There are many different types of activities and sights to see around the North Island. The biggest thing you will need to consider is accessibility (See our Transportation and getting around section). Another suggestion is to visit The Port Hardy Visitor Centre for information, magazines, maps and souvenirs. The friendly and informative staff at the Visitor Centre will certainly help with travel inquiries.
Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre: The Quatse Salmon Centre is a 5-minute drive from the Kwa’lilas Hotel or a one hour walk through town. The Quatse has a beautiful, interactive interpretive centre as well as a full enhancement salmonid hatchery. Take the tour to learn about salmon and the importance of them in our environment, get to see live baby salmon and steelhead and even witness the hatchery techs with their broodstock fish. A very popular and must see facility for everyone. The Salmon Centre is located along the beautiful Quatse River that includes a 45-minute easy access nature loop where you might see the resident black bears and eagles looking for spawning fish in the river.
Port Hardy Museum: The Museum is a great way to learn about the European history of Port Hardy as well as the mining, logging and fishing histories. It is free by donation to explore and has a gift shop with great First Nations jewelry, books and gifts.
Guidos Café, West Coast Community Craft Shop & The Book Nook: All conveniently tied together, enjoy a coffee and check out what all the local artists have created or snuggle in the Book Nook with a great read.
Hiking Trails: There are dozens of hiking trails in and around Port Hardy that range in difficulty. If hiking is your game, ask your local guest services agent for the local free trail guide.
Storey’s Beach: At low tide, Storey’s is a large, sandy beach approximately 20 minutes from the town of Port Hardy.
Coal Harbour: Coal Harbour is a very small coastal community but with big history that is about a 35-minute drive from Port Hardy. Coal Harbour is home to the Quatsino First Nations who have deep cultural roots set the wild West coast of North Vancouver Island. During WWII, Coal Harbour was a seaplane and radar base. Coal Harbour has a small RCAF Museum that is located near their harbor and highlights its former whaling days. Hidden paths that lead to underground bunkers are abundant near the town.
Port Alice: Port Alice is a beautiful seaside community along the Neroutsos Inlet approximately a 45-minute drive from Port Hardy. Views of the inlet and surrounding mountains are truly breathtaking. Backroads access includes opportunities to see Victoria and Alice Lake. The Marble River Provincial Park is located on the way to Port Alice and is definitely worth the stop. Bears frequent this area to feed on the large fish that make their way up the Marble River.
Port McNeill: Port McNeill is a quiet coastal district that is port to the BC Ferries that go to Sointula and Alert Bay. There are opportunities for whale watching and fishing out of Port McNeill as well.
Alert Bay: Alert Bay is home to the ‘Namgis First Nations and to the gorgeous U’Mista Cultural Centre. This small island is also home to the World’s largest totem pole. The boardwalk along the ocean through town offers amazing views, shops and restaurants.
Sointula: Sointula is located on Malcolm Island and is known for its Beautiful Bay Trail, a popular whale rubbing rock where locals and tourists can sometimes witness killer whales using the rock. This island also has a rich Finnish history, great local bakery and shops.
Telegraph Cove: Telegraph Cove has unique history here on the North Island and is currently an adorable tourism destination. In Telegraph Cove you can go whale watching, grizzly bear tours, kayaking and enjoy dinner and drinks in their restaurant and pub. Telegraph Cove is also home to the Whale Interpretive Centre.