Deciding between a boreal adventure with dense forest hikes and a trip to the Pacific Ocean? You’re in luck – you don’t have to settle for one or the other.
Vancouver Island, a Canadian Island off the coast of Vancouver and a stone’s throw from Seattle, is the perfect marriage of temperate rainforest and Pacific Ocean. Tall firs and spruces bow over the lapping waves. Small cities and towns dot the coastline, offering exciting activities, delicious Pacific Northwest cuisine and marvelous sightseeing. Ski hills, hiking trails, surf spots and laid-back, artistic communities are everywhere you look.
If you’re looking to take a quick vacation, Travelzoo offers last minute vacations everyday to destinations throughout the Pacific Northwest, including this island gem. For a trip to Vancouver Island, be sure to check out these cities, attractions and hotspots!
Victoria is the largest city on the island and will likely be your entry point. As tempting as it may be to scoot off to all the island’s activities right away – skiing, hiking and surfing, etc. – don’t leave Victoria too quickly.
The inner harbor, overlooking ships, pedestrian promenades and the stately British Columbian parliament building, flanks the city center. Stroll inland and you’ll find historical buildings, hip shopping areas, museums, British-style pubs, parks and lots of gardens. The city feels at once modern and lost in time.
For a glimpse of the surrounding marine life, you can take whale-watching tours to see the local orcas, which you can book through Travelzoo for a great deal.
The unofficial surf capital of Canada, Tofino is a laid-back Oceanside town with plenty of cool. Don’t worry – if you’re averse to being thrown around by waves, surfing isn’t a must here. Even without a surfboard, you can still enjoy the stretching sandy beaches, forest hikes, harborfront marina and amazing seafood tacos (that’s right – Tofino is taco-obsessed, as we all are!)
Cathedral Grove is where you go on Vancouver Island to stand in awe of nature. Nestled in MacMillian Provincial Park, midway up the island, the Grove is home to massive Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce trees, some over 800 years old and over 250 feet high. A short walk is all you need to soak in the majesty of these ancient trees, but a day-long hike is possible for the more nature-inclined traveller.
Mount Washington Park
You can’t leave the Pacific Northwest without first launching yourself down a ski hill (or simply sipping hot chocolate at the ski chalet). Mount Washington is the place to do it. The park boasts pristine, powdery snow in the winter and downhill bike trails in the summer. Smaller than its mainland counterpart – Whistler, the site of many 2010 Vancouver Olympic competitions – Mount Washington nevertheless offers world-class skiing.
Whether as part of a larger vacation deal with Travelzoo, exploring the Pacific Northwest, or as a standalone trip, Vancouver Island is a double feature of surf and turf that’s not to be missed!