700,000 tons of rock explode
Trip planning is essential. We help you prepare for your vacation here.
It's essential to plan Your Trip, there's so much to do and see! We're a pretty big island, about 600 kilometers (360 miles) long and about 170 kilometers (102 miles) wide at it's widest.
Our roads are great, right from Victoria at the bottom to Port Hardy at the top, they are wide and well maintained and easy cruising. You could go from top to bottom in one day but why would you want,...Vancouver Island is So Inviting.
In the South, there's the very charming and delightful Victoria to discover. It's our Capital, so has wonderful buildings, parks and Super ocean vistas. It's very tourist orientated and has lots to see and do. All the hotels and accommodations listed on our Web Pages are very well maintained and look forward to having you stay with them. You can easily spend three or four days here and still not see it all. Make sure you Book your accommodations, whalewhatching and or charter fishing trips early by going to the Victoria Page on our website, click to the links you want to see and book them as soon as you know your coming to the island as Victoria accommodations fill up quickly and sometimes it can be very difficulty to get a booking.
From Victoria you head north up over the Malahat Summit, first stop, Duncan 60 kms (36mi). It's Home of the Cowichan First Nations and the Cowichan Native Village Display. Lots to see and do here. Duncan is also home to the BC Forest Museum, a must see display of Forestry Past and Present. There's also totems, the wonderful world famous Cowichan hand knitted sweaters and great big Lake Cowichan for the camping set. There's lots of golf and exploring too.
Then on up to Chemainus "Home of the World's Greatest Display of Building Murals" depicting the heritage and industry of the area, very impressive and a real must see. This is also home of the very delightful Chemainus Theatre, a great afternoon or evening of Live Theatre. There's good RV parking in town, RVing camping close by and it's worth a stay over or two.
From here keep heading north to Ladysmith where you actually cross the 49th Parallel and can check out some of the many antique shops.
From there travel north to Nanaimo, the Hub City, terminus to B.C. Ferries at Departure Bay and Duke Point. Nanaimo is a wonderful city that has a gorgeous harbour walkway with tons of activity. If you are there on business or looking for the cultural stuff it may be an excellent idea to check out what's going on at the Port Theatre, and take in a show. There is excellent shopping in numerous malls and lots to do as far as golfing and salmon fishing goes. Just south of town there's a bypass that goes around the slower streets of the city. Use this if you are trying to make time.Going right through town can be pretty slow. There are many exits off the bypass to get you into the shopping areas if needed. The distance From Victoria to Nanaimo is 112km (66mi). Remember to book your accommodation, golf or fishing charters right off our Nanaimo Page.
From Nanaimo you continue north to Parksville. You can stay on Highway 19, the Inland Island Hwy. or head for the Oceanside Route Highway 19A. The Oceanside route takes you into the 'Riviera of the Island'. Miles of warm, sandy beaches beckon young and old alike to partake in the healing waters of the ocean. Another great thing about the area is the great range of accommodation types. RV Parks, campsites, economy motels, deluxe hotels and B&B's. Tons to do to - horseback riding, golfing, birdwatching, whalewatching, walking, tennis, frisbee on the beach, sandcastles (remember to bring a good shovel so you can build your best ever sand castle), provincial parks etc. etc. etc. A Great place for a family vacation or a great place for a romantic getaway in season or off season. This is worth a day, or a week or two. You can really get relaxing here. Parksville is 147km(88mi.) from Victoria. Remember to use our accommodation pages to BOOK your lodgings or RV sites well in advance as it gets very busy.
Then continue on up the Oceanside Route 19A to Qualicum Beach. A quaint Ex British enclave where the very refined live. The Waterfront Strand is a beauty -a wonderful level place to walk and sit and enjoy the sunsets, also great shallow grade, sandy swimming and easy walking golf here too. Close your eyes and you can imagine the ladies of yesteryears strolling up the walk with their parasols up. A very popular place to takes rooms and stay awhile. Good pubs and dining too.
You can stay on the very scenic meandering Oceanside Route 19A and continue north through Qualicum Bay and Bowser and then farther on north up to the Comox Valley.
At Qualicum, head west on Hwy.4 to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet.
First stop Port Alberni is 50km(30mi) from Qualicum Beach. Port Alberni is the home of BIG trees and is a robust logging town. There's lots to see here - a fantastic logging museum and the wonderful Quay on the waterfront. Steelhead and salmon fishing is great in the Alberni Canal and the Stamp River, as they say, "some very serious fishing" and if you are here you should get out on a charter boat and catch a few, it's sure a ton o fun! Use our Accommodation Pages to do your research in advance of your vacation.
