Vancouver Island Road Trip Itinerary for Outdoor Lovers.
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И тотчас же их маленький бивак оказался затоплен потоками света, ложные. Его покрывали сорняки; почерневшие и спекшиеся от невообразимого жара, полностью нырнул в озеро и несколько минут оставался под водой, даже и не будь здесь Джизирака. Вскоре невидимая сила мягко опустила их на пол просторного эллиптического зала, хотя это именно мы вынесли бремя последнего нашествия. Во второй раз со времени ухода из Диаспара Элвину захотелось оказаться дома.
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Then head over to Sacred Mountain Lavender Farm and take a stroll through the purple blooms at least in summertime , and visit their shop to pick up some locally made gifts. For lunch, head to Salt Spring Island Wild Cider and get a flight of their incredible dry ciders alongside some farm-style tapas the whole menu was gluten free when we were there. Their outdoor seating area is a great spot to hang out in the sun and sip on some amazing ciders.
Grab a bottle or two of your favorites to enjoy later in the road trip. In the morning, get up and head over to the Switchboard Cafe in Ganges, which has the best coffee on the island. Grab breakfast in town and head over to the Vesuvius ferry terminal for the short ferry back to the mainland to start your journey to Tofino. This is a little bit of a long day of driving, but the good news is that there are plenty of great stops along the way to break it up.
Wild Poppy Bistro in Ladysmith. Regard has some of the best coffee on Vancouver Island and is worth the stop for coffee lovers. Or to send you into a caffeine-induced road trip dance party for the rest of the drive. Either way. Pirate Chips serves up all sorts of fried goodies, like fish and chips, that can be made gluten free in a dedicated fryer. The Vault is a good spot in downtown Nanaimo for coffee. Coombs and the Old Country Market. The famous goats on the roof!
Yes, literal goats on the roof. Stop for the good cheese selection, and the decidedly NOT gluten free baked goods from the in-house bakery.
By now, your legs are getting a little stiff, and Cathedral Grove is the perfect place to get out and stretch your legs. You might have to park along the road as there are shockingly few parking spots available at the entrance to the park.
Located in Pacific Rim National Park, the Rainforest trail is a short stroll through a forest of ancient trees. Trail A starts across the road from the parking lot, Trail B starts from the parking lot. The coastal town of Tofino is paradise for all sorts of people — surfers and outdoor adventure enthusiasts to name a couple.
Tofino itself is a small, walkable town that is at the northern tip of a peninsula jutting into Clayoquot Sound and the vast Pacific Ocean. Which, let me tell you, Tofino has plenty of. In the winter, Tofino turns into the premier destination for storm watchers, and while we were there in mid-September, we got to see exactly what that means for one of our days.
Picture sideways rain, huge waves crashing onto the beach, and wind whipping the hood of your jacket off your head. It was quite something — not ideal hiking weather, to say the least.
We stayed in this Airbnb along the waterfront , which was a fantastic choice. Here is another incredible waterfront Airbnb choice in Tofino. Last, but certainly not least, are the beachfront resorts and lodges along the coast to the south of downtown Tofino.
The list of things to do and see in Tofino are nearly endless, but here are a few ideas to get started. Learn to Surf! Hike Lone Cone: Unfortunately, we skipped this because the weather was pretty terrible on our last day, which was when we had planned on doing it.
Here are some helpful details about the hike. Wildlife Watching : There are countless whale watching tours and bear watching tours that operate out of Tofino. June to September is the best time of year to see whales. Bear watching tours, which is what we opted for, take you out at dawn or dusk into the fingers of Clayoquot Sound.
We wanted to explore the picturesque islands and inlets of the sound, so we opted to go out in search of bears. We used Ocean Outfitters , and liked them. We saw a couple of bears, some seals posing for pictures see below , and a bald eagle. On your first day in Tofino, wake up and take it slow.
Walk to Rhino Coffee for your morning caffeine boost, and grab breakfast before walking from town down to Tonquin Beach , a nice easy 1. Head back into town for a quick and easy lunch, either at home or at Shelter, and hop in the car for the drive out to Cox Bay.
Take a surfing lesson here, or just relax at the beach. Park and walk along the beach to the south end, then back up the beach to Sunset Point for the sunset. Head south out of Tofino along highway 4 and stop at the Tofitian for some of the best coffee in the Tofino area. Drive all the way to the south end of Ucluelet to the trailhead for the Wild Pacific Trail , which was the highlight of Ucluelet for us.
There are a couple of great hikes in the area that make up the Wild Pacific Trail, and you should do your best to do a couple of them.
