petting sheep on a family trip to quadra island

Families Travel! Sarah Goes on a Quadra Island Farm Stay

In August 2009, Sarah Pugh, her husband Stirling and 3-year-old daughter Rowan rented a kitchen-equipped cottage from Bold Point Farmstay for six nights. Their hosts, Rod and Geraldine, run the farmstay on the secluded and rustic Quadra Island, BC. Quadra Island is located about three hours north of Victoria (and involves a quick 10-minute ferry ride). Here’s why Sarah thought her family’s stay on a functioning farm was so fantastic:

Q: What did you do at the family-friendly farm?

Sarah: We went for long rambles in the woods, picked berries and fruit, went swimming in the lakes, and fishing and paddling in the ocean.

We went to the market, popped over to Campbell River for a day, chatted with Rod and Geraldine, played on the lovely lawns around the garden on the farm, cooked fabulous meals with the vegetables from the farm and mutton we purchased from Rod.

We also enjoyed communing with the sheep, seeing how the chicken flock worked as new chickens were added, collecting eggs, and feeding the ducks. Daisy, our dog, enjoyed herself immensely. (Pets are welcome as long as they can be leashed or trusted around livestock.)

We also enjoyed dessert and other home-made treats with Rod and Geraldine. Rod and Geraldine do a LOT of food preserving and are happy to share tips, techniques, samples and stories.

Just being there was lovely. Fresh air, clean water, beautiful stars at night, misty mornings, deer everywhere, birdsong all around.

The only downside to our week was that it was a bit windy on most days so we didn’t go canoeing. The farm has a canoe that guests are welcome to use but neither Stirling nor I are competent paddlers so we didn’t use it. We would have on a calm day but it just didn’t work out for us.  Next time!

Q. Which activities did your daughter like at the farm?

Sarah: Helping to feed all the animals and leading the ducks to and from the pasture every day. She would walk and quack like a duck, to encourage the ducks to follow (although sometimes they ended up leading)

Taking the ducks to pasture at the Lower Mainland family-friendly farm
Taking the ducks to pasture

She also enjoyed napping on the lawn with Stirling, following Rod around, playing on the old swing, picking and eating blackberries and tomatoes and little plums, fishing and swimming (LOVED the swimming).

Q: Do you have any farm-related caveats for traveling families?

Sarah: There is no TV and the radio reception is spotty.  My cell phone couldn’t find a signal at all.  If you want entertainment beyond conversation, cute animals and exercise, bring it with you.

The roads are not paved around the farm (pavement ends about 15 km before you get there) and sometimes, logging trucks drive by, which may mean chips in your windshield. Make sure your car insurance covers you appropriately.

Not a bad way to clean up.

Urban types may experience a bit of culture shock.  The shower in the cottage isn’t great – we relied more on the lakes for swimming to get clean. Water restrictions are often in place as Quadra typically enjoys a couple months of drought in the summer so don’t plan on daily showers for everyone even if you don’t go to the lakes to swim.

It really is a place to get away from modern life and just enjoy simple pleasures like somersaults on the grass, reading, walking, and making ducks quack at you.

Thanks, Sarah! Once a week, I’ll interview a family about a favorite Washington, Oregon or BC destination, attraction or experience. Do you have one to share? E-mail me at

Lora Shinn writes about family travel, Pacific NW travel, grown-up travel...and travel in general. Her travel-related articles and essays have appeared in Family Fun, Parenting, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, AAA magazines and Redbook, among others.