aerial view of Vancouver Island from airplane in the summer

Summer on Vancouver Island

Welcome to your ultimate guide to summer on Vancouver Island! On the edge of the Pacific, Vancouver Island boasts an array of breathtaking landscapes, vibrant communities, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure! Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, foodie, or a seasoned traveller, no matter where you’re staying on this island paradise on the west coast of British Columbia, has something for everyone to enjoy during the sunny summer months!

Summer Sports & Outdoor Activities on Vancouver Island 

When it comes to summer outdoor adventures, Vancouver Island is the perfect playground! From thrilling whale watching excursions to serene kayaking trips, here are some must-do activities to make the most of your summer on the island! 

Whale Watching

Experience the awe-inspiring sight of humpback whales and orcas breaching in the Salish Sea on a whale watching tour. Vancouver Island is renowned for its abundant marine life sightings, including playful otters and harbour seals frolicking in the waves.


Paddle through the tranquil waters of the Salish Sea and marvel at the diverse marine life below! Find kayak rentals and tours all over Vancouver Island allowing you to explore these incredible shores while keeping an eye out for otters, seals, and marine birds and more!


Hit the trails and discover Vancouver Island’s stunning scenery on two wheels! Whether you prefer leisurely rides along scenic coastal paths or adrenaline-pumping mountain biking, the island offers lots of biking opportunities for everyone!

Backpacking and Hiking 

Calling all hikers! Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an adventure through lush old-growth forests and rugged coastal landscapes. From the iconic Juan de Fuca and West Coast Trail to the enchanting Cathedral Grove with its towering, ancient Douglas firs, on Vancouver Island you can find a variety of hiking trails waiting to be explored!


Cool off on a hot summer day with a refreshing swim in one of Vancouver Island’s pristine lakes, rivers, or from one of the sandy ocean beaches! Whether you prefer the calm waters of a secluded lake or the chilly waves of the Pacific Ocean, there are plenty of swimming spots to choose from!


Immerse yourself in nature and spend a night under the stars at one of Vancouver Island’s picturesque campsites! Pitch your tent near the edge of the ocean in the Pacific Rim National Park and listen to the waves on the shore all night or find a campsite in one of the forested retreats in Strathcona Provincial Park! No matter where you go, camping on the island is an unforgettable experience!


You can find some of the best surfing in the world right here on Vancouver Island! Head to Long Beach in Tofino and catch some incredible waves or head out to secluded Port Renfrew for some unique river surfing!


Tee off against breathtaking backdrops at Vancouver Island’s premier golf courses! With lush greens and stunning ocean views, golfing on the island is a golfer’s paradise, offering challenging courses for players of all abilities.

Zip Lining & More

If you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for a wild experience on Vancouver Island you’re in the right place! Whether you’re soaring through the trees on a zip line or skydiving into the blue sky you can on Vancouver Island! Checkout the page to find out favourite places on the Island to get an adrenaline rush! 

Indoor Activities on Vancouver Island 

When the summer sun is blazing, and you’re ready to escape the heat, head to one of these incredible attractions for an afternoon of fun and A/C! From cultural landmarks to unique shopping destinations, here are the best indoor activities to keep you entertained and cool during your island getaway:

Dining and More on Vancouver Island 

Visit Vancouver Island Breweries

Quench your thirst on the shade of a patio or sit inside to cool off at one of Vancouver Island’s award winning breweries! Sample a flight of delicious locally brewed beers and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere!

Enjoy the Cafes on Vancouver Island 

Take a break from the heat and unwind in one of Vancouver Island’s charming cafes and coffee shops! You can sip an iced coffee and enjoy a treat or two as you relax and recharge!

Heritage Sites

Empress Hotel

Step into the elegance of a bygone era at the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel! Wander through the hotel’s main floor and marvel at the historic architecture and luxurious interiors as you learn more about the hotel’s storied past.

Parliament Buildings

Explore the heart of British Columbia’s government at the majestic Parliament Buildings in Victoria’s Inner Harbour! Join a guided tour to learn about the province’s legislative process and admire the impressive neo-baroque architecture of this iconic landmark.

Craigdarroch Castle

Transport yourself back in time with a visit to Craigdarroch Castle, a magnificent Victorian-era mansion! Wander through the opulent rooms and lush gardens as you discover the fascinating history of this architectural gem.

