Best Destinations Vancouver Island

By | March 29, 2024

Best Destinations Vancouver Island – This beautiful island off Vancouver’s West Coast is home to some of the best travel experiences in the country and you’ll probably need at least a week to tackle the best things to do on Vancouver Island. .

In this wild paradise you can get close to the endemic species of orcas, grizzly bears and black bears; quite rare wildlife experiences. In addition to wildlife, Vancouver Island has beautiful walks, beaches, great restaurants and glimpses of First Nations culture that make it one of Canada’s top travel destinations.

Best Destinations Vancouver Island

You can find the locations of the best things to do on Vancouver Island below, or click this link to access the customizable version of google maps.

The Ultimate Vancouver Island Road Trip

Victoria is the largest city on Vancouver Island and has a lot to offer! Although it is an interesting city with beautiful colonial architecture, we preferred to use it as a base to see some of the wilder parts of the Island. If culture is your thing, you’ll also find plenty of museums, galleries and afternoon tea!

Orcas, humpbacks, grays – you name it and Vancouver Island has it. It really is one of the best places in the world to see whales. That said, different parts of the island are better for different species, so you’ll want to decide in advance what kind of whales you want to see (the time of year will also have an effect).

Although many companies will offer guaranteed sightings, it will not be a specific type of whale. We found out the hard way when we booked what we thought was an orca viewing tour (written below with a photo of the orca that guaranteed sightings) only to find that we didn’t even go looking for orcas, but straight to the humpbacks. the saw

Humpbacks are amazing but we’ve seen them so many times in Australia that we wouldn’t do that particular tour if we knew they wouldn’t be trying to find orcas! Something to worry about because we weren’t the only ones confused on the tour!

Vancouver Island Wildlife Viewing Guide

In general, the Victoria/Sidney area is good for humpbacks and there is an opportunity to see orcas (our tour guides said they see them about 15% of the time). Whales can be seen at any time of the year in Victoria, but are most commonly seen between May and October.

Tofino is very good between March and October for gray whales (spring and autumn are migration periods, but they can also be seen in summer) and the occasional killer whale.

Telegraph Cove is good for humpbacks (May to September) and killer whales especially in August, but they can also be seen in July and September. Tours departing from Campbell River usually take you to Telegraph Cove. Victoria and Telegraph Cove are home to killer whales

If you want to see whales of any kind, you can choose any of these places at the right time and you will not be disappointed!

Best Things To Do In Vancouver Island

Read next: Epic Hikes in BC – Joffre Lakes, The Chief, Abbott Ridge and The High Note Trail

The Goldstream Trestle is at the end of a 1.5km (each way) walking track and is a popular photography spot. The views from where the bridge crosses the canyon are incredible. This service on this track was discontinued in 2015 which is really surprising because it seems ancient to us!

The hole is not maintained and therefore walking there is at your own risk. The hiking trail is short and not too difficult (although it is steep in parts) the only real difficulty is the slippery ground. Parts felt a little sketchy on the way down, so we recommend wearing shoes with good grip.

Best to go back the way you came, we thought we found a good bike option, but we ended up riding the side of a busy road for over a mile which was a pretty hair raising experience.

Summer Must Sees On Vancouver Island

If you want to visit a restored trestle with railings, you could try the Kinsol Trestle, which we didn’t have time to visit but was originally on our list.

Sooke Potholes Provincial Park is the perfect place to cool off on a hot day. The river is so big that you have a lot of space to find your little paradise. In the areas close to the three parking lots, the water is calm and shallow, a perfect place for a swim, and the water is refreshing without being too cold (he said we visited in the summer!) .

The first parking lot is free and the second and third are paid for parking. We checked the river by parking one and two. We read that the places near the two paid for parking were better and we couldn’t agree more. We didn’t mind paying for parking, but we were surprised that it was like a free zone that wasn’t really busy!

The Beechy Head Loop is a stunning 5km loop trail (with a 170m elevation gain) that not only showcases some of Vancouver Island’s most stunning coastline, but also allows you to see wildlife and visit some ancient petroglyphs.

Vancouver Island Road Trip Itinerary For Outdoor Lovers (2024)

The walk itself is not difficult, but the terrain can be quite challenging if you don’t like walking over rocks and tree roots.

You’ll walk through mixed forest and along the coast before reaching the lookout, an easy mix of rocks to a wide area that gives you the perfect view over the ocean.

Although there are plenty of whale watching boats, we unfortunately didn’t see any (both humpbacks and the less common killer whales are options), although we did see a few playful seals.

For a shorter, less challenging hike, you can take the woodland path to the Petroglyphs (the Beechy Head Loop also visits the petroglyphs but via the coastal path). There are two petroglyphs, one very clear and visible from walking and one faded and visible after scrambling over some rocks. There is a large sign marking the area and showing what to look for.

Things To Do In Vancouver, Bc: Hidden Gems And Must See Attractions

Tofino is one of the best places to visit on Vancouver Island and should be on anyone’s bucket list. We did a separate article on the best things to do in Tofino, but you can check out some below.

If you’re a wildlife lover, this trip will probably be the highlight of your time on Vancouver Island, if you don’t also take the Grizzly tour that can be attached!

Black Bear sighting trips take place from small boats and offer you the opportunity to get up close to these incredible animals, always in safety. This gave us time to observe in a completely peaceful environment, which is something that cannot be said for seeing bears on hiking trails 🙂

Trips depart from Tofino and take you to several beaches around Clayoquot Sound, where bears hang out to sniff out crabs and other shellfish. We were lucky enough to see eight bears, including a small cub and a bear that entertained us by swimming near the boat for a long time.

Absolute Best Tours In Victoria (that You Don’t Want To Miss!)

While the boat ride is in a sound rather than the open sea, the water is very calm, perfect for seasick people like me. We also saw seals and a bald eagle on the trip which was a nice way to end it. I did quite a bit of research before booking the trip and went with Adventure Tofino and we are very happy with our choice.

They use small Zodiac boats which are great for photography and I generally prefer to sit outside than inside and some of the boats around don’t have outside seating. The guide was also excellent and did an amazing job finding lots of bears and spending enough time with each one before moving on.

Trips take place between April and October, when the bears are not hibernating. Tours last 2-2.5 hours (ours went the full duration and I found they always give you as much as possible with the bears) and cost $109 CAD for adults and $79 for ages 12 and under.

We don’t often include anything food-related in our blogs, but Tacofino is a Vancouver Island institution. This eclectic food truck serves up delicious tacos, burritos and gringas that are sometimes worth the long wait (we waited an hour on a busy summer day!).

The Top 15 Things To Do In Vancouver Island (updated 2024)

We opted for fish tacos and we were not disappointed. We heard the fudge cookies were to die for but they were sold out when we got there! There are meat, fish and vegetable options.

Pacific Rim National Park is a mix of lush rainforests and wild windswept beaches.

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