Kayaking around Quadra Island

(Destination BC/Graeme Owsianski photo)

Trip Ideas

Outdoor Adventures on Vancouver Island

Big trees. Big mountains. Big waves. Vancouver Island has it all and boasts some of the most stunning natural environments on Earth. From the towering forests of the West Coast Trail to the summer swells of Long Beach, it offers a range of super-sized outdoor adventures that you can’t find anywhere else.

Things to Do

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Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

In Long Beach, run barefoot through the sand, surf the waves, stroll along a boardwalk trail, and camp under the canopy of the rainforest. At the Kwisitis Visitor Centre discover the rich history and vibrant traditions of the Nuu-chah-nulth people...
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Destination BC/Graeme Owsianski

Beaches in the Pacific Rim

The west coast of Vancouver Island, and in particular the area around Tofino and Ucluelet, is home to a string of pristine beaches that look out over the open Pacific Ocean. These long, sandy stretches are perfect for beachcombing or for just relaxing in the sand, and the ocean swells make for some of the best surfing around. Be sure to check out some of the most popular spots, including Chesterman, Cox Bay and Long beaches.

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(Destination British Columbia photo)

Hiking the West Coast Trail

Test your mettle on the West Coast Trail. This iconic wilderness hike is a rugged, week-long, 75-km/47-mi hike on the island’s wild western shore. Scramble up steep headlands, walk surf-swept beaches and sleep under the stars. Reservations are required well in advance during peak season (June 15 – September 15), and proper gear and preparation are essential.
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(JF Bergeron photo)

Kayaking the Broken Group Islands

Spot eagles, seals and whales as you paddle among more than 100 islands in the Broken Group Islands, part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
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Surfing on the Pacific Rim

Catch the perfect wave in the west coast village of Tofino, named “Best Surf Town in North... Read more America” in Outside Magazine's 2010 Editors' Choice Awards. Step into a wetsuit and paddle out to meet the swells – this is cold-water surfing at its finest. Pacific Surf School or Surf Sister Surf School can have you geared up and catching waves in no time. After a day at the beach head to SoBo Restaurant for fish tacos and other tasty treats. Be sure to check out the Eagle Aerie Gallery featuring the artwork of acclaimed First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers or Storm Surf Shop for funky local art and clothing.

Pacific Surf School

Lush rainforests, sandy beaches and world-class waves - come surf the Pacific North West! Pacific Surf School has been offering the highest quality standard products and services since 1998. As an active member of the surf and SUP community, there...
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T'ashii Paddle School

Join your Nuu-chah-nulth guide and paddle a handcrafted dug out cedar canoe on one of our first nations canoe tours and learn about local aboriginal culture and history. Walk along thousand-year-old red cedars on the Big Tree Trail of Meares Islan...
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Rachel Rilkoff photo

Hiking in Strathcona Provincial Park

To see the sub-alpine forests, mountain lakes and snow peaks of Vancouver Island’s interior, head for Strathcona Provincial Park, just west of Courtenay. Your base camp can be Strathcona Park Lodge, a comfortably rustic lakeside complex just outside the park. One of Canada’s leading outdoor centres, it’s just the place to get in touch with your inner adventurer. Try kayaking, ziplining, rock climbing, canoeing, orienteering and more at the lodge, or join a multi-day wilderness expedition with the lodge’s experienced guides. Tip: the lakeside cabins are great for a family or group getaway.

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© John E. Marriott/All Canada Photos

Whale Watching in Johnstone Strait

See the ocean’s biggest attraction at Telegraph Cove, where approximately 265 Orcas populate nearby Johnstone Strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland. In summer, Orcas (killer whales) congregate to feed on returning salmon. Whale-watching boats and kayak tours can take you from Telegraph Cove, Port McNeil and Alert Bay to see these magnificent mammals in their natural habitat. And don’t miss Telegraph Cove's Whale Interpretive Centre, set in one of the village’s historic boardwalk buildings.

