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Vancouver Island Vacation Ideas for Planning an Itinerary

A fusion of history, rugged landscapes and awe-inspiring natural beauty, Vancouver Island is the largest populated landmass between western North America and New Zealand and just an easy five-hour flight from Toronto. The island is home to both the elegant provincial capital of British Columbia, and hundreds of square miles of untouched wilderness. This unique balance draws travelers from every corner of the globe and is the reason that we’ve created our Vancouver Island Travel Guide video. Let the footage from this video inspire an unforgettable Vancouver Island itinerary, and take you on a tour of this destination’s most incredible sites.

Ideas of places to visit on Vancouver Island

Here are some of the most popular places to visit on Vancouver Island. With everything from elegant parliament buildings, to wild coastal trails, our video will take you on a virtual tour of all the best spots to add to your travel itinerary. These Vancouver Island attractions are listed in order of their appearance in the video, so you can refer to the stunning imagery and organize your travels accordingly.


vibrant victoria harbor accommodation ideas

Victoria Harbour

(0:52 in the video) The bustling heart of British Columbia’s dynamic capital, Victoria Harbour has a modern atmosphere, as well as a rich and vibrant history. Just half an hour from Victoria Airport, this is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a Vancouver Island base.


explore historic parliament buildings vancouver island

Parliament Buildings

(1:14 in the video) The Parliament Buildings are the elegant legislative headquarters of British Columbia. The structures are adorned with sculptures and murals, depicting scenes from the province’s history. As night falls, watch as the neo-baroque buildings are illuminated with 3,300 fairy lights.


trip planning hotel ideas fairmont empress hotel

Fairmont Empress Hotel

(1:32 in the video) Enjoy high tea with a view of the Parliament Buildings at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. This illustrious hotel has long catered to elite visitors of Victoria. If you’re planning a trip to Vancouver Island and wondering where to stay, you can book a room here!


discover the story of craigdarroch castle

Craigdarroch Castle

(1:51 in the video) Discover Victoria’s favorite rags to riches story at Craigdarroch Castle. Its creator, Robert Dunsmuir, arrived in Victoria without a dime to his name in 1851. By the late 19th century he had become the richest man in British Columbia.


visit butchart gardens day trip ideas

Butchart Gardens

(2:10 in the video) Nature is close to the heart of Vancouver Island, and even in its largest city, the natural world is treasured. Created in the sunken remains of a depleted limestone quarry, Butchart Gardens is an explosion of leafy color and a vibrant reminder of the importance of conservation.


tour ideas the historic royal bc museum

Royal BC Museum

(2:46 in the video) If you’re looking for things to do in Victoria, take a walk through time at the Royal BC museum. Exhibiting an eclectic range of artifacts from British Columbia’s human and natural history, this museum has everything from totem poles to dinosaur footprints.


discover local flavours and walk through fishermans wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf

(3:14 in the video) Discover Victoria’s local flavors at the fresh fish and chip shops on Fisherman’s Wharf. With plenty of quirky restaurants, shops and bars, this colorful floating neighborhood is just a 30-minute walk from the city center.


adventure through sooke potholes regional park itinerary ideas

Sooke Potholes Regional Park

(3:45 in the video) Start your outdoor Vancouver Island adventure in Sooke Potholes Regional Park. This lush nature reserve serves up some of the most stunning landscapes on the island. While you hike or swim between the ancient rock formations, keep watch for Vancouver Island wildlife, such as bald eagles, black bears and elk.


stunning views and tranquility at sandcut beach

Sandcut Beach

(4:05 in the video) A cozy seaside town just an hour’s drive north of Victoria, Cowichan is a warm and inviting place to stay. Wander down to the docks and watch as local fishermen haul in and fillet their catch.


explore the popular juan de fuca trail coastal walk

Juan de Fuca Marine Trail

(4:21 in the video) One of Vancouver Island’s most popular coastal walks, the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail draws hikers from across the globe. Most who attempt the trek take around 4 to 6 days but the trail can be hiked in part too. Highlights along the way include the eerie Mystic Beach and the beautiful Sombrio Beach.


cozy seaside town and waterfront of cowichan bay

Cowichan Bay

(5:16 in the video) A cozy seaside town just an hour’s drive north of Victoria, Cowichan is a warm and inviting place to stay. Wander down to the docks and watch as local fishermen haul in and fillet their catch.


parksville accommodation ideas trip planning

Parksville

(5:35 in the video) Another great base from which to explore the surrounding area, Parksville is well worth a spot on your Vancouver Island itinerary. This town is a short drive from many of the island’s most beautiful parks and reserves.


hiking tours english river falls provincial park

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park

(5:48 in the video) Whether you’re searching for a scenic forest glade in which to set up camp for the night, or you’re wanting to spend the day hiking amongst ancient cedar and Douglas fir, Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is the perfect choice. Offering some of the most beautiful natural sightseeing on the island, this park is definitely worth adding to your Vancouver Island itinerary.


stunning woodland escape macmillan provincial park

MacMillan Provincial Park

(6:11 in the video) Home to Cathedral Grove, with its mammoth Douglas firs, MacMillan Provincial Park is a stunning woodland landscape that spans 743 acres (301 hectares) of Vancouver Island. The largest tree in this park has a vast circumference of over 30 feet (9 meters).


chesterman beach surfing and marine watching

Chesterman Beach

(6:43 in the video) A wave beach that draws surfers from all across the globe, Chesterman Beach is just a 10-minute drive from the town of Tofino. This beach has swells for experts and beginners alike. But if you’d prefer to keep your feet dry, roll out a towel on the sand and look for local marine life. In the summer months, humpbacks, minke and gray whales can often be seen migrating down the coast.


ucluelet itinerary ideas for adventure seekers

Ucluelet

(6:57 in the video) Watch the ebbs and flows of a working harbor in Ucluelet, one of the oldest settlements on Vancouver Island. It’s believed that the native Nuu-chah-nulth people inhabited this isolated area for thousands of years. Today it is a magnet for pleasure seekers and outdoor adventurers.


sightseeing and walking tour ideas wild pacific trail

Wild Pacific Trail

(7:15 in the video) Wind through misty old growth forest and out along jagged headlands to where you can witness the roaring power of the Pacific. The Wild Pacific Trail offers some of Vancouver Island’s most unforgettable natural sightseeing.


historic amphitrite lighthouse trip planning vancouver island

Amphitrite Point Lighthouse

(7:32 in the video) On the winding paths of the Wild Pacific Trail you’ll likely come across Amphitrite Point Lighthouse, an important feature of the island’s landscape and history. This sturdy structure has been guiding vessels through these perilous waters since its construction in 1915.


Inspiration for traveling to Vancouver Island

After even more inspiration? Browse through Expedia’s online gallery to see more stunning images of Vancouver Island. Here at Expedia, we think that nothing can inspire an unforgettable vacation quite like striking photos of your next destination. Our gallery is home to thousands of photos from all across the globe.

We also have hundreds more travel videos with incredible footage from these destinations. These videos tell the story of a place, and serve as the ultimate travel inspiration for your next trip.

Ready to start planning the trip?

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This article was originally published on June 14, 2019. If you’d like to stay updated on new videos of the beautiful destinations that our planet has to offer, subscribe to Expedia’s YouTube channel.

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