Museums and Attractions

Royal BC Museum

Dive into the rich tapestry of British Columbia’s history and culture at the Royal BC Museum. Explore immersive exhibits, from natural history displays to captivating indigenous art, and gain insight into the diverse heritage of the region.

Miniature World

Embark on a journey through the tiny wonders of Miniature World, where intricate dioramas bring history and fantasy to life in miniature form! Perfect for kids of all ages, you can marvel at the attention to detail in these enchanting displays that captivate visitors.

Bug Zoo and Butterfly Gardens 

Get up close and personal with fascinating insects and butterflies from around the world at these unique attractions. Explore interactive exhibits and learn about the incredible diversity of these often misunderstood creatures.



Indulge in some retail therapy at Mayfair Shopping Centre, home to a diverse selection of shops and boutiques. From fashion-forward clothing stores to specialty retailers, Mayfair has something for every shopper!

The Bay Center

Discover the latest trends and must-have items at The Bay Center, one of the premier shopping destinations in downtown Victoria. Browse through upscale stores and international brands, and treat yourself to a shopping spree!


Experience the ultimate shopping experience at Uptown, a bustling open air retail hub with a wide variety of stores and eateries. From fashion and beauty to home decor and electronics, Uptown has everything you need for a day of leisurely shopping.

Woodgrove Mall 

Explore the expansive Woodgrove Mall, Vancouver Island’s largest shopping centre located in Nanaimo. With over 150 stores and services, including major retailers and specialty shops, Woodgrove Mall offers something for everyone.

Farms to Visit on Vancouver Island

Experience the rustic charm and agricultural abundance of Vancouver Island by visiting some of its finest farms! From artisanal cheese to handcrafted cider, here are our top farm picks to explore during your summer getaway! Looking for something specific? Check out Island Farm Fresh and BC Farms and Food for an exhaustive list! 

Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

Indulge in some artisanal cheese at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks! Take a guided tour of the farm to see how their award-winning cheeses are made, and don’t forget to sample some of their delicious creations in the onsite shop.

Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

Sip on refreshing cider and soak in the scenic views at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse. Explore the orchards where their organic apples are grown, and learn about the cider-making process during a guided tour of the facilities.

Holly Hill Farm

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Holly Hill Farm, where lush fields and picturesque landscapes await. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, and pick up some fresh produce or flowers from the farm stand to take home with you.

Westholme Tea Company

Discover the art of tea cultivation and processing at Westholme Tea Company. Wander through the tea gardens and learn about the different varieties of tea grown on the farm, then relax with a steaming cup of freshly brewed tea in the cozy tasting room.

Hamilton Hobby Farm

Get up close and personal with adorable farm animals at Hamilton Hobby Farm. Perfect for families with children, this charming farm offers hands-on experiences with goats, chickens, rabbits, and more.

Morningstar Farm

Experience farm-to-table dining at its finest at Morningstar Farm. Take a tour of the farm to meet the cows and learn about dairy production, then enjoy a delicious meal made with fresh, local ingredients at the farm’s bistro.

Yellow Point Farms

Explore the fields of flowers and berries of Yellow Point Farms and treat yourself to homemade jams, pies, and other goodies from the farm store!

Incredible Gardens on Vancouver Island  

Escape into a world of natural beauty and tranquillity by exploring the lush gardens and parks of Vancouver Island. From vibrant floral displays to historic landmarks, here are the top spots to add to your summer itinerary:

Butchart Gardens

One of the world’s premier floral attractions, Butchart Gardens has been attracting visitors from around the world for years! Stroll through meticulously manicured gardens bursting with colourful blooms, and marvel at the stunning displays in the Sunken Garden, Rose Garden, and more.

Beacon Hill Park

Discover a green oasis in the heart of downtown Victoria at Beacon Hill Park. Meander through flower-filled gardens, tranquil ponds, and manicured lawns, and keep an eye out for resident peacocks roaming freely throughout the park.

Abkhazi Garden

Discover this hidden gem nestled in the heart of one of Victoria’s residential neighbourhoods. Here you can explore the enchanting grounds, which feature a diverse collection of plants, serene pathways, and scenic viewpoints overlooking the city and ocean.

