There's no easier Gulf Islands getaway from the BC mainland than Galiano Island.
A breezy 55-minute ferry ride from Tsawwassen south of Vancouver puts visitors within walking and cycling distance of all that's required for a relaxing and invigorating speed break from city life: accommodations, dining, water activities, and hiking trails included.
An upscale resort and spa, top-notch bookstore, art galleries, and the cluster of shops and restaurants in the village of Sturdies Bay are steps from the ferry dock. Bring a car and explore this long, attenuated island to the max, but environmentally aware islanders are thrilled when visitors minimize their carbon footprint.
Galiano is the least tamed of the major Gulf Islands because of its rocky geography and lack of arable land. Credit for this unspoiled charm is in large part due to the historical fact that fully half of the island was utilized as a tree farm by the lumber industry until the early 1990s. These former forestry lands (mostly concentrated in the island's northeastern half) remain undeveloped even though they are now privately owned.