Vancouver Island, located in British Columbia, is truly one of the best tourist destinations in Canada. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the island is a paradise for tourists. It is popular for its temperate climate, beautiful landscapes, and biodiversity.
Vancouver Island is a must-visit place on your trip to British Columbia. The island is rich in rainforests, beaches, waterfalls and parks, and abundant wildlife. Here is a list of amazing things to do on Vancouver Island.
10 Best Things to Do in Vancouver Island
1. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Pacific Rim National Park is a must-watch on your visit to Vancouver Island. The park consists of Long Beach, the West Coast Trail, and the Broken Group Islands. It is a package of dense rainforests and sandy beaches. The park is an all-in-one tourist spot where you can go kayaking, wildlife watching, and hiking.
Radar hill provides views that are not just beautiful but enchanting. And the beach at the bottom of the Combers bay trail is picturesque, vast, and empty, a sight one would like to take a screenshot of.
The rainforest trail is popular for providing the view of the tall lush forest from the strong boardwalks, and then the bog trail highlights the effect of marshy ground on stunting vegetation. You could also opt for a bike ride, as the bike trail is parallel to the road.
The park offers wildlife exploration and a great number of exciting activities to tourists. The Long Beach area is the most visited spot in the garden. It is also one of the popular storm-watching destinations in the Vancouver islands.
2. Whale Watching
Vancouver Island is well known for its whale-watching tours. You will be wonderstruck seeing different varieties of whales in great numbers in their natural habitat.
Vancouver Island is home to various whale species, including Killer, Humpback, Minke, and Gray. During their migratory period, the island’s waters turn lively and welcoming for tourists. Great Whale Watching Companies take you to amazing whale-watching areas. Orca whales are very popular among tourists.
On a whale-watching cruise from Victoria, you can explore different kinds of whales and other marine wildlife. People interested in marine life and marine ecosystem can learn about the fascinating facts and get information from onboard naturalist guides about them.
Seating arrangements are available indoors and outdoors to ensure a comfortable trip in any weather. Such cruise tours are an absolute delight for photographers as they would be able to get clear shots from open-air decks, with plenty of room to warm up inside if it’s cool on the water.
Tourist favourite sites along the east coast of Vancouver Island are Nanaimo, Campbell River, and Victoria. Tofino and Ucluelet are popular whale-watching sites along the west side coast of Vancouver Island. The best time to visit the place for whale watching is from May to October.
3. Cape Scott Provincial Park
Cape Scott Provincial Park is situated at the northwestern end of Vancouver Island. It is an amazing tourist spot of more than 55,000 acres.
Cape Scott Provincial Park is a truly magnificent landscape of rugged coastal wilderness located at the north-western tip of Vancouver Island, 563 kilometres from Victoria. Cape Scott covers more than 115 km of scenic ocean frontage, including approximately 30 kilometres of breathtaking remote beaches.
The rugged North Coast Trail is challenging and has a popular 43.1 km hiking track connecting many pristine beaches by stretches of difficult overland passage. The park is spread over an area from Shushartie Bay in the east, westward around Cape Scott and south to San Josef Bay.
Rocky promontories, salt marshes and jagged headlands act as sparkles along the the fine-textured, white-sand beaches. The most outstanding of these beaches, Nels Bight, stretches more than 2,400 metres long and 210 metres wide at low tide and is one of the park’s most significant camping destinations.
Other popular beaches include San Josef Bay, Guise Bay, Experiment Bight, Lowrie Bay and Nissen Bight.
This wilderness park is one of the finest places for camping, hiking, and kayaking. The park also consists of the North Coast Trail and many majestic beaches of about 30 km.
The major attractions here are rainforests, sandy beaches, and natural vegetation. Camping near the 2,400 meters long Nels Bight sea is the best thing you can do in the park.
The park also offers visitors an adventurous hiking experience. Visitors can take a walk through the 47 km long Cape Scott Trail. The trail leads you through wild and dense forest cover to Nels Bight Beach.
