Rugged mountain peaks, pristine waterways, vast swathes of forest, and rocky stretches of dramatic coastline are just some of the amazing landscape features that can be found on Vancouver Island. From the more populated areas in the south to the wild and remote north, you will never find yourself more than a stone’s throw away from your next outdoor excursion.
Tucked away in Canada’s southwest corner, Vancouver Island presents an almost limitless supply of adventure opportunities. With roughly 3400 kilometres of coastline, 100 lakes, and sprawling inlets, the region is primed for recreational water activities such as surfing, paddleboarding, and canoeing. Heading further inland, the mountainous interior and dense forests provide another wealth of outdoor opportunities, whether you want to hike, ski, climb, or bike.
With such an amazing diversity in both the landscape and number of outdoor opportunities, it is of little wonder why the island is viewed as an oasis for outdoor enthusiasts. There are plenty of spectacular Vancouver Island adventures to explore, but to get you started we’ve decided to highlight a few of our favourites below:
Traverse the Mountains of Strathcona Provincial Park
For anyone planning to visit Vancouver Island to take advantage of its stunning landscape, you absolutely need to make a point to explore at least a portion of Strathcona Provincial Park. Lovingly referred to as the “Island Alps”, you will find a beautiful landscape characterized by rugged mountain peaks and countless lakes. Pristine, untouched, and wild, Strathcona is a great place to explore if you are looking to get away from the crowds and want to reconnect with the outdoors – and it doesn’t hurt that there are plenty of amazing hiking routes to be discovered!
Paddle the Waterways Near Port Alberni
Situated in the south central part of Vancouver Island, Port Alberni can be found at the end of the lengthy Alberni Inlet, and is close in proximity to a number of other waterways like Sproat Lake, the Great Central Lake, Cameron Lake, and Horne Lake. This makes it an excellent destination if you are planning any type of recreational activities on the water, whether it be by canoe, kayak, boat, or paddleboard.
Visit the Remote North of the Island
As you head north across Vancouver Island, you will begin to take notice of the remote nature of this beautiful little corner of B.C. From the beautiful coastal scenery of Cape Scott Provincial Park to bear-watching opportunities near Campbell River or Telegraph Cove, the main highlights of this region are centred around its diversity of flora, fauna, and geography. For anyone who loves ecotourism, this is one hotspot that you will certainly want to check out.
Surf the West Coast
Winding your way west across the island, you will inevitably end up in the laid back town of Tofino, which boasts arguably the best surfing in Canada. It can sometimes get a bit busy with tourists, but you will be hard pressed to find a stretch of coastline more scenic than what you will experience in Tofino. Epic waves, rainforest hikes, and the vibrant terrain of Pacific Rim National Park await in this adventurer’s paradise. If you are after equal parts excitement and relaxation, check out this amazing yoga and surf retreat that highlights the unique atmosphere that encompasses Tofino.
Plan Your Vancouver Island Adventure
No matter what type of outdoor experience you are after, Vancouver Island has an exciting adventure to match. The relatively small size and pristine wilderness that can be found there make it an ideal destination whether you have only a few days to visit or are planning a month-long island tour. With so many amazing experiences available, there’s no reason to put off an exciting Vancouver Island adventure, so what are you waiting for?!As an Amazon Associate, Icy Canada earns from qualifying purchases.