Best Places To See On Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is a beautiful place to visit if you're traveling with kids, or teens or just looking to get away from the city or city life. Vancouver Island has some great places to see and do that not only allow you to enjoy nature but also give you plenty of activities to complete. There are tons of things to do on Vancouver Island, but it can be hard to choose where to go first! We've narrowed down our favorite destinations in detail for travelers and locals alike.

Top 7 places you must visit while your Vancouver Island visit:

Visit Victoria

Since it serves as the island's primary entry point, Victoria is a fantastic first stop for tourists. The capital of British Columbia, with its stunning views of the Olympic Mountains in Washington state across the Juan de Fuca Strait, is widely considered to be one of the world's most attractive urban areas.

Many of the city's most popular attractions and entertainment venues can be found in the picturesque Inner Harbour. One of Victoria's most recognizably iconic landmarks, the Fairmont Empress hotel sits on a bluff above the Inner Harbour. In the years since its construction in 1908, this hotel has played host to numerous heads of state on official visits. Victoria's High Tea at the Empress has become a favorite tourist activity, and with good reason. Guests can have tea, scones, sandwiches, and sweets in a beautiful, historic salon outfitted with ornate furnishings.

The Parliament Buildings are another landmark on the Inner Harbour. They are much more spectacular when lit up at night. The Royal BC Museum, which can be found between the Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel, is another must-see. It showcases the natural and human history of the province.

See Vancouver Island's Old-Growth Forests

A visit to the old-growth forests of Vancouver Island is a must for any environmentalist. There are still a few patches of unspoiled forest on the island, containing giant trees that are up to 800 years old. Tofino, Port Renfrew, and the region known as Cathedral Grove are some of the best spots to witness these massive trees.

Cathedral Grove is located within MacMillan Provincial Park, not far from Port Alberni. Many people come to this area since it is renowned for its ancient trees. Stopping by here is convenient en route to Tofino. Some of the Douglas firs in Cathedral Grove are as old as 800 years, standing 75 meters tall and as wide as nine meters.

There's a pullout on the side of the Alberni Highway (Hwy 4) where you may park, and a nice, flat, and easy walking track that leads you through the grove. Western red cedar trees of a certain age can also be seen in the park.

Eden Grove, Big Lonely Doug, and Avatar Grove are located in Port Renfrew, around two hours outside of Victoria. This is a great day excursion for anyone interested in seeing the old-growth rainforest. Traveling up Highway 14, via Sooke and the Jordan River, on a winding route is an enjoyable way to take in the sights.

Eden Grove, Big Lonely Doug, and Avatar Grove are among the most well-known attractions in the neighborhood, and they're all open to visitors at no cost. Big Lonely Doug and Eden Grove are the farthest north, located 18 kilometers from Port Renfrew.

On Vancouver Island, Eden Grove is the most impressive old-growth forest that tourists can visit alone. Cathedral Grove and Tofino get a lot more tourists, but this spot is far superior. If you're looking for peace & quiet among the woods, this is the place to go.

To further explore the Vancouver Island rainforest and its towering trees, visit Pacific Rim National Park, located just outside the popular tourist destination of Tofino. To get the most out of Pacific Rim National Park, hikers should head to the Rainforest Trail. There are two loops, each one kilometer long, that take you past trees that are hundreds of years old. You can even relax in one of the park's Adirondack chairs and take in the sights and sounds of nature while staring up at one of these works of art.

Enjoy a Getaway to Tofino

Tofino, a little hamlet on Vancouver Island's west coast, is a crowning achievement. This small fishing town on Vancouver Island is a popular tourist attraction due to its location on Claoquot Sound and its proximity to old-growth forests and endless beaches. People from all over the world come here to surf all through the year, making it the most popular surfing spot in Canada.

Even if you're not into surfing, the calm of the off-season in Tofino makes it a great place to observe the massive waves that roll in from the Pacific Ocean between November and February.