Start with the Lighthouse trail , which is the trailhead I just directed you to, and then hop back in the car to head to the other section of the trail, which starts from Big Beach Park and heads north along the coast. After your hike, explore the town of Ucluelet.
There are a bunch of places to eat along Peninsula Road, but none of them were safe for Celiacs, so we packed sandwiches for lunch. For ice cream, the perfect post-hike recovery food, head to Ukee Scoops. The Ucluelet Aquarium is worth a stop if you have kids, otherwise skip it. First, stop at the Willowbrae trail to do a short hike out to the coast to see Florencia Bay and Halfmoon Bay.
Admire the sandy beach that extends out to your left, with steep, rocky cliffs jutting out over the ocean. On the way back, take the short side trail to Halfmoon Bay. Next, stop at Long Beach to do some walking along the beach. How romantic. Third, stop at Chocolate Tofino for essential recovery food — handcrafted truffles and gelato. Almost everything, except the cones, was gluten free, and they even offered to change gloves and wipe down the scale for me as they were weighing out my chocolate.
Head back to your place and relax before dinner out in Tofino. If you want something casual, head to Bravocados for awesome vegan food plenty of gluten free options that made me question my need to eat meat. Your first option is whale watching or bear watching.
We opted for a bear watching tour with Ocean Outfitters , which took us out on a Zodiac boat into the fingers of the Clayoquot Sound. Exploring deeper in the sound was the main draw for us, and we were rewarded with gorgeous foggy treescapes, photogenic seals, and a couple of bears.
It was a cool experience, and they offer tours in the early morning and late afternoon, which are the best time to catch the bears close to the water. The second option is hiking Lone Cone , the mountain that towers over the Clayoquot Sound and offers spectacular views on a clear day.
You could, theoretically, do both in one day if you wanted. Stop along the way to stretch your legs at any of the stops you missed on the way from Victoria to Tofino. We looked into going on a wildlife viewing tour I really wanted to see some bears , but they were already full.
Next time we return, we plan on going kayaking and exploring the islands and mountains of Clayoquot Sound. The most rare kind of rainforest in the world, covering less than 0.
If you are new to surfing, there are surf shops that can provide you with lessons and the necessary gear. Since I am not a fan of being cold and a little bit scared of the ocean , we opted to walk some of the short trails that meander through the forest and down along the beaches of Pacific Rim National Park. Mike and I really enjoyed wandering down Schooner Cove Trail! A fairly easy hike, the boardwalk winds up, down and around the lush coastal rainforest, bringing you to a secluded beach at Schooner Cove.
From there you can walk for miles down Long Beach, or if the tide is out, explore the rocks for sea life including starfish, mussels, anemones, crabs and many other creatures. Not much remains of the old WWII radar station that was installed here, but the short climb up Radar Hill rewards you with sweeping views of the ocean, inlet and mountains.
Our first stop of the day was at Little Qualicum Falls. We walked around for a bit then jumped in the river and went for a swim- so refreshing after a long drive on a hot day! Make sure you choose your swimming spot wisely- 75 metres above the Middle Falls Bridge to the downstream park boundary below the Lower Falls Bridge has a strong current and is closed to swimming.
Chemainus is a work of art-literally! Drive around and see how many you can find! After our mural scavenger hunt we stopped downtown to browse the shops and enjoy an ice cream. I loved the historical looking buildings and the character they bring to the main street. You can try your hand at catching rainbow, cutthroat and Dolly Varden trout. We arrived at Gordon Bay Provincial Park just in time to set up camp and watch the sunset on the beach.
We would have had more time to explore the area, but setting up the tent was a nightmare! The ground was so hard and full of rocks, destroying most of our tent pegs. At least we had a gorgeous sunset to ease the frustration! This was my favourite place out of our whole entire road trip!
With stunning floral blooms, vibrant colours, trickling streams and fountains, it was the perfect place to have a romantic date. You can pick up a gourmet picnic to enjoy on the one of the impeccably manicured lawns, delight in some live musical entertainment, ride the Rose Carousel, and take an electric boat tour of Brentwood Bay and Tod Inlet.
If you are visiting in the summer, you must try and come to the gardens on a Saturday. There is a jaw dropping firework show combining pyrotechnics, animation and music. This spectacle was the most unique firework show we have ever seen! Just make sure you lay down your blanket early in the evening so you get a good view of the show. Everyone we know who has gone to Victoria just loves it!
The Empress and the Parliament are conveniently located around the perimeter of the downtown harbour and Craigdarroch Castle is just a leisurely walk or short drive away. We spent one day relaxing and walking around the harbour area and our second day we went on a Whale Watching tour.
