You can not go to Salt Spring Island and not visit Ruckle Provincial Park and Ruckle Farm otherwise you'll be missing out on an important part of BC's history, the most spectacular natural beauty, and a great place to camp and get away from technology and the world that you are trying to escape. Otherwise, you'd go to New York, not a Southern Gulf Island.
If you're in good shape, you can ride a bike here - 10 km - up and down rolling hills, beside a few small lakes, until you reach the gates of this historic park where the oldest continuously operated farm in BC exists. There's typically not a lot of traffic on this part of the road but Salt Spring is not the safest place for cycling given that you're sharing the road with traffic and on the main Fulford-Ganges Road, in summer, that traffic can be (relatively speaking) quite a lot. But, I've biked here, when I was much younger and in shape, and it was never a problem if you use common sense and are extra cautious on any blind corners.
In August, the light is golden, in spring the sheep are plentiful, in Fall, you may or may not see Highland cattle, always there are turkeys. Explore the old Ruckle homestead, not open to go inside, but wander around and peer inside its windows where the rooms still have some of the old furniture. Sparrows are likely nesting high at the front of the old barn and there are a few outbuildings.
In the Spring, there is usually a one day event called Ruckle Farm Days with blacksmithing demonstrations, hotdogs, and other country-style events.
There are pathways that meander in and out of the forest that touches the waterfront, trails to explore, and quiet small rocky or white shell beaches (Grandma's Beach) and others. The Arbutus trees are plentiful, you may even spot Orcas and hear an owl in the forest at night. The ferries chug back and forth from Swartz Bay to Long Harbour.
A beautiful camping spot - a walk in campsite which means you park in a parking lot and then walk your stuff to one of the ocean-front campsites. There are wheelbarrows to help you reduce the number of trips from car to chosen spot. Outhouses, no showers, get your water from a pump.
There's a day area as well as the parking for the campsite. The day area and the campsite have picnic tables and in some places raised platforms to put your tent if you prefer that sort of thing. Depending on how dry it is, sometimes in summer there are campfire bans but otherwise, there are firepits.
There's a stocked farm stand on the property just after the park gates, usually full of jams, organic in-season produce, seeds, photograph cards, and cookies. It's a delight.
Dogs must be on leash to prevent them from chasing sheep and turkeys.
Families, couples, and solo travellers tend to camp here. It's a quiet place that doesn't tend to attract party animals. There are two group campsites that sometimes host youth groups or others.
Overnight camping has a fee $18.00 per party per day. There are no reservations. Campsite is on a first-come, first serve basis.
There is a change in service between winter and summer time periods. Google Ruckle and find the website.
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