I discovered the Lochside Regional Trail which will be useful to know for future bike trips to Vancouver Island. It is the trail I rode on from Sydney to camp and on to the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. The Lochside Regional Trail is an 18-mile trail that runs from the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal to Victoria. The trail is a popular route both for commuting and recreation. It is frequented by people walking, running, cycling, skateboarding and even riding horses. The trail was created in 2001 and connects to the longer Galloping Goose Regional Trail (34 miles Victoria to Sooke). The two trails connect at the Switch Bridge in Saanich. The Lochside Trail is the ticket for off-road bike riding to Victoria from the Swartz Bay and Sydney ferry terminals.
The ferry ride to Pender for a walk-on with bike is $12 and the trip takes about an hour. Pender is hilly with twisty roads with mainly no shoulders. My plan was to stay at the Beaumont Campground which is part of the national park system but local knowledge indicated that it was not good for bike campers because the camp access was 45 minutes of hiking over a gnarly trail. So I was on the search for a camp on a very busy weekend on Pender. On the way someone mentioned that there might be a few camping spots at the Port Browning Resort and Marina.
I rode down the steep road to the marina and was able to secure a tent spot for a very reasonable $13. The marina is a favorite destination among boaters and island visitors exploring the Southern Gulf Islands because of our many amenities and friendly staff. It offers transient moorage, a convenience store, laundry and shower facilities, tent and RV camping areas, seasonal outdoor pool, ATM, WiFi internet access, charter fishing and kayak boat rentals, the oceanside Port Browning Cafe and, a longtime local favorite, the oceanfront Port Browning Pub. It is located near Pender Island's Driftwood Center shopping hub, the main commercial area on the island. Boats, pub, showers, Wi-Fi, camping ... what else could a bike touring camper want?