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Ecosummer Expeditions - Sea Kayaking & Adventure Tours

Travel with Ecosummer Expeditions on an intimate guided tour, kayaking in the realm of Orcas along BC's Johnstone Strait (the best place in BC to see Killer Whales in the wild). Untamed, inspiring, remote and magical, Warden Beach is home to our O...
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Tide Rip Grizzly Tours

See grizzly bears in the wilds of Knight Inlet. Covered boat tours depart daily from Telegraph Cove, the whale watching centre on northern Vancouver Island. Watch grizzly bears eat salmon & eagles pick up the scraps. You may also see sea birds, do...
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(Tom Ryan photo)

Spelunking at Horne Lake Caves

Fancy an underground adventure? Go below in Horne Lake Caves. This cave network, about an hour north of Nanaimo, is a fascinating place for all ages to explore the underworld. With just a headlamp lighting the way, see dramatic rock and crystal formations, or rappel down a subterranean waterfall on a guided spelunking tour. Tours are run year-round; reservations are recommended between September and June, and can be made by phone or on the website.
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(Andrea Johnson photo)

Kayaking in the Gulf Islands

Watch for otters, seals and birdlife as you glide through the waters of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, a protected marine environment off Vancouver Island’s eastern shore. Dotted with remote coves, white shell beaches and intricate rock formations, this maze of isles makes for an idyllic paddling environment. Enjoy kayaking this area in style - gourmet food, great wine and camping under the stars - on a weekend paddling adventure with Sealegs Kayaking Adventures or Edible Canada.
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Destination BC/Reuben Krabbe photo

Whale Watching in Victoria

Fancy seeing a whale breaching in the wild? From the Inner Harbour, head out to sea to meet some of the Orca pods residing just offshore. Choose from a fast-moving inflatable Zodiac or comfortable covered boat; either way, you’ll probably see sea lions, seals and sea birds as well as whales in nearby waters.

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Prince of Whales Whale Watching - Victoria

Prince of Whales Whale Watching has been sharing premiere whale-watching & marine-wildlife experiences with the world for over 20 years! With year-round departures from Vancouver & Victoria, we have welcomed more than 250,000 guests to our local w...
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Destination BC/Reuben Krabbe

Cycling in Victoria

In Victoria, join locals for a pedal along the car-free Galloping Goose and Lochside regional trails or the Seaside Touring Route. BC’s island capital is, after all the cycling capital of Canada with more riders per capita than any other city in Canada. And no wonder: the trails are flat and easy and the landscape is delightful, with rustic trestles, farmland, lakes, forests and seashore.

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Places to Stay

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Painter's Lodge

Explore the rich tradition of BC salmon fishing in renowned Campbell River, 'The Salmon Capital of the World,' at the doorstep of one of the world's most impressive salmon migrations.

Set off from the resort in a 17 foot Boston Whaler an...

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Accommodations at Mount Washington

Renew yourself at Vancouver Island's premier alpine resort community on Mount Washington. In winter, world-class alpine & Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and snow-tubing are steps from your door, with scenic chairlift rides and hiking continuing throug...
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Mackenzie Beach Resort

Beautiful long sandy beach on the wild west coast; individual one, two & three bedroom cabins as well as some ocean view rooms. Some cabins are right on the beach. Most have full kitchens, TVs, & fireplaces. We have a large heated indoor saltwate...
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Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa

Nestled on the shores of the Saanich Inlet, Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa offers 36 beautifully designed Ocean Suites and Ocean Villas, tailored for the luxury traveler. Conveniently located just across the bay from the world famous Butchart Gardens ...
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Getting Here and Around

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Getting to Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands

Scenery by land, air and sea: getting to Vancouver Island really is half the fun!  BC... Read more Ferries has three routes that offer regular service between the mainland and Vancouver Island. These comfortable ferries also serve the Gulf Islands.  Travelling car-free?  Pacific Coach Lines offers downtown to downtown service. From Washington State, Black Ball Ferries, Washington State Ferries, and the Victoria Clipper all sail to Victoria.  Prefer to fly?  Daily flights connect Vancouver, Seattle and Victoria, while frequent floatplane service links all three cities.  You can even go by helicopter, with Helijet’s Vancouver to Victoria service.

Victoria International Airport

Victoria International Airport (Airport Code: YYJ) is the 10 busiest airport in Canada with over 1.5 million passengers per year. Victoria is well served with more than 120 daily flights.

The airport is situated approximately 25KM (15.5...

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BC Ferries

From the countless inlets of the Southern Gulf Islands to the untamed wilderness of the rugged North, BC Ferries is the gateway to your next coastal BC journey. Sail through spectacular scenery aboard one of our modern, well-appointed vessels, ser...
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One of a kind, spectacular, scenic helicopter service.

While the Strait of Georgia reaches out below you, majestic mountains and towering skyscrapers beckon on the horizon, Helijet's spacious helicopters fly you to your destination in som...

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