On the western coast of Canada, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Powell River, Vancouver Island is home to mile after protected mile of Pacific Northwest paradise. The best way to experience this incredible natural treasure trove is to get outside and go exploring.
Hiking trails wind through the temperate rainforest and along the rocky coastline in Pacific Rim National Park and Cape Scott Provincial Park. To explore sandy beaches, coves and tide pools, spend some time in Rathtrevor Provincial Park or take a boat out onto the blue waters of Tribune Bay.
For a truly exhilarating experience, join the growing numbers of visitors who come here for storm watching opportunities in the Pacific Rim. Many established storm-watching outfitters can provide rain gear and a safe location from which to watch dramatic thunderstorms.
No matter which parks and trails you choose, Vancouver will keep you busy if you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, rock climbing, bird watching, or cave exploration.
Here are a few additional suggestions for your trip:
- Go whale watching: It's almost impossible not to see whales around Vancouver. A guided boat excursion can take you to the best places to spot orcas, humpbacks, minkes and greys.
- Visit the U'Mista Cultural Center: Located in Alert Bay, the Cultural Center is an excellent place to learn more about the First Nations people who predate Europeans in this area by thousands of years.
- Take a tour of the Bastion: This strange octagonal building was constructed in 1852 with notched squared timbers that have been fitted together without nails.
- Explore Cathedral Grove: The western red cedars and Douglas firs of Cathedral Grove are some of the oldest in the world. They are magnificent representations of the temperate rainforest.
- Visit Fort Rod Hill: Fort Rod Hill is a restored artillery fort built to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base. The Fisgard Lighthouse on the site was the first lighthouse on the Canadian west coast.
- Visit the Shaw Ocean Discovery Center: Learn more about the marine life of the Gulf Islands, including jellies, rockfish, octopus and even sea stars and sea urchins in touch pools.
No matter what time of year you arrive on Vancouver Island, you'll have no trouble finding a perfect place to stay. Book a cozy cabin with a fireplace, or if you intend to spend as much time as possible out on the water, rent a lakeside summer house or ocean villa a few steps away from the beach.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
New to FlipKey?
FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 300,000 homes and rooms around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.
Find the vacation rental perfect for you. Learn how.