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Travelling Vancouver Island

Our Guide To Exploring the Canadian West Coast’s Island Lifestyle

Welcome to Vancouver Island, the home of BC’s capital city and some of the best surfing beaches in the country. If you’re looking to visit a place filled with diverse landscapes, beautiful nature and endless adventure, travelling Vancouver Island is the right choice. Canada isn’t all snow capped mountains and cold weather– and Vancouver Island is proof of that (though it does have mountains too). Rainforests, sunny beaches, cool natural springs and more await. So, come on over and experience Canadian island living for yourself.

Travelling Vancouver Island With FML Adventures

About Vancouver Island

Stretching across 460 kilometres, Vancouver Island is an ocean-carved destination perfect for any kind of traveller. It’s a place for rest and recharge in city centres like Victoria or in eclectic communities in small towns and harbours along the way. Or, its place of wild adventure in rustic surf towns and lush wilderness parks. Either way, this destination has everything you could want all packaged into a small island off the coast of British Columbia. 

 

Found on the traditional and ancestral territories of the Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Coast Salish peoples, Van Isle is home to 50 cities and towns and about 3,400 kilometres of coastline (aka beaches for days). So, if you’re looking for a beach getaway, try Canada. It might be the underdog when it comes to beach destinations, but it is definitely worth visiting. 

Island weather

Vancouver Island has some of the warmest temperatures in Canada, so if you’re thinking of bringing a thick parka, this is not the part of the country for that. On average, the coldest temperature is -2° Celsius in the winter and the average high is 23° Celsius in the summer. However, if you’re climbing up mountains, don’t be surprised if you see snow-capped peaks year-round.

 

The island sees an average of 20,000 millimetres of rain per year, with Port Renfrew and Tofino seeing the most. Victoria, on the other hand, sees the lease because of the rain shadow caused by the mountains and the mainland. This region is also home to severe winter squalls - aka sudden bursts of white out blizzards. But, for the most part, it is the warmest place in Canada.


British Columbia as a whole is also an area that faces a lot of wildfires during the summer so if you’re planning on exploring Vancouver Island when things start to get hotter in Canada, we recommend the BC Wildfire Service app to keep in the know of the latest fires and areas to avoid.

Fun Facts about the island

Need a little more incentive to explore the island? The island is the unique home of a Guinness World Record holder and nature you just won’t find the same way anywhere else. 

 

  • The largest hockey stick in the world, Duncan, BC.

It may not be a surprise that Canada holds a hockey stick world record, but this stick measures in at a gigantic 62.48 metres at the Cowichan Community Centre. Originally commissioned by Canada’s Federal Government for the 1986 Expo in Vancouver, the hockey gear has been on display in Duncan since 1988. It is 40 times the size of a regular stick and comes with a puck as well.

 

  • Canada's highest waterfall, Della Falls near Campbell River.

It descends from the mountains on Vancouver Island at a nearly vertical drop of 440 metres. The name comes from Joe Drinkwater, a trapper and prospector who first visited the falls in 1899 and named it after his wife. Della Falls is formed by the glacier-fed lake (Della Lake), which is found at an elevation of 1,080 metres in the mountains of Strathcona Provincial Park.

 

  • The Vancouver Island Marmot, Vancouver Island.

This marmot is only found on the island, hence the name. It is one of five animals to live only in Canada. In 2007, only 30 of this species remained in the country and they were on the edge of extinction. However, since then, they have become a national mascot for conservation earning the nickname “Canada’s panda.” The Marmot Recovery Foundation has since counted 250-300 left in the wild as of 2015, and, because of new suitable areas to live, they have spread across Vancouver Island after only thriving in the subalpine meadows of the Nanaimo lakes region.

Exploring Vancouver Island

Our favourite places to visit on Van isle

Vancouver Island is typically split into six major regions: North Island, Central Island, South Island, the Gulf Islands, Cowichan and the Pacific Rim. Throughout the entire area, there are tons of places to travel, but here are some of the top destinations on the island.

Brewery Hopping in Victoria

Victoria is a major city filled with all kinds of people trying to make the next great drink, so there are tons of breweries to choose from while you're visiting. So, why not try them all?

A Travel Guide to Our Favourite Things to do on the Island

The BEST WAYS TO TRAVEL AROUND THE ISLAND

Around the island, there are tons of places to travel, and they are not all that close together even though it is an island, so the best way to get around is really by car or RV (or Brent the Bus if you’re on an FML Adventure). The island is built for road travel with rest stops along all the highways, lookouts to stop at and bonus, the views while driving are amazing. 

 

If renting is not in the cards, there is always public transit. Each community has their own transit system so travelling from town to town is not the easiest with the transit system. However, there are also coach and shuttle buses that travel across the island to various destinations as scheduled public commuter services. So, it’s still public transit but think of double-decker coach buses on the highway.

Vancouver Island Travel Guide

Group Tours on Vancouver Island

Alternatively, group tours are a great way to get around the island and explore as much as you can all while securing safe and simple transportation and gaining some friends along the way. It is the perfect way to travel as a solo traveller or backpacker and a great way to discover new places, meet new people and learn more about the island from local tour guides. 

 

We may be a little biased because this is the FML way of travelling Canada, but hey, it's a great way to get around.

Planning a trip to Explore Vancouver Island?

If you’re planning on travelling Vancouver Island and are not sure what to do, let FML take the lead. Travelling to Vancouver Island is a time to relax and enjoy so join our Vancouver Island Adventure running every summer and taking all the planning off your hands. The itinerary is already prepped and ready to visit some top destinations on Vancouver Island and experience everything we can while we’re there. Visit our tour page to learn more.