Vancouver Island is truly the gem of the Pacific Coast. It is the largest island on the Pacific coast of North America at 290 miles(460 KM) in length and 62 (100 KM )miles in width. It is 4 times the size of England, the 11th largest island in Canada and 43rd largest island in the world.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find endless things to do here. The beauty of it is overwhelming. It has miles of forests and boasts 83 provincial parks. Ideal for exploring, hiking and camping. The coastlines offer fabulous ocean views, storm watching, surfing, whale watching, boating and fishing.
A popular hiking trail on the island is the famous West Coast trail. This trail is truly for experienced hikers that are prepared to spend 5 to 7 days in the wilderness , without cell service. It is certainly not for the weak of heart ! The trail takes you through rugged terrain and encounters with wildlife are common. It has nearly 70 ladders that at some point you will either be going up or down, some as high as 30 feet. The trail runs from Gordon River to Bamfield and is about 47 miles (88 km) long. To hike the trail reservations are necessary and several fees are involved.
If you prefer more traditional tourist adventures, the island is full of history, historic buildings and tourist attractions. Victoria, the capital of British Columbia is a tourist haven. Here you can take in the charms of an old Victorian era. There are many heritage buildings and homes that offer tours and a glimpse into the past.
One of Canada’s grand railway hotels is located in the heart of the city. The regal Empress Hotel, built in 1908 offers fine dining, high tea and unique shops . The city also boasts some of the most beautiful gardens on the West Coast. It is also home to the Parliament buildings and the ever so popular B.C. Museum, always offering amazing exhibits.
If you are not impressed by the hustle and bustle of cities, the island boast plenty of small towns and communities where you can take in nature, history and lots of island charm.
I highly recommend visiting and enjoying the natural beauty of the island. Be prepared to spend a week or more to take in key sights, view whales, sea lions and eagles. Longer stays allow for more adventure and allows for trips to the many small islands surrounding it.