4. Juan de Fuca Provincial Park
Visiting Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is yet another best things on Vancouver Island. Situated on the southwest coast, the park comprises beautiful wildlife and isolated beaches, it is one of the largest parks in British Columbia, Canada, with an area of 3,775 acres. Visitors will have a great hiking experience on the 47 km long Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.
On the west coast of southern Vancouver Island, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park offers breathtaking hiking trails, incredible wildlife and marine life sightings, and roaring waves.
The trail takes you through the deep cedar tree forest to many picnic spots. There are several beaches in the sea that are rich in marine life. The sea life ranges from various rare aquatic plants to starfishes and sea lions. Whales, Urchins, and Black bears are also common in the park.
Other major attractions in the park include Botanical Beach, Sombrio Beach, China Beach, Bear Beach, and Mystic Beach. You can reach all these places through the Marine trail. Do visit this splendid park on your trip to Vancouver Island.
5. Explore Port Hardy
Travel to the northwestern region of Vancouver Island to reach Port Hardy. This district municipality in British Columbia is known for scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, fishing, and camping. The place is filled with parks, museums, trails, and beaches.
Carrot Park is one of the major attractions in Port Hardy. It is a nature-friendly park with a waterfront where you can see ferries and different migratory birds. The park offers breathtaking views and a peaceful atmosphere to visitors. It also has a playground for kids.
When visiting a place, it is always recommended to know the history and culture of the site. Port Hardy Museum is the perfect place for you to understand the culture and lifestyle of the locals. The museum exhibits indigenous artworks, ancient historical works, local crafts, and jewelry collections. They also have records of various historical events.
Beaver Harbour Park is yet another beautiful picnic spot in Port Hardy. You can bring your kayaks here and enjoy them in the waters. They also offer boating activities for tourists.
Many companies offer scuba diving and kayaking tours in Port Hardy. Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures is a top-rated company that takes you on kayaking tours in and around the area.
6. Strathcona Provincial Park
Strathcona Provincial Park is one of the most beautiful parks on Vancouver Island. Established in 1911, this is the oldest park in British Columbia. The park is a tourist’s paradise with protected flora and fauna. If you are looking for an adventurous destination, this park is the apt one for you.
The park is a space of over 250,000 hectares consisting of mountain wilderness and forest cover. Mountain peaks here are covered with snow in most months of the year. The Park is an all-in-one package where you can go hiking, skiing, fishing, boating, and mountaineering.
The park has excellent coastal areas and hiking trails. The trails take you to different picnic spots inside the park. The must-watch destinations inside the park include Flower Ridge, Bedwell Lake, Lady Falls, Elk River Trail, and Lake Helen MacKenzie. Augerpoint Beach is yet another easily accessible view inside the park.
7. Take a trip to Victoria
Take a trip to Victoria to feel rejuvenated and thrilled. This city in Vancouver Island is the capital city of British Columbia. The city was rated as one of the best ten cities in North America in 2015.
The Inner Harbour is one of the popular tourist spots in the city. Spending some time in floating homes is an amazing thing that you can do here. The harbour is famous for its restaurants and cafes. Do visit the eateries to enjoy the local cuisine of Victoria.
Visiting the Butchart Gardens of Victoria is yet another awesome thing to do on Vancouver Island. The best time to visit this 55 acres park is in the summers. With more than 900 varieties of flowering plants, the park welcomes over 1 million tourists every year. They also hold music concerts for visitors.
You can explore the beautiful historic centre of Victoria, then raid downtown streets for the flower-lined paths of Butchart Gardens on a half-day, private tour of the city. The journey usually begins with a trip to Fisherman’s Wharf. Then tourists are taken to the famous Parliament Buildings, followed by the the Empress Hotel, Beacon Hill Park, and Craigdarroch Castle, along with the scenic roads through the Vancouver Island countryside area.
There are several departures, which take place throughout the day at regular intervals. This tour of Victoria has a unique system of value as it is priced per vehicle and can be tailored to one’s private group of up to seven people.
