I have visited Vancouver Island countless times over the years and yet I discover something new each time I visit. If I had 6 months to explore, I still wouldn’t be able to see and do everything on my list!
There are many accommodation options varying in cost, including beautiful campsites with ocean views, to unique sphere-shaped hotel rooms to oceanside resorts. Whatever you choose, here’s a small selection of things to see and do on Vancouver Island.
From the spectacular Sunken Gardens to the stunning fountain, you’ll find a gardener’s paradise at the Butchart Gardens near Victoria, BC. Nothing beats the garden goals of this beautiful property in existence for over 100 years. I’ve been visiting for nearly 30 years and it gets better every year.
High Tea at the Empress Hotel
There are many things to do and see in Victoria but high tea, or afternoon tea, at the Fairmont Empress Hotel is highly recommended.
To complement our house-made signature Empress scones, pastries, clotted creams and strawberry preserves with fresh lavender from our rooftop herb garden, are 21 of the finest loose leafs teas available.
The Kinsol Trestle, over the Koksilah River, is one of the tallest free-standing timber rail trestle structures in the world. This spectacular bridge is accessible by a wide gravel trail and an easy walk for all ages and fitness levels.
Parksville Beach and Sand Sculptures
One of my favourite places on Vancouver Island is the beach in Parksville. There’s a fun mini-golf nearby, beaches, hiking, and campgrounds and motels as well. You have to see the sand sculpting competition starting mid-July! So much to explore — the perfect home base for a summer vacay!
Goats on the Roof
On your drive up Island, make sure to stop in Coombs just past Parksville, and see the goats on the roof at the Old Country Market…often called just “Goats on the Roof”. This market is more than just a country market, there’s everything you can think of from fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, to home decor… and of course goats!
BC Seafood Festival
In the Courtenay/Comox region of Vancouver Island is one of the best celebrations of Canadian West Coast seafood. in mid-June you can sample delicious creations by well-known chefs. Find out more here.
Wine & Distillery Tours
The Comox Valley has a number of wineries and distilleries…two I visited are 40 Knots Vineyard & Estate WInery and Wayward Distillation House. It’s not mystery that my favourite wine at 40 Knots is the Rosé, and at Wayward…the gin for my a refreshing gin and tonic.
Sea Stacks, Caves, and Tidal Pools
If you drive to the very top of Vancouver Island to Cape Scott Provincial Park, you can hike in to San Josef Bay and see this spectacular sight! It is a bit of a challenge to drive into this park along 70 kms of active logging roads, but once you arrive you can camp at the trailhead, or make this an all-day adventure returning to your accommodation choice.
The hike in to San Josef Bay is on a family-friendly trail approximately 2.5 kms long and easily accessible for strollers and wagons. The beautiful white beach is 2 kms long and not over-crowded. As always in wilderness parks, beware of wildlife.
Bear Watching in Tofino
When in Tofino you must go bear watching! There are a number of companies that will take you bear watching. We chose Clayoquot Wild for this adventure. For more things to do in Tofino, visit my post about this area.
Accommodations sell out quickly, especially in the Tofino area, so click the map below to check availability!
I’ve barely touched on the many things to see and do on Vancouver Island. What are some of your favourite things to do and places to visit on Vancouver Island? Comment below and I’ll check them out next time I’m on the Island!