Vancouver Island has so much to offer, and it’s only a short ferry ride away.
If you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend away from Vancouver, check out our list of the top things to do on the Island this summer.
Take a Hike
Vancouver Island is home to some of those most incredible hiking trails in the world. The most renowned of these is the West Coast Trail, which is located in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Described as one of the toughest treks in North America, the trail is a 75km route that covers wild and remote coastal areas, sandy beaches and lush forest. Check out a section of the hike, but be prepared—it’s pure wilderness and hikers must be well equipped before attempting it.
Another stunning place to check out is the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail—part of Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. This hike offers incredible sights, much like those seen on the West Coast Trail. The 49km route is a long stretch but can be broken up into day trips, as there are a lot of points accessible by vehicle throughout it.
If those sound too daunting, there’s always the Wild Pacific Trail which is just down the road from Tofino, in Ucluelet. The trail is broken into three sections which can be done altogether or one at a time. A good one to check out is the Lighthouse Loop, which is a 2.5km coastal trail that gives you incredible views, and whale watching opportunities.
You can’t visit Vancouver Island without seeing some whales in their natural habitat. If you’re lucky, you may be able to catch a glimpse of them while on the ferry ride over. But for guaranteed sightings—book a whale watching tour. Check out Eagle Wing Tours (Victoria) and Ocean Ecoventures Whale Watching (Cowichan Bay).
Immerse yourself in nature by pitching up a tent or staying in an RV at one of Vancouver Island’s beautiful campgrounds. Some popular spots include Bamberton Provincial Park (Mill Bay), Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park (Galiano Island), Sproat Lake Provincial Park (Port Alberni), Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park (Parksville), Goldstream Provincial Park (Victoria), and Strathcona Provincial Park (Campbell River).
There is no shortage of amazing spots for both ocean and lake kayaking on Vancouver Island. Check out the following places for ocean kayaking tours: Johnstone Strait, Clayoquot Sound and the Discovery Islands. Some popular freshwater paddling areas are Cowichan Lake and the 12-lake Sayward Forest Canoe Route.
Hit the Beach
Obviously the Island is filled with tons of incredible sandy beaches, but one place you must check out is Chesterman Beach, situated in Tofino. It was recently voted as one of the top beaches in the world. Whether you want to take a stroll, go for a swim or try out surfing—this beach has endless possibilities.
Spend the Night in a Treehouse
Feel like a kid again by spending the night in a truly unique way. Treehouse accommodations have been popping up all over the province—check out Free Spirit Spheres, located in the enchanted coastal rainforest near Qualicum Bay. The magical spheres are suspended from trees using rope, giving you a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
Check out a Festival
There are plenty of fun events to check out on the Island, especially in the summer. Some popular ones include Rock the Shores (a 3-day music festival in Colwood (southwest of Victoria) from July 22nd to the 24th) and the Great Canadian Beer Festival (over 40 craft breweries join together to celebrate beer in Victoria September 9th to the 10th).
Relax in the Hot Springs
One of the best spots to enjoy hot springs is in Tofino. Hot Springs Cove is a truly magical spot where you can relax and forget the world around you. You can get there by boat (20 mins) or a scenic seaplane flight (20 mins).