8. Hot Springs Cove
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Hot Springs Cove is a top-rated hot spring area, it is situated inside the Maquinna Marine Provincial Park of Tofino. Take a one-hour boat journey from Tofino to reach this magnificent place. You can also opt for a 20 minutes flight journey to the site.
The boardwalk journey to the springs is worth mentioning for the intimate natural experience it provides. Initially, one would find it difficult to determine whether the journey is more spectacular or the destination.
The 1.5-hour boat ride is serene and comfortable, and the local tourist guide generally provides fun facts and other useful information about the area. You can also see some otters; if you are lucky enough, you might spot some eagles too. Otherwise, this part of the trip would be a silent natural beauty to soak in.
The springs’ drawbacks are the quantity and density of the population. It is difficult to get down to the area or maneuver around because of the rocks, but that is to be expected. Water shoes are a must in terms of recommended, and if you have mobility issues, you must be extra careful and aware.
One must also stock some patience if one wants to follow good advice. These places are usually filled with tourists from different parts of the world. Several companies have marketed this expedition as a tourist attraction, and they efficiently guide these tourists there and responsibly, with necessary safety, take them back to the shore. No one should be surprised by the crowd, but nonetheless, it can be nothing less than a worthwhile and memorable experience to cherish in the future.
Hot springs are called hot because their literal meaning backs them. The waters have a good temperature, so you must not be shocked over it or surprised (who would expect a normal temperature when you call it a hot spring?)
There are no artificially constructed railings and safety walkways on the rocky pacific coast. And one must consider the positive result, which is that the area is preserved as it should be – in its natural state. If one wants to control water temperature and enjoy safety features simultaneously, one should plan to go to a swimming pool and not the hot springs cove.
Tofino Hot Spring Tour is a 6 hours journey where you are also offered marine life viewing. These geothermal Hot Springs are a group of hot pools inside the park. The tour operators take you in a cabin cruiser boat to nestle into the hot springs.
A majestic waterfall and a dazzling view of the Pacific Ocean also await you there.
9. Nootka Sound Kayaking
Nootka Sound is the inlet on the Pacific Ocean that separates Nootka Island and Vancouver Island. The Sound is honestly a paradise for kayakers. The calm waters and the rich wildlife make it a favourite kayaking spot.
Paddle through the protected areas of the inlet to dive into the hidden treasures of the site. On your journey, you will see gray whales, sea lions, otters, and cougars.
Sea kayaking tours are arranged from many parts of Vancouver Island to Clayoquot Sound. It is suggested to go with the guides as they understand the sea currents, winds, and geology well. The best time to visit Nootka Sound is during the summers.
Nootka Sound Resort is an original floating resort located in a secluded bay in Nootka Sound, and it is accessible by either float plane or boat. It provides a bewildering sight to tourists, and the resort provides all-inclusive packages for up to 44 guests at a time.
Large groups could also avail the opportunity to book the Resort for their exclusive use. The resort is situated in close proximity to spectacular fishing grounds. These fishing grounds are home to exquisites breeds of fish, like salmon, halibut, lingcod, rockfish and many others. Experienced and highly professional guides provide the best of inshore and offshore fishing or cultural tours. They also provide tours of the marine ecosystem of the area.
After an exciting sport fishing adventure, one catch (yes, you can make a catch from all these fish) is processed as per their specifications in government-certified fish processing facilities. Meanwhile, they can relax with a lip-smacking meal in the uniquely intimate licensed restaurant.
10. Bear Watching in Victoria Quay
Victoria Quay is a park in Port Alberni famous for Bear Watching. Though you can see bears from spring to fall, the best time for you to bear watching is from August to October. You will have an awesome experience watching the bears from a safe distance.
It is better to go for Black Bear Watching tours on low tide days as you can fish from nearby waters. Make sure you visit this place on your next trip to watch bears in their natural habitat.
Do try out the places mentioned above on your next trip to Vancouver Island. You will have a great time. You may check the Destination BC website for travel updates on the Island when you plan the trip.