Cortes Island’s sun-soaked white-sand beaches are the center of the summer social scene.

Our fresh lake waters are warm and pleasant, perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding. Motorized boats are not allowed on either Hague Lake or Gunflint Lake, preserving their tranquility and natural beauty.

Though the water of the Salish Sea is colder than the balmy lakes, many Cortes Islanders swim in the ocean -- some are crazy enough to do it year round!  Whether you're a swimmer, a wader, or simply someone who enjoys wandering the edge of the surf, collecting sea shells, our beaches offer plenty of beautiful locations to walk the shoreline.  At low tide, the walks from Smelt Bay to Hollyhock Beach or to Mansons Landing are beautiful and peaceful, following along the flank of the forest.

Keep your eyes open for wildlife on the shoreline - you'll certainly see herons, oystercatchers, gulls, and ducks; if you're lucky, seals, eagles, otters, even orcas!

What's your favourite Cortes Island beach?
If you have any input or pictures you'd like to share featuring Cortes beaches, please email us at: [email protected]


Smelt Bay Provincial Park

The sandy west facing beach at Smelt Bay is the best place on Cortes Island to watch the sunset. At low tide, the beach at Smelt Bay is sandy and placid, perfect for swimming, beachcombing, and watching wildlife. Smelt Bay is Cortes Island's most kid-friendly salt water beach.

Hague Lake

The white sand beach at Hague Lake is one of the nicest places in Coastal BC to spend the summer. With warm, pristine waters and soft sand, Hague Lake is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon with family and friends.


Hague Lake - Manson's Landing1

Hank’s Beach

Accessible via a short and flat ten minute walk through the forest, Hank's Beach is a protected park facing southeast, towards the Coastal Mountains. Arbutus and Manzanita trees cling to the bleached bluffs here, just above enormous tree trunks brought to shore from the winter storms. It's a favourite Cortes 'secret spot'.



One of Cortes Island's longest beaches, Hollyhock Beach looks out east towards the Mainland mountains and south to Twin Islands and the Salish Sea. Home to resident bald eagles and herons - and full of oysters and clams - Hollyhock Beach is perfect for a calm dip with exquisite views of the Coastal Mountains.


Family on Hollyhock Beach Cortes Island BC

Mansons Landing

Close to the heart of Mansons Landing village, the sandy beach at Manson's Landing Provincial Park is a perfect place to hunt for clams, walk, explore, and play in the quiet water.


mansons landing beach

Manson’s Lagoon

The tidal beach at Mansons Lagoon is a great place to explore, swim and hunt for clams. Located where the freshwaters from Hague Lake flow into the ocean, Mansons Lagoon is dense with sea life. Local's tip: bring a raft -- at the right tide, you'll be taken on a relaxing ride around the lagoon's central island.


Mansons Lagoon Beach

Important Information about Collecting Shellfish

Cortes Island has plenty of beaches well-stocked with bountiful shellfish life. Please note that a British Columbia Sport Fishing License is necessary to harvest shellfish in tidal waters, and that there are legal limits. A license can be purchased on-line at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.  Please note, any posted closures regarding biotoxins and contaminants. Also, be aware that there are numerous beaches under private leases where recreational harvesting is not permitted.


Beach Locations