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.
The island is rich in rainforests, beaches, waterfalls and parks, and abundant wildlife. Vancouver Island is a must-visit place on your trip to British Columbia. 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.
The park offers wildlife exploration and a great number of exciting activities to the tourists. The Long Beach area is the most visited spot in the park. 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. The island is home to various whale species, including Killer whales, Humpback whales, Minke whales, and Gray whales. During their migratory period, the waters of the island turn lively and welcoming for the tourists.
There are great Whale Watching Companies that take you to amazing whale watching areas. Favorite sites along the east coast of the Island are Nanaimo, Campbell River, and Victoria. Tofino and Ucluelet are the popular whale-watching sites along the west coasts 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. 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 kilometers.
The rainforests, sandy beaches, and natural vegetation are the major attractions here. Camping near the 2,400 meters long Nels Bight sea is the best thing you can do in the park.
Visitors can take a walk through the 47 km long Cape Scott Trail. The trail leads you through wild and dense forest cover to the Nels Bight Beach. The park also offers visitors an adventurous hiking experience.
4. Juan de Fuca Provincial Park
Visiting Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is yet another best thing to do 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, with an area of 3,775 acres. Visitors will have a great hiking experience on the 47 km long Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.
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 a variety of rare marine 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 the visitors. It also has a playground for kids.
When visiting a place, it is always recommended to know the history and culture of the place. 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 the tourists.
There are many companies that offer scuba diving and kayaking tours in Port Hardy. Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures is one of the top-rated companies that take 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 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 the 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 10 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 harbor 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 the visitors.
Other popular attractions of the city include Craigdarroch castle, Cowichan Valley, and Victoria Butterfly Garden. Do add Victoria to your trip to Vancouver Island.
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 place.
These geothermal Hot Springs are a group of hot pools inside the park. Tofino Hot Spring Tour is a 6 hours journey where you are also offered marine life viewing. 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 favorite kayaking spot.
Paddle through the protected areas of the inlet to dive into the hidden treasures of the area. You will get to see gray whales, sea lions, otters, and cougars on your journey.
There are sea kayaking tours arranged from many parts of Vancouver Island to Nootka Sound. It is suggested to go with the guides as they have a good understanding of the sea currents, winds and the geology of the place. The best time to visit Nootka Sound is during the summers.
10. Bear Watching in Victoria Quay
Victoria Quay is a park in Port Alberni famous for Bear Watching. You will have an awesome experience watching the bears from a safe distance. Though you can see bears from spring to fall, the best time for you to bear watching is from August to October.
It is better to go for Black Bear Watching tours on low tide days as you can see them fishing from the 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.