Visiting Haida Gwaii is often a lifelong goal for many people and once you get here we highly recommend spending as much time on the islands before or after joining us kayaking in Gwaii Haanas as possible. The website www.gohaidagwaii.ca provides lots of suggestions for things to do and places to stay and below we have compiled some of our favourites.
For short walks and hikes to do around Sandspit view this map and be sure to visit the Sandspit Visitor Centre at the airport when you first arrive for great local advice. If you arrive on the morning flight in Sandspit you should have time to visit the Haida Heritage Centre at Ḵay Llnagaay in Skidegate and still get back in time for your orientation meeting that evening in Sandspit with your guides. If you only do one extra activity while on Haida Gwaii this is it.
The Haida Heritage Centre at Ḵay Llnagaay in Skidegate celebrates the living culture of the Haida people through language, art, and stories that shapes the Haida’s relationship with the land and sea. If it works with your schedule you may find visiting the centre before your Gwaii Haanas kayak tour provides even more meaning to what you experience in this special area. To get to Skidegate from Sandspit you need to take the ferry from Alliford Bay to Skidegate. The Heritage Centre is a 10 minute walk from the ferry. The Alliford Bay ferry is about a 20 minute drive from Sandspit.
There are not a lot of options to travel around Haida Gwaii. Fortunately Sandspit is small and most things are a short walk from the airport. To travel further afield Budget Car Rental is located at the airport (reserve well in advance), Eagle Transit meets each flight and travels to Queen Charlotte on Graham Island, and limited taxi service is also available from Eagle Transit and Sandspit Taxi (250-637-5655).
If you have decided to spend extra days on the island, The Pesuta Shipwreck Hike in Naikoon Provincial Park near Tlell is a popular 10 km return “non-strenous” hike. If you are properly prepared and have a few extra days there is also the 90 Km “demanding” East Beach Trail hike.
For a shorter easier hike there is The Golden Spruce Trail at Port Clements. As you continue to travel north there is the Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary near Masset. Another 30 minute drive northeast of Masset are the trail heads to Tow Hill, the Blow Hole, and North Beach. Tow Hill and the Blow Hole are short hikes while you can wander the expansive North Beach for hours, even days. Dip netting for crabs at north beach is popular and you can rent the gear you need from the North Beach Surf Shop in Masset – you need a fishing license too. Be sure to stop at the Moon Over Naikoon Bakery along the way.
If you have an extra night or two to add to your visit we have heard good things about North Beach Cabins.
If you want to spend a day of ocean fishing consider West Wave Fishing in Queen Charlotte. We have had guests and some of our guides fish with Ken from West Wave and all had good things to say and all caught plenty of fish.
To join us kayaking in Gwaii Haanas check out our three different tours: Northern Gwaii Haanas Explorer Kayak Tour (8 days), Southern Gwaii Haanas Explorer Kayak Tour (8 days), and the Ultimate Gwaii Haanas Explorer Kayak Tour (15 days).