WOODS’ modern camping experience is complete with fully kitted-out Airstream and cabin kitchens, with French press coffee makers, dishware, cutlery, microwaves and fridges. The Airstreams can accommodate up to four people and are pet friendly.
Families of 4+ may prefer to book an Airstream plus a bunkie cabin for some extra space.
Each campsite has propane gas-fueled fire pits, and many have intimate wooden hot tubs that are perfect for sitting under the stars. There’s also WOODS wifi, TVs and a music system, if you want to augment the sounds of nature surrounding the property.
In addition to the restaurant and outdoor cedar deck patio, WOODS has a Camp Truck food truck that provides quick to go lunch items, ideal to take for a beach picnic or hike while exploring Pender Island.
What is it like to stay at WOODS?
In a word, fabulous.
I love camping in British Columbia. And glamping is extra lovely, especially at such a beautiful spot as WOODS. The variety of accommodation options here meet my and many people’s budget and needs. The excellent takeout food options (hello breakfast croissants!) add to what I bring on our camping outings.
The camp vibes are laid-back outdoor holiday style, perfect for a relaxation in nature. Our time at WOODS was quiet and private, which was exactly what we needed during our stay.
If you need to work off those tasty pastries or pasta, WOODS is next door to part of the Gulf Islands National Park Preserve. You can walk through the Prior Centennial Campground and follow the Heart Trail, an easy walk through the forest.
How to get to WOODS on Pender
Pender Island is accessible by the Southern Gulf Islands BC Ferries route from Tsawwassen. There are regularly scheduled runs 2-3 times daily, with stops at Galiano and Mayne Islands. The ferry takes about 2 ½ hours from the Lower Mainland. It’s a very scenic route as you sail between the islands.
You can get to Pender Island from Victoria via the BC Ferries route departing from Swartz Bay. There are hourly ferries to Otter Bay on Pender. Some are non-stop while others also stop at Galiano, Saturna or Mayne Islands. The non-stop ferry takes about 40 minutes.
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Photo credits: Claudia Laroye