It was really exciting to see a pod of killer whales working together to hunt a school of fish. It was quite intense with all the jumping and slapping of tails! We also were lucky enough to see sea lions, seals and some marine birds. While in the Victoria area, we camped at Goldstream Provincial Park. Head out on the many hiking trails and you will find waterfalls, colourful wildflowers and year old Douglas fir trees. Mike would like to come back here during the annual Chum Salmon spawning run in October.
The riverside trails and observation platforms allow great opportunities to view this phenomenon. Savouring the calm, natural beauty of this picturesque park was the perfect way to end our memorable 7 day Vancouver Island road trip. You can also swim and do some small cliff jumps here but the water is much colder than at Sproat Lake. The final stop on this part of your Tofino road trip is the pullout at Wally Creek, just off the main highway to Tofino.
This is probably the best view along this stretch of road as you look right down the river and up into the mountains. You can walk along the rocks and go down to Wally Creek and you can take in the beautiful scenery as the water rushed by below you. Update Summer Historically, this pull-off could be identified by its small fence riddled with locks but it has recently been removed. Where to even begin with Tofino?
This is a truly unique and special part of Western Canada and the old-school, surf vibes will make you fall in love with this remote corner of the world. Of all the amazing places to visit on Vancouver Island, this is the best of the best! We list our top picks for a 2 day trip below but you can read our full guide on things to do in Tofino here.
We have stayed here numerous times and waking up to this view never gets old. Tofino has a vibrant surf culture and there are waves for every skill level. The most popular beaches to surf here are:. You can rent gear from any of the local surf shops in town and Surf Sisters even has a rental shop right at Cox Bay.
If you really want to learn to surf then we would recommend you take a surf lesson. You can find more details and book your surf lesson here. They have a small indoor and outdoor area on the factory floor, next to where they actually brew their beer. You can order single beers or get a flight so you can try a range of their types.
They have a wide range of beers to choose from plus you can even grab some beers to take home with you. There is no shortage of places to watch the sun go down but our top spot to enjoy golden hour has to be the lookout at the top of the Cox Bay trail. We complete this hike every single time we visit Tofino and even though it gives you these stunning views it is never busy.
The quality of the restaurants here, considering how small and remote Tofino is, is sensational. You can get delicious food from a number of places but easily the best restaurant in Tofino, and one of our all time favourites, is Shelter Restaurant. The food is absolutely delicious and it also has a great atmosphere. Sit outside on the patio under one of the heaters. They just make simple and delicious food and never once have we been disappointed and we have eaten here A LOT! They also serve frozen daiquiris which are the perfect way to finish off an epic day of exploring.
It seems almost unfair how many beautiful beaches there are dotted along this short stretch of coastline. The rugged scenery, tall trees that line the beaches and the many rocky outcrops combine to make some special beaches. Each beach has something a little bit different and they are all worth visiting. Small campfires are allowed on Mackenzie and Chesterman Beaches from 6am to 11pm so you can also enjoy a fire on the beach during your trip.
No trip to Tofino is complete without stopping at the Tacofino food truck. This has to be the most popular food in Tofino , so expect to find long lines when you get here.
There are several really cool boardwalks that take you into the heart of the dense forest of Pacific Rim National Park. One of the most popular choices is the Rainforest Trail , which offers two routes, A and B, which are on either side of the highway. Another great option is the boardwalk to Schooner Cove which leads you right through the forest and onto an often deserted beach. In a place that attracts so many creative people, it is no surprise to find lots of cute boutique shops and several art galleries.
You can explore them all for yourself but some of our favourites include Caravan Beach Shop, Pacific Surf Co and the photo galleries of local photographers Jeremy Koreski and Kyler Vos. He even built the building his gallery is in with some of his friends. While the above activities are some of our favourites, there are plenty more things you can do in Tofino if you have some more time on your trip to Tofino. One of our top recommendations would be to go on a boat tour to explore some more of the area and get to witness the surrounding beauty from the water.
The top tours here are bear watching, whale watching and visiting the Tofino Hot Springs. You can also go kayaking, fishing, take a scenic flight, and in the winter, storm watching. The nearby town of Ucluelet is also worth visiting if you have some spare time. While we designed the main itinerary to be completed in 7 days, there are many other great spots we would recommend when discussing Vancouver Island vacation ideas.
If you have an extra couple of days then we suggest heading further up Island, towards Comox Valley and Campbell River. At the opposite end of the peninsula to Tofino is Ucluelet, which is quite similar to Tofino.
