What to do on Vancouver Island

Posted by Dana Elford · Mar 28 · in Victoria, British Columbia · about Sightseeing

Vancouver Island, located just off of Canada's pacific coast, is well known for its vibrant and thriving art community, unspoiled wildnerness, and outdoor adventure activities.


Vancouver Island is certainly known for its outdoor activities, with something to do for everyone. It has dense forests, beautiful surf, sandy beaches, and stunning golf courses.

Biking: For a lovely biking experience we highly suggest the huge wooden rail bridge on the Cowichan Valley Trail which is part of the Trans Canada Trail. Also, in Victoria, the Seaside Cycling Route and the Galloping Goose Trail are absolutely stunning.

Camping/Hiking: Looking for an adventurous camping & hiking experience? Check out Cape Scott Provincial Park, located at the very northerly point of Vancouver Island. There's also Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, towards Tofino, in the west.

Climbing: BC's oldest provincial park, Strathcona Provincial Park, has some of the best climbing on all of Vancouver island.

Golfing: Vancouver Island is home to 40 absolutely stunning golf courses. Victoria is home to Bear Mountain Golf Resort and also the Olympic View Golf Club - both highly rated golf courses with stunning views. In the Cowichan Valley there's the Arbutus Ridge Golf Club and the Duncan Meadows Golf Course - located close to the wineries of Cowichan Valley!

Spend a day on the Water

The Vancouver Island region is the absolute perfect place to enjoy a day on the water, or around it.

Swimming/Surfing: Vancouver Island beaches are among the very best in all of Canada. Tofino and Parksville are both rated among the best beaches in Canada. The Parksville beaches (Parksville & Rathtrevor) are both great for sunning, swimming, and a lovely picnic. Chesterman and Mackenzie beaches are the closest to the town of Tofino, and the most easily accessible from the highway, located in between Tofino and Ucluelet. Long Beach is inside the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve - it’s the longest on Vancouver Island’s west coast, and is a surfers paradise.

Fishing: The waters surrounding Vancouver Island are known for fishing all over the world, deeming the Campbell River area the ‘Salmon Capital of the World’ and the Cowichan River ‘The Fly Fishing Capital of Canada’....if you know anyone who loves to fish, they won't be disappointed with these suggestions.

Kayaking/Canoeing: Ocean kayaking & canoeing throughout Vancouver Island will provide you with some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen. You'll be graced with completely isolated beaches, stunning rainforests, immense marine life, sea lions, and birds flying over head. Best locations for kayaking/canoeing: The Broken Group Islands, the Clayoquot Sound, the Johnstone Strait, the Gulf Islands, the Discovery Islands, the Broughton Archipelago, and Nanaimo.

Where You Should Stay

One of our preferred hotel partners in Victoria, BC is The Fairmont Empress, and because of our membership in the exclusive Virtuoso network, when we book clients at this hotel you can enjoy special amenities, as well as a 3rd Night Free for all stays between now and December 2017!

If you haven't heard of the Fairmont Empress, you're definitely in for a treat. This beautiful hotel graces Victoria, BC's sparkling Inner Harbour with an iconic presence, offering 464 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites, including expansive meeting and wedding space.

Located on the picturesque West Coast of Canada, this is the ideal location to explore all the natural beauty of Vancouver Island.

Exclusively for North South Travel Virtuoso guests:

For 2017:

  • Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability.
  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

Whale Watching

Vancouver Island is certainly one of North America's greatest spots for whale watching, as well as wildlife viewing in general. What might you see if on a whale watching tour? Humpback whales, Pacific Grey Whales, Orca whales (or Killer whales), and an abundance of other marine life.....we especially love the California & Harbour Seals! One of our preferred partners offers Private Charters, 3-4 hour whale watching tours, and multi-day tours of Vancouver Island. Our personal suggestion is a multi day tour (itinerary below) taking you to various parts of the island;

  • Day 0 – (optional) Arrive in Campbell River, Vancouver Island. Introductory evening meeting with your captains and fellow passengers.
  • Day 1 – Meet at the boat at 8:00 am for vessel orientation, safety and route briefing. We will head out in the boat in search of Orcas Whales, Humpbacks Whales, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins and then on to Bute Inlet in search of Black Bears and Grizzly Bears. Arrive at Dent Island Lodge for dinner and overnight accommodations.
  • Day 2 – After breakfast we will explore Desolation Sound, Discovery Islands and Johnstone Strait in search of Orcas, Humpbacks, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins and Black Bears. Arrive at Telegraph Cove for dinner and overnight accommodations.
  • Day 3 – Following breakfast we will venture out into the Queen Charlotte Strait and visit The Duke of Edinburgh Ecological Reserve which is the second largest seabird nesting site on the west coast of Canada. We will also be searching for whales and other marine mammals. Then we will head back to Telegraph Cove for dinner and overnight accommodations.
  • Day 4 – After breakfast we will make our way south back to Campbell River in search of whales, dolphins and bears. Our route will cover some of the wild ocean rapids like Hole In the Wall, Yaculta and Arran Rapids. Arrive in Campbell River at 5:00 pm, unload the boat, and say good bye to your new friends!

Private Tour of Victoria

An organized tour is always a great way to see any place you’ve never been to. If you’re coming from Vancouver, there are tour companies that can organize transportation, ferry costs, entrance tickets to various attractions, and accommodations – all while you sit back and enjoy the view. One of our favourite places to visit in Victoria are the infamous Butchart Gardens – with a fantastic history dating back to 1904. Fun fact? The only surviving portion of the original cement factory it was initially built from is the tall chimney of a long vanished kiln, still seen from the Sunken Garden lookout.

Here's a sample itinerary of what you might do on a private tour of Victoria, BC;

  • Scenic ferry crossing the Strait of Georgia
  • Lunch at a local restaurant, celebrating the unique food Vancouver Island has to offer
  • Visiting; BC Parliament Buildings, Thunderbird Prk, Chinatown, Mile 0, and Beacon Hill Park
  • Taking a carriage ride through the inner harbour
  • Visiting the world-famous Butchart Gardens, a National Historic Site of Canada
  • Scenic ferry crossing back to Vancouver to end your day

Looking to visit beautiful British Columbia this summer? Contact us here via our website or by phone call at 604-736-7447!

Please, Signup or Login first to write a comment

I want to go to: