About us


Gulf Island Kayaking is a small, family-run, kayak tour & rental company based in Montague Harbour on Galiano Island in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada.

Family owned & operated for over 30 years

Established by Ben Miltner in 1985, Gulf Island Kayaking is one of the oldest sea kayak outfitters in BC, and the original kayak tour and rental outfitter in the southern Gulf Islands. For more than 30 years, Ben and his staff have offered exceptional guided tours with an emphasis on interactive learning and respectful wildlife encounters.

Our tour guides are not just kayaking instructors, but also experienced group leaders and avid naturalists with extensive knowledge of local flora, fauna, and coastal history. Our guides are happy to help you hone your paddling skills and keen to share their knowledge of intertidal life, marine birds & mammals, coastal geology, and local history & culture.

No Experience Necessary

We specialize in introducing beginners of all ages to sea kayaking with a relaxed, easy-paced approach. We paddle with the motto: “It's not the destination, it's the journey.” Accordingly, we customize our tour itineraries to suite the experience and energy level of each group, ensuring your time on the water is as enjoyable as possible. Although we are happy to accommodate larger groups, our tours are typically small, with just 2-6 participants, allowing us to provide each guest with individual attention and instruction.

Origins & Evolution

Although founded in 1985 as a sea kayaking company, Gulf Island Kayaking evolved from ‘Galiano Landing’ a canoe livery company Ben Miltner started on Galiano Island in 1982. Ben grew up in Michigan, and as a young adult, managed ‘Chippewa Landing’, the family canoe livery business on the Pine and Manistee rivers. Having grown up a canoeist, Ben was introduced to sea kayaking after arriving on Galiano Island, and upon recognizing the benefits of a closed kayak on the open sea, quickly transitioned to focus on the burgeoning sport.

Today, kayaking remains our primary passion, and the focus of our guided tours. However, we continue to offer both kayak and canoe rentals, and since 2015, also offer stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals. As of 2019, we are once again offering bike rentals, which we previously offered in the early 1990s, and have expanded our tour options to include bicycle tours and ‘pedal & paddle’ tours that combine both kayaking and biking.

Sea Kayaking in Costa Rica

Since 1987, Gulf Island Kayaking has offered week-long and custom kayak tour packages in Costa Rica, first on the Nicoya Peninsula on the north pacific coast, and since 1994, in Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, near Corcovado National Park on the south pacific coast. For those wishing to see more of Costa Rica, hiking and birding tours through the Talamanca Mountains are offered as both extensions of Drake Bay Kayaking tours, and as stand-alone adventures.

Ben fell in love with the unique natural history of Costa Rica as a graduate student in geography in 1975. Years later, after founding Gulf Island Kayaking on Galiano, Ben started offering kayak and inland birding tours in Costa Rica during BC’s winter months, from December through April.