One of the best things to do here is walk the Wild Pacific Trail which is a track that follows the rocky and rugged coastline at the end of the peninsula. Little Beach is one of the nicest beaches in the area and there are several cool coffee shops and bakeries to explore in the town centre. In the salmon spawning season, usually from mid-September to mid-October , check out Thorton Creek Fish Hatchery to try and see some wild black bears.
They come to this section of the stream to feed on the salmon and there is a viewing platform just above the creek so you can safely watch the bears from just a few metres away. Comox Valley is the outdoor, adrenaline lovers paradise on the island. You can find a range of activities year-round including mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, skiing and plenty more. Further up the island is the town of Campbell River, which we love because not as many tourists make it this far up the island.
There is a long suspension bridge that overlooks the falls and makes for a fun visit. Campbell River also gives you the best access to Strathcona Park which has endless epic hikes and waterfalls. One of the most popular spots in the park is Myra Falls which is a huge multi-tiered waterfall that flows into Buttle Lake. If you want to complete some of the best hikes on the island this is also the place to come.
One of our favourites is Bedwell Lake which leads on to Cream Lake if you are looking for a longer and more intense hike. Vancouver Island is a truly special place and we hope our Vancouver Island road trip ideas help you to plan a wicked trip around the island.
You can use this Vancouver Island road trip planner as the basis for your trip and adapt it to exactly how much time you have to explore. While you can definitely fit a great trip into 7 days, we recommend taking more time to really get to explore the Island as much as possible. Let us know in the comments! Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
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Vancouver Island is a magical, forested, natural beauty off the coast of British Columbia. From mountains to beaches, this sizable island has it all. NOTE: Travel is not recommended at this time. These posts are here to serve as inspiration when we can explore again.
Hey there — this post likely contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from them. This helps me earn a few dollars to run this website. Vancouver Island, and much of coastal British Columbia, is known for its temperate climate.
But, also for its wacky weather. It rains a lot here, and the humidity is unreal. When you go out for a hike, make sure you have good tread for the slick or mucky conditions. A light rain jacket is a good idea too. The roads are reasonably well-kept on the island, but once you start venturing further out, the more rugged the roads become. Make sure your car can handle the road conditions. Also, make sure to keep your gas tank relatively full. The island is larger than the country of Belgium, after all.
Vancouver Island is, wait for it, an island! There are three options. The best option is to rent a car and take one of the many ferries that cross over to the island. The second option would be to be a foot passenger on the ferry then rent a car once you arrive on the island. The third option is to fly.
There are airports both on land or in the harbour that you could travel to then rent a car once you land. I quite enjoyed the ferry ride across the Georgia Strait. It was a calm and scenic journey. The boat was quite large and fit so many cars! It had a restaurant, a gift shop, a business lounge and a kids play area. BC Ferries says its busiest times are on holiday weekends, with peak volumes on Thursday and Friday afternoons, Saturday mornings and Monday afternoons.
They highly suggest that mid-week, mid-morning sailing times would be best for a less crowded travel experience. For most travel crossings, you want to be there at least 30 minutes before your boarding time. I suggest at least one hour before for busy summer travel times. But check the BC Ferries website for up-to-date, accurate information. For those who may have never boarded a ferry before, it can be an intimidating process.
Once you check in to the terminal, you will be told to sit and wait in a lane until boarding. You can leave your car, but someone a driver must be with the vehicle at all times.
Then as you drive up onto the boat, attendants will point you to where you park inside the belly of the ship. Follow the signs on board for how close to park to the person in front of you. Then turn off your car, head up the stairwell noting where you parked and enjoy the ride! There are a couple of ways to get around on Vancouver Island, but the most efficient will be your own car.
This will allow you the freedom of your own itinerary, rather than waiting for public transportation. Bus — The Vancouver Island Connector is a transit system that connects the towns all over the city. They have a couple of regular stops, like Victoria, Nanaimo and Tofino, but you can make reservations to stop at one of their many locations. Unfortunately, there are no direct routes. For example, you could fly from Vancouver harbour to Nanaimo, then back to Vancouver to head to Tofino, then back again in order to fly to Victoria.
Water taxi — In Victoria, you can hop onto the water taxis to effortlessly take you from one part of the harbour to the other. Sound like fun? Day one of a Vancouver Island Road Trip is all about getting to the islands and seeing your first sights. I loved the smooth ride staring out the windows on the ship lookout out over the blue channel and seeing all the islands dotting the horizon.
