Top Things to Know about a Vacation to Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is a unique destination filled with low-level, old-growth temperate rainforest. The area is packed with outdoor adventure, pristine beaches, whale watching, and scenic drives. No matter the ages in your group, everyone will find their place on Vancouver Island. 

A Little about the Island

Vancouver Island is actually the visual (exposed) part of a submerged mountain range in the Pacific Ocean west of Vancouver and north of Seattle. It is made up of seven regions stretching some 460km from Victoria to Cape Scott, covering all terrains from mountains to beaches. A drive from end to end of the Island will take just under six hours and present many opportunities for sampling local fare along the way, while experiencing the uniqueness of each community. 

Golfers love to play in Vancouver Island, from Victoria mountaintops to the greens in Courtenay, Port Alberni, and Nanaimo. Championship golf is available at 40 courses across the Island, some even designed by golf greats like Jack and Steve Nicklaus.

If you love fishing, plan to get hooked on Vancouver Island, where the waters are filled with trophy salmon and halibut. There are excellent fishing holes for both fresh and saltwater, chartered trips with professional guides and opportunities for launching a boat and setting out alone. Either way, world-class fishing awaits. 

Many visitors go for the beaches, culture, festivals and culinary treasures. You can find it all on Vancouver Island, from an incredible spa treatment to a canoeing expedition or a fascinating road trip. 

Fun Facts about Vancouver Island

This unique destination offers some pretty cool fun facts, starting with its size (460km in length and 100km in width) which is about the same as Holland. Other fun facts include the following:

  • The Douglas Fir Tree was first spotted in Vancouver Island by Archibald Menzies. 
  • Different from the mainland, Vancouver Island has no grizzly bears or mountain goats, but is plentiful in black bears and wolves.
  • The largest member of the squirrel family—the Vancouver Island marmot is one of the rarest mammals in the world. 
  • Vancouver Island’s Hornby Island and Nootka Sound are two of the few places in the world where divers can experience the thrill of encountering a six-gilled shark. 

Getting There

Visitors to the area can bring their vehicles via ferry service. Choices from Washington state are the Coho Ferry, offering service daily between downtown Victoria and Port Angeles; the Anacortes Ferry, operated by the Washington DOT and connecting Sidney with Anacortes; and a catamaran service (passenger only) through Clipper Navigation goes between Victoria and Seattle. There are also ferry services with BC Ferries connecting Vancouver Island to the mainland and other Gulf Island communities. 

Visitors can fly into Vancouver Island on several options from Calgary and Edmonton. From the states, flights to the Island are available from Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Portland with a handful of major airlines. Also, float planes can land in several remote locations. 

Vacation Rentals on Vancouver Island

When you plan your trip, browse Vancouver Island accommodations including condos and houses from one to six bedrooms. Find garden-view condos nestled on heritage property to historic district Victoria condos, as well.