Are you planning a road trip around Vancouver Island?🚐 Or are you trying to decide on one place to spend your whole trip? Whatever it is, this list of the top 5 must-visit places to add to your Vancouver Island itinerary is for you!
From green forests 🌲 with rivers winding through them to stunning sandy beaches, there is something for everyone here. Vancouver Island is home to dozens of beautiful towns and sights, so many so that you’ll never want to leave!
However, this can make it hard to choose where exactly to go though.
Here are some of the best places to visit on Vancouver Island.
1. Qualicum Beach
Nestled in between Parksville and Comox on Vancouver Island’s northeastern coast is the adorable town of Qualicum Beach. With the ocean 🌊 on one side and beautiful forests on the other, this is a favourite place of nature lovers.
Here are a few things you need to do when you go to Qualicum Beach:
- Spend the day lounging at Qualicum Beach
- Hike to Little Qualicum Falls (~3km)
- Wander around the town and support local businesses (I highly recommend checking out Covet and Alcove Homegrown Living)
- Enjoy the amazing restaurants like Lefty’s and Giovanni’s Ristorante & Lounge
- Head over to Parksville and check out Rathtrevor Park
2. Jordan River/Sooke
Sooke is a district of Victoria located 45 minutes outside of downtown, and Jordan River is another 30 minutes away. But both are full of beautiful places that will take your breath away.
This is one of my favourite road trips to do, especially now that I have a portable stove. I love to drive with my boyfriend over to this area and explore the stunning beaches for a few hours before cooking some lunch with a beach view of the water🤩
It’s easy to spend a full day in the Sooke/Jordan River area, or a few days! Check out my post: Top 10 Airbnbs in Jordan River, BC for some recommendations if you are planning a trip here.
Where to go and what to do in Sooke/Jordan River:
- Swim in the Sooke Potholes
- Wander around Sooke Reservoir
- Relax at French Beach
- Check out Sandcut Beach
- Go to China Beach
This is the one spot on the list I haven’t been to, but if you know anything about Vancouver Island, you know Tofino is one of the most popular spots for people to visit. Especially surfers 🏄🏿♀️ . And for good reason! It’s gorgeous.
Tofino is across the Island from Victoria (about 5 hours away), but is only a few hours away from Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Comox, etc. Regardless, it’s definitely worth the trip!
Here’s some hotspots for you to check out:
- Go surfing at Chesterman Beach
- Go stand-up paddle boarding at MacKenzie Beach
- Explore Tofino Botanical Gardens
- Check out Tofino Coffee Comapny
- Go ziplining across the Kennedy River Canyon
As the capital of British Columbia, Victoria doesn’t disappoint. It has everything from beautiful scenery, whether that’s tree-lined hikes or 20th century castles 🏰, to shopping to keep you busy during your stay.
I have lived in Victoria for around 10 years and am still discovering new things to do. I swear it’s never-ending!
Here are a few things to add to your Victoria, BC bucket list.
P.S. Check out my recent blog post, 8 Awesome Things to Add to Your Victoria, BC Fall Bucket List
- Visit Fisherman’s Wharf
- Explore Butchart Gardens
- Hike around Goldstream Provincial Park
- Take photos at Craigdarroch Castle or Hatley Castle
- Walk around Beacon Hill Park
5. Cowichan Village
Found along the Malahat and comprised of several charming towns like Duncan, Chemainus, Mill Bay, and more, Cowichan Village is a great spot for a hike, camping, or a trip to the winery 🍷
If you’re not planning to stay in the Cowichan area, but you are passing through to get to Victoria or somewhere up island, it’s worth taking a pitstop in one of these towns.
Here are some activities to add to your itinerary:
- Sip wine at Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Duncan
- Go camping at Cowichan River Provincial Park
- Ride the train at BC Discovery Centre in Duncan
- Enjoy the views at the top of the Malahat Skywalk
- Walk along the Kinsol Trestle
Now you’re ready to take on everything Vancouver Island has to offer, and it’s a lot!
If you’re planning to visit one, or a couple of these places, comment down below and let me know which ones ⬇️
Make sure to check out my Instagram for photos of all the places I visit. I have several from Jordan River, Parksville/Qualicum Beach, and Victoria 😊