Exploring Sandstone Caves On Galiano Island

Last Updated on June 15, 2021

Each year my sister and I try to explore another island off of the mainland of Vancouver. Last year, we chose Mayne Island to begin this adventure goal. We knew we had to venture over to Galiano Island next when we found out that hidden away on the coast of this beautiful Gulf Island is a mesmerizing sandstone cave.

Sandstone cave on Galiano Island

Galiano Has Many Sea Caves To Explore

The shores of Galiano Island are lined with a network of sea caves that have been carved by nature into its soft sandstone, and the formations on the shore are breathtaking.  Mother Nature worked her magic with this cave, eroding the side of the sandstone over centuries, leaving some wonderfully mesmerizing patterns. This particular sandstone cave is situated and easily accessible right along the shoreline at Retreat Cove, and you are able to go in and explore it. You’ll have to search a little bit for the cave, as it is hidden from plain view. It is truly a sight to behold, with such dreamy scenery to admire from the cave. The wild beauty of Galiano Island was gorgeous. Other caves are accessible by kayak.

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Sandstone cave on Galiano Island
Enjoying the gorgeous views

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Relaxing at a Sandstone cave on Galiano Island
Enjoying the summer sun and the glorious surroundings
Ocean views on Galiano Island
How perfect does this look? The best summer day.

How Do Sandstone Caves Form?

Simply put, sandstone is sand cemented together into rock. Sandstone is formed when layers of sand are compressed and cemented together over centuries at the bottom of oceans and other bodies of water. Today you will find gorgeous smooth curves from the waves wearing down the sandstone.

Sandstone cave on Galiano Island
The patterns that have been left over time from erosion were super neat!

A Peaceful Discovery

What we loved about Galiano was how peaceful it was. Though the ferries arriving were full, there never seemed to be more than a few people around us in nature. We were lucky that we had this cave to ourselves for a full hour and then only one other family ventured down for a look. It was a perfect spot to take in the beauty of Galiano, enjoy the magic of British Columbia, and relax in the summer sun.

Sandstone cave on Galiano Island
How cool is this erosion result? Also, notice the carvings. Do not be stupid and vandalize nature. Leave no trace!

Sandstone cave on Galiano Island

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Sandstone cave on Galiano Island

We Did Not Want To Leave

It was so relaxing that we did not want to leave the cave, but there was more exploring to be done. Exploring the sea caves is one of the best things to do on Galiano Island!

The sandstone cave was another great reminder of how blessed we are to call British Columbia home, with endless gems around us, waiting for us to discover them. British Columbia is full of so many incredible places to explore nature. We often take it for granted because it is ‘home’, but reminders like these are truly humbling.

Sandstone cave on Galiano Island

Ocean views from Galiano Island

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Sandstone on Galiano Island
It made us wonder what this cave area will look like years from now!

Explore With Respect – Always!

We were messaged and told that this cave is on private property and that you are only able to access it if you stay below the high tide mark at all times. However, Tourism Galiano does have it promoted across their website and socials, which is how we found out about it. There was also no signage around the cave area to indicate to us that we would be on private property by visiting the Instagram famous cave. It should go without saying to always be respectful and treat the cave with care; do not vandalize or leave any garbage behind. Take only photos, leave only footprints.

Sandstone erosion on Galiano Island

Sandstone on Galiano Island


What is a great hidden gem you have found on your travels?