Horticultural Centre of the Pacific

Get inspired by the beauty of the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, a botanical garden dedicated to showcasing the diverse flora of the Pacific Northwest. Wander through themed gardens, including a kids garden, drought tolerant garden and elegant bridal garden.

Milner Gardens & Woodland

Experience the magic of Milner Gardens & Woodland, a coastal paradise nestled between Qualicum Beach and Parksville. Walk through the stunning woodland over boardwalks and explore expansive gardens, which feature a mix of formal plantings, and native flora.

Naa’Waya’Sum Coastal Indigenous Gardens

Immerse yourself in the coastal beauty of Naa’Waya’Sum Coastal Indigenous Gardens (formally known as Tofino Botanical Gardens), where native plants and coastal ecosystems take centre stage. Explore the garden’s and take a moment to reflect on the beauty of the west coast.

Hatley Castle Gardens 

Hatley Castle and its surrounding gardens, located on the grounds of Royal Roads University are a must visit for garden lovers! Explore these meticulously maintained gardens, featuring stunning floral displays, tranquil ponds, and picturesque vistas.

Government House Gardens 

Explore the elegant grounds of Government House Gardens, the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Stroll through formal gardens, meandering pathways, and picturesque lawns, and admire the heritage trees and historic architecture!

Must See Places to Visit in the Summer on Vancouver Island 

Discover the diverse landscapes and charming communities that make Vancouver Island a must-visit destination! From bustling cities to picturesque coastal towns, here are the top places to explore during your island adventure:


Explore British Columbia’s vibrant capital city, Victoria, where historic architecture, cultural attractions, and scenic waterfronts await. Don’t miss a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf, a colourful floating neighbourhood with restaurants, and marine life.

Tofino & Ucluelet 

Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of Tofino and Ucluelet, where pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and world-class surfing await. Whether you’re hiking along the Wild Pacific Trail or enjoying a beach bonfire at sunset, these coastal gems are sure to leave you spellbound.


Explore the vibrant city of Nanaimo, nestled along the eastern coast of Vancouver Island. Known as the Harbour City, Nanaimo offers a blend of urban amenities and outdoor recreation opportunities. Stroll along the scenic waterfront, indulge in local cuisine at waterfront restaurants, or embark on outdoor adventures such as kayaking, hiking, and biking.

Campbell River

Known as the Salmon Capital of the World, Campbell River is the largest town on Northern Vancouver Island and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Cast a line for a chance to reel in the catch of a lifetime or embark on a whale watching excursion to spot majestic orcas and humpback whales.

Port Hardy

Discover the rugged beauty of the North Island in Port Hardy, a picturesque seaside town surrounded by pristine wilderness. Explore nearby Cape Scott Provincial Park, go fishing for trophy-sized salmon, or embark on a wildlife cruise in search of bears and bald eagles.

Comox Valley

Discover the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Comox Valley, where snow-capped mountains meet pristine coastline. Explore charming towns like Courtenay and Comox, and indulge in outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.

Gulf Islands 

Escape to the idyllic Gulf Islands, a scenic archipelago dotted with charming communities and pristine wilderness. Explore Salt Spring Island, known for its vibrant arts scene and artisanal markets, just hop on a ferry to Swartz Bay for a day trip from Victoria!

Cowichan Valley 

Take a road trip through the scenic beauty of the Cowichan Valley! Known as the Napa of Vancouver Island, in the Cowichan Valley you can find incredible wineries to visit and explore the charming town of Duncan with its abundance of First Nations totem poles and art throughout the city’s centre!

Parksville & Qualicum Beach

Relax and unwind on the sandy shores of Parksville and Qualicum Beach, two charming seaside communities known for their warm waters and family-friendly amenities. Explore tidal pools, build sandcastles, or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.


Experience the eclectic vibe of Coombs, home to the iconic Coombs Country Market and its resident goats grazing on the roof. Browse through unique shops, sample local delicacies, and soak in the laid-back atmosphere of this quirky community.


The perfect day trip from Victoria, Sooke offers unparalleled natural beauty and outdoor adventures! This scenic coastal town nestled between the rainforest and the sea is a great place to hike to breathtaking waterfalls, kayak along rugged coastlines, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.


Want to explore a little further afield? Take a day trip to the bustling metropolis of Vancouver, located just a short seaplane flight away from Vancouver Island! Visit world-class museums and galleries, find incredible shopping and dining or head up a mountain and enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top!