Despite its small size, most locals and visitors alike will tell you that you’ll need far more than one day to experience all that Sointula has to offer. This incredible town has a rich history and stunning landscapes; there are enough things to do in Sointula that you could spend many days or even weeks exploring the island.

But if you find yourself with just a day to experience Malcolm Island and Sointula, don’t fret. We’ve created the ultimate guide to help you make the most of your time and experience some of the town’s must-sees. Keep reading to learn the top things to do in Sointula during a one-day visit.

Start Your Day on the Water

Perhaps Sointula’s best-known attraction isn’t something you’ll find in town. Thousands of people visit remote British Columbia each year for the region’s famous fishing. While you can fish from just about anywhere on coastal British Columbia, doing so while visiting Sointula is a great way to enjoy a more tranquil, relaxed fishing excursion in a remote destination, away from the busy tourist charters of nearby Vancouver Island. 

There are a couple of fishing charters to choose from on Malcolm Island. North Island Adventures offers fishing charters from Sointula, as well as from Port McNeil. These intimate charters have space for just 4 adults or one family at a time. You can even combine fishing with whale watching during your charter.

Randy’s Fishing Charters also offers customized fishing charters in Blackfish Sound, Queen Charlotte Strait, and the Broughton Strait. Randy himself will lead your tour and put his decades of experience fishing in the area to work as he helps you search for large Chinook, Halibut, and more.

You could easily spend an entire day—or longer—exploring the beautiful waters that surround Malcolm Island. But if you have just a day, consider booking a shorter excursion early in the morning so that you’ll still have time to experience more of Sointula!

Of course, if you find that you’d like to plan a longer visit to Sointula, consider booking a stay at the island’s fishing lodge. Sointula Lodge offers four- and five-day packages for experienced fishermen and first-timers alike. 

Spend the Afternoon Strolling Through Town

After an exciting morning of fishing, head straight into Sointula. Walking off the dock is a little like stepping back in time. Pop into Upper Crust Bakery to sample Finnish-inspired baked goods, then take a stroll through town. Try to imagine what the island’s early Finnish settlers would have seen as they stepped off the boat from Vancouver Island in search of a better life. 

Want to learn a little more about the founders of this town? Head to Sointula Museum. This small museum features artifacts, publications, and photographs that tell the story of the original Finnish settlement. You can find the museum just three blocks to the right after stepping off the dock in downtown Sointula.

If you’re looking for a heartier lunch or need to get your caffeine fix, head to Coho Joe Cafe. Here, you can indulge in homemade soups, salads, and gourmet lunch options, as well as a selection of decadent pastries and coffee, tea, and espresso beverages. After lunch, pop into the Sointula Co-Operative Store to pick up some snacks or souvenirs. If you have any art lovers in your group or want to pick up a unique souvenir of your visit, stop into one of the island’s art galleries and workshops.

Enjoy a Local Meal With a View

If you’ve worked up an appetite after all that walking and shopping, keep your eye out for the bright red Burger Barn. At this popular local spot, you can grab a variety of hot lunch and dinner options, including burgers, fish and chips (including fried halibut!), wraps, and more. Grab your meal and sit at one of the outdoor tables to enjoy your meal while taking in some more of Sointula’s beautiful views.

Visit the Whale Rubbing Beach

Your day on Malcolm Island is coming to an end! If you still have some daylight left, make your way to Bere Point Regional Park. Once inside the park, follow the signs from the campground, then make your way to the beach. Here, just off the coast, is the famous whale rubbing beach. For reasons scientists are certain about, orcas come close to the shore at this spot to rub their bellies on the rocky bottoms. 

It’s impossible to guarantee a sighting, but during the summer months, you might get lucky enough to see whales visiting this spot. The rubbing can last anywhere from 15 minutes to more than 2 hours. Bring a pair of binoculars to get a better look!

Choosing the Best Things to Do in Sointula

There are more things to do in Sointula than you could possibly squeeze into a day! But if you do find yourself with limited time on the island, plan to hit these highlights. They’ll no doubt inspire you to come back for a longer visit!

Looking for more ideas for how to spend your time in Sointula? Check out this guide to learn more about four unique ways to spend a day on Malcolm Island.