A Sneak Peek into Vancouver Island
Our playlist was just as confusing as the highways; A mix of Reggaeton, rap, hip-hop, EDM and even a little Phutureprimitive seeped through the speakers as our Toyota Tacoma’s tires raced up the road past the USA-Canadian border, heading to visit Vancouver Island. (I surprisingly made it through the border….more on that later).
Only a 2 hour ferry ride separated Brandon and I from the surf trip that waited on the other side. This Ferry, “The Spirit of Alberni”, powered around the nearest of 40,000 islands in Western Canada. There are some of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen in this area. And I thought the American Pacific Northwest was beautiful? You would fall in love with Vancouver Island, Canada, too, as soon as you see the towering isles of green shooting from cerulean waters. If you’re lucky, you might catch a grey or humpback whale breaching nearby, on their way up the inside passage to Alaska.
The ferry boat meanders through tiny islands, some inhabited by just a family or two. In itself, the boat ride is quite the treat, but not nearly as awesome as Victoria is itself.
6 Reasons to Visit Vancouver Island
Though its a bit time-consuming to vacation in the B.C. Islands, what you lose in travel time you will make up with an incredible experience. Compared with the over-run Washington islands to the immediate south, Vancouver Island and its immediate neighbors are an oasis from the jam-packed city life that plagues the Western Coast of Canada and the USA. The “traffic” in the area consisted of a few cars-worth of slow downs as we winded through and out of the valleys, while everyone stared out the window, breathless, at the views. It’s such a different experience to have a traffic stop by stag rather than red-light camera.
When you visit Vancouver Island, you are in for a real treat of unspoiled nature. Clear rivers, waterfalls and green everything.
Vancouver Island is one of the largest (and arguably the most popular) of the 40,000 islands that encompass the western coast of British Columbia. It takes quite a few hours to drive across the island (and thats without looking at the incredible views!) and parts of the island remain unpaved. The most beautiful areas are often at the end of a gravel drive, deep into the wilderness.
#1 Endless Hikes
Be prepared to see untouched nature, including turquoise waters, greens of various intensities everywhere, steep mountains, riverbeds wet and dry, and a sense of peace throughout. Upon visiting Vancouver island, the first thing you’ll notice is a serious respect for the environment. Everything is pristine. It’s the closest example of humans living in harmony with nature that I can think of in North America. (You go, Canada!!)
#2 Scenic Drives – Road Trip
Highway 4 cuts through the island, separating the North Western region from the South Eastern area that holds the Pacific Rim Refuge. If you open Google Maps, you will see a be-speckled map full of Provincial Parks that all have some claim to fame, be it a soft waterfall or a lakeside view.
I spent the entirety of my time with fellow travel Blogger Eve from Earth Wanderess, who enjoyed a few weeks here, road tripping all over Vancouver Island. There was just so much to SEE. (Canada has some seriously instagrammable views)
#3 Wildlife Watching
If you are a nature junkie like myself, you’ll find yourself staring in wonder at the sheer diversity on the island. Though deer might wander by roadside, you’d best keep to your campsite warnings to avoid cougars, bear, wolves and other predators. Ponds are not only filled with the usual fish and frogs, but petrified wood from the old growth forests. Orcas make their way up through the inside passages between the islands and mainland, and are often very curious of nearby kayaks and boats. Other large sea creatures accompany them on their journeys north to breed and feed, including Grey Whales and Humpback whales!
Though the cold waters of Western Washington and Canada are not known for our surfing beaches, they do exist! Thousands flock to the shores in the summer to zip up wetsuits and surf, boogie board, or kite surf the waves. There are 3 separate breaks in Ucluelet and 2 more along the Tofino Coast, perfect for newbies and advanced surfers alike. My morning spent surfing along Ucluelet was cut short due to my friends’ board rental taking on water…..and because the surf rose to double head high barrels. Ouch!
Keep your eyes open for a surf guide to Western Canada, coming soon.
#5 Walk through the Old Growth Forest
The only other trees I’ve seen of this size are the Redwoods in California. It’s hard to believe some of the trees here are over 600 years old. These Jurassic-sized trees cover the island, and though most can be found at Cathedral grove, if you head down to the South-western part of the island, you can find a protected area with trees as old as 1,200 years!
#6 Grab a Glass at the Winery
Wineries dot the Eastern coast of Vancouver island, and with so many to choose from, its hard to know where to start. I personally love the lush decor of Averill Creek, though I’ve been told Rocky Creek Winery is the best in the land.
I loved my time exploring the Canadian islands. I’m sure I could literally spend weeks here exploring all the provisional parks and smaller islands across the region. Have you been to Vancouver island? Anything I should explore when I return later this month? Lemme know please!