Vancouver Island is a heady blend of stunning landscapes, lush rainforests and unspoiled coastlines which makes for a superb eco adventure and activities destination.
Here on Vancouver Island you can go trekking, cycling, climbing, fishing, whale watching, bungee jumping and skiing. Water babies will be in their element too with windsurfing, kayaking, kite boarding and river rafting on offer as well as opportunities for canoeing, power boating, water-skiing and even surfing. There’s plenty of family-friendly activities with designated parklands and adults are well catered for too with good shopping facilities, spas, wellbeing centers and quality restaurants. Wildlife enthusiasts will also be in their element too as you can go killer whale spotting!
Situated on the west coast of Canada, Vancouver Island is easily accessible being just a 45 minute flight from Seattle, USA and a 20 minute flight from Vancouver. We combined our island trip with a Bella Coola Valley Cruise in British Columbia.
Vancouver Island is home to some of the mildest climates in Canada, making it possible to engage in pretty much any activity year round. You can golf or cycle in December or kayak in February. Yet, with snow at higher elevations, skiing turns the mountains into alpine playgrounds.
If you’re a storm chaser, explore the Pacific Rim. The wild winter weather promises to never disappoint. Neither will our moderate climates. Balmy summer, lazy spring and the gorgeous colours of fall allow for plenty of boating or relaxing on the beach.
Whale watching is a popular activity where you can spot huge grey whales and killer whale pods! Vancouver Island is home to a number of fun, responsible tour companies that will not only give you an exciting and memorable adventure but will ensure safety and protection. You can even view sea life kayaking on the Johnstone Strait and you can snorkel with the wild salmon.
You’ll get a kick out of the nature tours. View grizzly bears and Vancouver Island black bears in their natural habitats as shown in the video above. Accompanied by experienced wildlife biologists, learn about the history of these majestic creatures, as well as dolphins, seals and eagles. Birders are well catered for too, with over 200 species here.
With hiking, bungee jumping, cycling, culture and more, Vancouver Island is a treasure trove of adventure. The WildPlay Elements Park will keep kids and adults alike squealing as they navigate wobbly bridges, zip lines, hanging nets and other giggle-inducing obstacles. Take the bungee jump or g-force King Swing. If you dare!
Mount Washington is filled with facilities, festivities and accommodations. There are a multitude of dining and shopping options, cultural attractions and activities. All are less than an hour’s travel of the mountain. It’s a perfect getaway for families, reunions, a wedding or business retreat. It’s an all-season alpine, filled with rugged beauty. The mile high terrains are extraordinary for snowboarding and skiing.
Chemainus is a popular walking site. There’s not only golf and shopping but an amazing series of painted murals throughout the town.
Events and Festivals
Vancouver Island is host to great festivals such as;
Chemainus Theatre Festival
It’s called a celebration of the senses. Make it a night of great entertainment: Browse a gallery of British Columbia artisans; take advantage of packages that include dinner, accommodations and breakfast buffet; be regaled by live music in the Playbill Dining Room. It’s a unique experience in gorgeous surroundings.
Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition
This is an exciting, world class competition. Master sculptors travel from around the globe to take part in this stunning, remarkable contest, all vying for a coveted spot in the World Championship of Sand Sculpting. It’s not just a competition. It’s an unforgettable exhibition of cutting edge art for spectators.
For three days every July, the sleepy town of Ucluelet’s streets becomes packed with festivities for the entire family to enjoy: live music, logger sports, beer gardens (for the parents, of course) and more fun than you’ll get around to in three days.
Wine and Cuisine
Canadians pride themselves on diverse and well regarded culinary destinations. Vancouver Island is home to internationally praised wine, meats, spirits, seafood, produce and much, much more. You can take winery tours or cooking classes. Go on a mushroom hunt. Visit gourmet cheese makers.
Or just sit in one of the many fine restaurants, slip your shoes off and take part in a mouth-watering meal. Take a cruise, enjoying breath taking landscapes while having a magnificent gourmet dinner. The Wickaninnish Restaurant has superb dining and the most distracting ocean front view. It’s only one of many one-of-a-kind experiences Vancouver Island has to offer.
By Julie Bowman