Vancouver Island is the gateway to the West Coast of Canada. With isolated beaches, awe-inspiring old-growth forests, stunning wildlife, and great adventures to be had, weekend getaways to Vancouver Island are perfect for any occasion. Access to the island from Vancouver is simple with BC Ferries or regional airlines, though as visitors get looped into island life, they may not want the weekend to end.
Great Weekend Escapes to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands!
Victoria may be the capital of British Columbia, but for tourists, it serves as BC’s most cherished and charming throwback city. No longer a small town, Victoria is the relaxed, island version of Vancouver with great dining, a lively nightlife scene, beautiful parks, quaint city neighbourhoods, excellent seaside walking trails, and unique attractions.
A weekend in Victoria is enough time to hit the Royal British Columbia Museum, enjoy an afternoon kayaking the Inner Harbour, and explore the historic Johnson and Fort Streets downtown. Find the best high tea in Victoria by staying at The Fairmont Empress or sleep a stone’s throw from Beacon Hill Park at the heritage-steeped James Bay Inn Hotel.
An hour drive from Victoria, Sooke offers what Victoria doesn’t: open ocean, small village vibes, and historic accommodation to fully unplug and forget the rest of the world. Whale watching, geocaching, fishing, zip-lining, and kayaking are all on offer out in Sooke — or just relax and watch the bald eagles glide by. The Sooke Potholes, a popular local swimming spot is a must do in the summer, and the Juan de Fuca’s China Beach is a favourite all year round (though bundle up in the winter — those winds are no joke!).
The Sooke Harbour House has been the location for many romantic getaways and provides every opportunity for visitors to enjoy the region’s natural beauty. This historic resort retains an old-world charm with modern luxury in one of the island’s most phenomenal oceanfront locations.
Tofino and Ucluelet
Ask any Vancouver Islander where to experience the true West Coast and they will say Tofino. Open ocean and miles of sand make Tofino and its southern sister village Ucluelet an absolute paradise for surfers and off the beaten path beach lovers. Access to this remote edge of the island is via Highway 4, approximately two hours from Parksville. The drive alone is worth the trip, winding through old growth forest Cathedral Grove and past beautiful Sprout Lake.
Tofino is the more developed of the two small towns with great options for accommodation and several formal attractions. The Pacific Sands Resort and the Wickaninnish Inn are top picks for this area with beach-front locations and storm watching potential at any time of year.