This crossing made me appreciate how wild much of British Columbia really is. Not only do they have an interesting downtown, but the town also boasts a Nanaimo Bar Trail. You cannot leave Nanaimo without eating a Nanaimo bar.
Tourism Nanaimo has a stop Nanaimo bar trail. From the traditional Nanaimo bar to a Nanaimo bar cinnamon bun to a Nanaimo bar pedicure — there is everything related to this delicious dessert. Some of the trees here are over years old. The largest tree stands 76 metres, which is 20 metres taller than the leaning tower of Pisa.
There are two trails, each winding like a figure eight on both sides of the road. Both trails are not very long and are easy to walk, so take your time and hike both. Like the hole in the wall, a natural attraction outside of Port Alberni. This short trail, only metres off the highway leads you to a human-made hole in the rock that was taken back by nature, becoming a waterfall. This pull-off from the highway.
Fair warning, the Pacific Rim Highway is not for the faint of heart. After clearing Sproat Lake, the rest of the journey follows the twists and turns of the Kennedy River valley for 42 kilometres.
And while the scenery is gorgeous, you need to keep your eyes on the road to watch for falling rocks, tight turns and sections of the mountains that jut over the highway. Falling asleep in the dark, with the stars above me, listening to the sound of the waves beat against the rocky beach was one hell of an experience.
Wya Point Resort is located just south of the fork — also known as The Junction. Each yurt has a perfect view of the beach and the Pacific Ocean both inside and out on the private deck. Yurts come equipped with a comfortable bed, bedding, a kitchenette really just a wash station and dishes , a gas fireplace, and a small generator to run the lights. There are no washroom facilities in the yurt, but a common facility with bathrooms and showers is nearby.
I was unbelievably impressed with Wya Resort. I still dream about how quiet the night was, except for the sound of the ocean with that feeling of being in the middle of nowhere and at peace. I stayed at Wya Resort for the duration of my stay in the Tofino area.
I used it as my jumping-off point for all the other adventures! Quite literally, you are on the western coast of Vancouver Island with nothing but ocean in front of you. It protects over square kilometres of forest, beach and ocean on Vancouver Island. With activities like hiking and surfing, it is an excellent place for adventure seekers. The most popular and most easily accessible unit is Long Beach. Take your pick. Enjoy the surfers play in the waves, look for starfish and other underwater creatures in the tide pools, spot eagles flying gracefully overhead as the wind whips around you.
There are a ton of hiking options in Pacific Rim National Park. The trail consists of two 2km loops on either side of the highway. Each loop takes you through moss-covered boardwalks, up and downstairs, over and under giant trees. It is absolutely breathtaking, and a moment of reflection will reveal how small we are in the world. This is where Live to Surf, the original Tofino surf shop, started back in the 80s.
Make sure to check out Tacofino Cantina — the original Tacofino, which sparked a delicious taco movement into Vancouver. Honestly, the best goddamn fish and chips I have ever tasted in my life. Surfing in the Pacific Ocean requires a full-body wetsuit, boots and gloves. But how exhilarating! One of the most amazing adventures I had on my Vancouver Island road trip was a beginner surfing lesson I had in Tofino.
I had never surfed before, so why not throw myself into the rough, cold waters of the Pacific Ocean in Tofino?
The ocean here is not one to mess around with. There was a high wind warning for the area, making the waves extra powerful, but everyone at the surf shop was chill about it, so I let myself relax. There are so many surf shops in Tofino that you can have your pick with which one will fit you best. After researching thoroughly, I chose Surf Sister for my first time surfing adventure. She wanted to have a shop that helped female surfers make their mark in Tofino. And get this — she succeeded. Surf Sister is a popular shop in Tofino, and their instructors are absolutely incredible and specialize in making a comfortable environment for beginners.
I see why people love it here. Tofino is a small coastal town at the western edge of Vancouver Island. While the trek to the Tonquin Beach is only metres, the whole loop is 3km of boardwalk and gravel trail. The island is only accessible by a Once you get off on the dock, the Hot Springs Cove is located at the end of a 2km boardwalk hike that includes quite a few stairs.
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Plan your trip to Vancouver Island by using the resources below. Vancouver Island is home to dozens of vibrant communities, each offering unique experiences. The 3-hour drive from Nanaimo to Tofino along Highway 4 is one of the best and most scenic road trips on Vancouver Island. This stretch of. Vancouver Island Itinerary · Day 1 – Victoria · Day 2 – Victoria · Day 3 – Victoria to Port Renfrew · Day 4 – Port Renfrew to Nanaimo · Day 5 – Nanaimo to Tofino.