Pacific Rim National Park is a stunning wilderness area not far from Tofino that is home to some of the region's greatest hiking trails and camping spots. Some of the oldest trees in all of Canada may be found here, and they are all cedars. Tofino is also home to the 16-kilometer-long Long Beach that stretches down the coast.

Tofino Harborfront
Tofino is one of the oldest villages on the West Coast and is located about 42 kilometers north of the small town of Ucluelet. Although it has gained a lot of attention, it has stayed quite modest in size. You may find surf shops, tourist shops, restaurants, and motels in town. Several luxurious hotels and resorts with breathtaking ocean views may be found nearby. Just south of town is the Wild Pacific Trail, one of the island's top hikes.

Walk/Surf/Relax at Pacific-Rim National Park & Long-Beach

The coastline between Tofino and Ucluelet is protected as part of Pacific Rim National Park. The wild and rough natural beauty of Vancouver Island is revealed by its rainforest of ancient cedars and shoreline of beaches and rocky headlands.

In Pacific Rim National Park, you may find miles of beautiful, soft-sand beaches. People from all over the world visit the 16-kilometer stretch of Long Beach to walk, beach comb, surf the large waves, and watch the sunset. During the spring and fall, it is not uncommon to see whales swimming offshore.

Surfers near Long Beach's Incinerator Rock
In the fall and winter, storm watching has become a popular activity, drawing photographers and sightseers to the park to witness the massive waves crashing against the coast. Some of the beaches have massive mounds of driftwood that attest to the ferocity of the ocean waves.

Tour Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens is one of the best places to visit on Vancouver Island if you have any interest in gardening at all. These beautiful gardens, located in an abandoned quarry south of Victoria, are open all year and feature a variety of plants, trees, walkways, and resting areas.

The gardens have been in the works for over a century, having been started in 1904 by Jennie Butchart. There is a musical fireworks display every Saturday night, and the grounds are lit up with imaginative lighting in the evening. At Butchart Gardens, there are evening concerts every night in July and August.

The transition between spring and fall is marked by especially beautiful botanical displays. The gardens become a winter wonderland, complete with a dazzling display of Christmas lights and decorations and a variety of holiday-themed activities, including ice skating on an outdoor rink.

See Goats at the very Old Country Market, Coombs

Goats live atop the Old Country Market, making it one of the most distinctive and long-running destinations on Vancouver Island. For almost 30 years, goats have been joyfully posing for shots as they eat blissfully on the sod roof. Although summer is the only time to see the goats, the region is visited frequently throughout the year.

The Old Country Market is a popular tourist destination and a fun day trip for families in the Parksville and Qualicum areas. You may also find restaurants, a surf store, a garden center, a gift shop, a fruit and vegetable market, and a nursery all within walking distance of where the goats are kept.

Hike the Trails on Vancouver Island

When it comes to hiking, Vancouver Island is a dream come true. The trails here are well-maintained despite being in a remote location, and they have the kind of breathtaking scenery, opportunities to view wildlife, and peace that are hard to come by in the more well-known national parks and hiking hotspots. The West Coast Trail is the most well-known route, although it provides far more of a challenge than the average hiker is looking for. The Wild Pacific Trail is more cost-effective and accessible at all times of the year. But from one end of Vancouver Island to the other, you may discover great trails.

Port Renfrew is well-known as a hiking destination on Vancouver Island. Starting here, you can go on the 47-kilometer Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, or choose from a variety of shorter walks, like a day-long trek out to Botany Bay or Botanical Beach. The opposite end of the Juan de Fuca Trail is at China Beach, which is located on the road from Victoria to Port Renfrew through Sooke. Mystic Beach's waterfalls are just a couple kilometers down the trail from here. From Victoria, you may undertake this hike in a day.

The unpopulated northern parts of Vancouver Island also offer excellent trekking opportunities. Strathcona Provincial Park is located near Campbell River, while Cape Scott Provincial Park is located at the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. The trails in both of these areas are worth exploring.

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