From the ornate colonial capital of Victoria in the south to the windswept shores of Cape Scott and rugged headlands at its northern edge, the Island extends for 460 kilometers. This sprawling island is dotted with eclectic villages begging to be discovered, home to the colonial capital of British Columbia, ancient rainforests, and carefree surfing cities. Experience watching, birding, and fishing for world-class whales, or simply let your troubles float away in the Pacific waves. See our list of the best attractions to see and things to do on Vancouver Island in order to better prepare your journey.
Best Time to Visit Vancouver Island
March to May and September to November are the perfect times for visiting Vancouver Island. The area sees some of the mildest weather in the country and the driest summers, so in the spring and fall, focus on comfortable temperatures though you might experience a light drizzle here and there.
How to Reach Vancouver Island
By Air: By far the easiest as well as the most accessible way to get to Vancouver Island is flying. Nanaimo Airport, Victoria International Airport, as well as nearby cities such as Campbell River, Port Hardy and Courtenay/Comox have a variety of airline providers available for service.
By Water: If you intend to sail to Vancouver Island by sea, BC Ferries is the primary ferry carrier. BC Ferries is an independently operated and publicly held company that provides coastal and island areas in British Columbia with passenger and car ferry services. You have the choice of taking the ferry to Nanaimo and Victoria from Vancouver on mainland British Columbia, all of which provide stunning scenery.
Now Coming to top attractions, here are the must see places in Vancouver Island…
Victoria, filled with flowers and colonial architecture, is a haven for wanderers. Admire the ocean’s beauty and draw on the past of the region as you visit this lively community. Gardens and seafront gardens, stately hotels and museums, bohemian eateries, and craft breweries occupy the capital of British Columbia. It is also the gateway to the south of Vancouver Island, a hub for all sorts of food and wine trips, whale watching, and ocean experiences.
Nanaimo, where you are propelled by pedals along trails and the soles of your boots lead you down to the waterfalls of the rainforest foundation. Apart from this even when kicking back on the beach to watch the ferry dock, or drinking a cool homemade cocktail, everyone can feel the quietness to rejuvenate. Undoubtedly, Nanaimo is a beautiful town situated strategically on the east coast of Vancouver Island, overlooking the Salish Sea to the Coastal Ranges on British Columbia‘s mainland.
Tofino is situated on Vancouver Island’s rugged west side, within the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Surfable for newcomers and veterans alike during the year and home to tournaments. On vast, sandy beaches, play or rest. Old-growth rainforest walk. Enjoy newly captured and foraged ingredients in restaurants. Meet a group of artisans and explore shops and galleries that are privately run. In their natural habitat, watch whales and bears, as Bald Eagles fly overhead.
4. Port Renfrew
Port Renfrew has a lot more distant atmosphere than you would imagine. Hidden from the regional coastal villages, steeped in tradition and traditions, the pressures of city life remain. Sooke is just 40 minutes from Victoria, the eastern entrance to the Sooke city of Port Renfrew. Our area boasts the mildest climate in Canada, offering events both leisurely and intense within our unspoiled wilderness. Explore the town for a day or set out on a hiking trail.
5. Campbell River
The Campbell River in Strathcona Provincial Park is a handy drop-off spot for wilderness tourism. Although the heart of the town is not the prettiest of the island, it profits from a sheltered waterside location and an impressively proactive Rotary Club that has launched several rejuvenation initiatives. Kayaking, canoeing, rafting, boating, diving, caving, fishing, hiking, climbing, hiking, golfing, downhill and Nordic skiing, biking, watching birds, wildlife, watching whales and snorkelling salmon are few things to do in Campbell river.
Ucluelet, a slice of heaven on earth, is nature at its most strong. Pure ocean air, breathtaking walks on the oceanside, temperate rain forests, stunning sunsets and watching wicked storms. To unplug and reconnect, prepare. Put all behind. Ucluelet is an area free of stress where Mother Nature calms the soul of one. There is plenty to do here, including some of the best fishing for ocean salmon in the world, amazing hiking, whale watching, kayaking, surfing, and more.
The city of Parksville, which encompasses Parksville, Qualicum Shore, Nanoose Bay, Errington and Coombs, is part of the Oceanside Region. In Parksville and Oceanside, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a wide range of recreational opportunities available. Experience natural beauty up close as you walk along the beach, woodland and mountain paths in one of the areas. Try something enjoyable or new that builds lasting holiday memories, with romantic gardens to explore, mini golf challenges for the entire family.
On the east coast of Vancouver Island, Courtenay is a city. It is the largest town in the area, widely referred to as the Comox Valley. This place is among the finest for purchasing a house, with a mix of local facilities, spectacular views of nature, and excellent value. In and around the city, there are a lot of excellent things to do. There is no better spot than Courtenay if you enjoy wildlife, fine food, a wonderful local distilling tradition or leisurely afternoons on the golf course.
9. Port Alberni
Port Alberni is a special and welcoming enclave where an entertaining combination of outdoor and indoor events and attractions can be enjoyed. The town enjoys a mild climate and the surrounding valley and is well known for its stunning landscapes. The place is wildly popular for its salmon sports-fishing, scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, boating, waterskiing/wakeboarding, camping, mountain biking, ATV’ing, golfing and wildlife watching, surrounded by mountains, freshwater lakes and streams.
Comox may not be as common in Canada as other towns, but don’t let that fool you. Comox is a smaller, but lovely, tourist destination worth visiting. At this secret destination, you would be shocked by some of the interesting things to do and locations you will visit. In Comox Valley, there is no lack of things to do, especially if you are a “cultural explorer” who loves opportunities to adopt, experience and immerse yourself in the history, individuals and settings of the places you visit.