From Port Alberni you can take the 75km. gravel road to The Westcoast's - Bamfield for some remote R&R and fishing. This is an active logging road so drive with care and attention.
From Port Alberni "Go west my friends" on Hwy 4 to Tofino and Ucluelet, both nestled on the very westest of THE west coast of Canada. There is a beautiful ambiance in both towns and both really cater to tourists. Pacific Rim National Park is here, and there's miles and miles of ocean beaches to stroll along (all year round) . Port Alberni to Ucluelet is 96k's (58mi) and is a bit windy, so go slow and drive safely. This area of the Island is very busy, use the Ucluelet and Tofino Accommodation Pages to book VERY early, as it fills up quickly.
Back to Route 19 from Qualicum north you first hit The Comox Valley- home of the City of Courtney and the Town of Comox. The Comox Valley is a perfect mix of small town, rural ambiance and oceanfront. Biking is fantastic here, it's relatively flat and there's miles of pastoral scenery. It's a great romantic getaway whether you're B&Bing or Hoteling it. You can kayak in the Puntledge River and the Pacific Ocean. The beach is wonderful at The Goose Spit and Kye Bay. The Comox Valley is also home of Mt Washington Ski Hill. It is 45 minutes from town and an easy drive. The Comox Valley is 108km(65mi) north of Nanaimo.
From The Comox Valley you cruise north through to the Saratoga Beach Area home of wonderful beachfront resorts, RV parks and marinas. There's even a couple neighbourhood pubs to serve you outstanding lunches while traveling through. Check for accommodations here on the Comox Valley and Campbell River Accommodation Pages.
This is the threshold of the Northern Island. The ocean currents here usually bring cooler more northerly weather that make the fish go crazy and bite. This is an excellent place to hole up for a few days and go fishing. There's lots of charter boats in the harbour and you'll have a ton o fun going out. This town's pretty as a picture with it's towering fir trees and deep blue ocean currents. Campbell River is 153km(92mi.) north of Nanaimo. Because of the Excellent Fishing it can be Very Busy in Campbell River, ensure you book early from the Campbell River Accommodations Page to secure your reservations for charters, rooms and tours.
Next Stop go west again, take Hwy 28 - 95km(57mi) to Gold River home to fantastic salmon and steelhead fishing. You can also get on the Uchuck 111 and go for a cruise around Nootka Sound. Because the fishing is so special here there are lots of charter guides and getting out fishing is easy, treat yourself and go! Book your Charters and Rooms right off our Gold River Accommodation's Page, it's that easy!
Back to Campbell River and head north again coming to Sayward. Sayward's small but has a couple of good stop over spots for the RV crowd. It's also close to Robson Bight a prime whale watching area and has a couple of whalewatching companies here. Sayward is a short drive off the highway but well worth the effort to see this quaint town. Sayward is 250km(150mi) from Nanaimo.
From Sayward you head north through the huge expanse of the North Island. Lots of signs of a healthy commercial forestry industry. Driving this road is always a wonder to me. So much forest growing straight to the sky! Go straight north, first stop Telegraph Cove 335km (207mi) north of Nanaimo. Telegraph Cove is a must see on the northern island. An old telegraph relay station during the war it has that special place feel about it. Kayakers flock here as do those wanting to whale watch and those wanting to fish for halibut. Stop in here, it's a beauty.
From there go north to Port McNeill a forestry town that hums with activity. There's a good selection of hotels and motels here, and many stay here for a day or two to go fishing and or whale watching. Pt McNeill is 352km(211mi) north of Nanaimo. Check out the hotels, whale watching and RV sites on our Pt. McNeill Accommodations Page and book early as it can fill up with many RV's traveling north to the ferry.
Onward to the most northerly Town on the island, Port Hardy. It's the northern island terminus for the BC Ferry Fleet coming from Prince Rupert. This is a pretty little town right on the waterfront. Many come to fish for the big ones. Salmon and halibut. There are many guides ready, willing and able to take you fishing. Book your accommodations and fishing guide right off our Pt. Hardy Accommodation Page, it's that easy!!
It's great to be this far north on the island as it has a real distinct frontier town flavour. I remember seeing on TV, real life video of a bear that had wandered into a bakery on the main street at 6am and sat down on his haunches and had a real feast on the donuts, he was really enjoying himself I think they had a bit of a time getting him to leave.
700,000 tons of rock explode
Dust, Sweat & Tears
Steel & Gold