Victoria, located in the south of Vancouver Island, is less well known than some other Canadian cities. However, nearly 4 million tourists flock to Victoria each year to explore its scenic ocean views, historic sites and trendy bars and restaurants.
The Island has an endless list of things to do. Here are a selection of things to do on Vancouver Island to give you an idea of all that Canada’s West Coast has to offer.
1. The Inner Harbor
Victoria, known as a maritime port, is still home to a bustling harbor with sea planes, ferries and tour boats lining the waterfront. The place where they all meet is called the Inner Harbor and has many famous landmarks, including the famous Empress Hotel, one of Victoria’s oldest hotels (over a hundred years old!) … Home to celebrities and royalty alike, this luxurious chateau hotel is definitely worth a visit.
Another famous landmark is the British Columbia Parliament Building . This imposing structure, built in 1897, houses the provincial government and sparkles at night.
2. Dallas Road and the Ogden point Breakwater
Victoria is located on the south side of Vancouver Island, offering amazing views of the ocean and the distant Olympic Mountains in Washington. Dallas Road is a street that runs along this southern edge and has some stunning walking paths and stairs to the beach where you can see tourists and locals alike. The culmination of this path is the Ogden Point Breakwater, a path that extends to the waters of the ocean. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for photography and occasional sightings of wildlife, seals and even whales!
3. Beacon Hill Park
This 200-acre park in South Victoria is one of the city’s highlights! The local flora and fauna are fully represented in the park in various areas. Fields, forests, ponds and much more are home to herons, turtles, otters, native owls and birds.
There is a water park, many tennis courts and a petting zoo for children and adults alike … Paying tribute to the indigenous people of C unhi , at the entrance to the park is a totem pole that is the fourth largest in the world. During the summer, you can see concerts, films and events in the park throughout the season.
4. Kayak / Paddleboard at Willow’s Beach
Victoria has no shortage of beautiful beaches, but this one is perhaps the most beautiful. Protected from the open sea by natural rock formations, it is the ideal place to relax in the city. Play beach games or jog in the nearby park and enjoy the old-fashioned diner at the entrance. If you really want to explore the area, hop on the water and rent a kayak or kayak to see the ocean as it should have been: up close!
5. Whales in the Salish Sea
Vancouver Island is home to many amazing animals, but none are more majestic or revered than our local whale population. Killer whales are famous in the region, but there are also humpback whales, gray whales and various porpoises that swim in the local waters. Travel on a high-speed luxury catamaran or small zodiac boat into the open ocean and see one of the most amazing creatures on Earth in its natural habitat.
6. Fan Tan Alley
This is an old play hallway that has been converted into a lively tourist destination with local shops, galleries, apartments and offices. It also holds the record for the narrowest street in Canada, measuring only 0.9 meters (35 inches) at its narrowest point.
7. Goldstream National Park Trestle and Salmon Run
The Goldstream National Park is a short drive from Victoria. There are many hiking trails and camping sites. But most visitors come here to climb the old abandoned railroad overpass for viewing and for selfies.
If you go to the golden stream in late October or early December, you can also see the amazing natural phenomenon of running salmon. Hordes of salmon float from the ocean upstream to their birthplace to begin a new generation. It’s incredible and there are frequent educational presentations to learn more.
8. East Sooke Park
This is another provincial park that is a short drive from Victoria. Although instead of towering views and dense forests, you can enjoy panoramic ocean views. There are many trails in East Sooke , but the most famous of them is the Juan de Fuca Trail, which follows the water’s edge and takes you just meters from the ocean! Take your camera and lunch with you and watch the seals and whales at the water’s edge.
9. Drive to Tofino
Victoria is arguably the largest city on Vancouver Island, but there are many more amazing places scattered throughout the island. As the locals say, you can drive “to the island” to some of the world’s most famous destinations, including Nanaimo and Comox. However, none is more famous than Tofino: a beautiful seaside community protected by a group of islands.
This place is famous for incredible views, surfing, hot springs and adventure tourism. Sleep in style at a luxury resort, or do it on a tight budget and meet interesting people at local hostels. Nobody should miss Tofino!
10. Explore the Gulf islands
If you take a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, you will pass through a group of islands called the South Bay Islands. Life on such a small island may seem distant, but these islands are full of rich history, communities and culture, as well as exotic nature to explore.
Salt Spring Island is the largest and most popular, and is held here every Saturday famous outdoor market. But the Hornby and Galliano islands are also popular destinations. Take a ferry to either of these destinations and discover the secrets of each island, such as hidden restaurants, secret swimming spots, and secluded nature trails. Vancouver Island is not the only island to explore!