I had the chance to live on beautiful Vancouver Island for 9 months while working as a Language Assistant in Comox. This job gave me the opportunity to travel, on the weekends, all around the island and discover some of the hidden, less known, beauties of this region. From white sand beaches to old growth forests, without forgetting the snow capped mountains and the turquoise waterfalls, this island has a lot to offer to nature lovers. And for those who prefer the city to the outdoors, Victoria is a beautiful city with its British heritage and architecture, museums, street artists and unique shops. I put together for you a short list of the most beautiful spots on Vancouver Island.
Mystic Beach is part of the Juan de Fuca trail on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. It is located approximately two hours North West of Victoria. This beach is only accessible via a 2 km trail from China Beach, but it is a quite easy trail, although it can get muddy. And believe me, the walk is totally worth it. Once you get to the beach, you will be welcomed by a beautiful sandy beach, turquoise water and, if the weather is clear, a view of the mountains of the Olympic National Park in Washington State. Once you start wandering on the beach, you will discover a waterfall coming down from the cliff and into the ocean as well as a rope swing over the water. I could have stayed for hours just looking at the view and having fun on the swing! Now, it has to be one of my favorite places on Vancouver Island.
Long Beach is located between Tofino and Ucluelet, on the West Coast of the island. It is one of the best surfing spots in Canada and one of the largest and longest beaches I have ever seen. It’s called Long Beach for a reason! It is a 16 kilometers long sandy beach with rugged islands that you can climb on at low tides. You can walk for hours in any direction while staying on the sand or you can rent a wetsuit and jump in. Just watch out for the waves and currents!
Cathedral Grove, part of Macmillan Provincial Park, is located on Highway 4, 16 kilometers East of Port Alberni. It is a pretty small park, but it is filled with gigantic 800-year-old trees. As soon as you enter the park, you feel like you have been shrunk to the size of a tiny bug. You would need 5 people holding hands to go all the way around some of these trees, which makes the park one of the most impressive parts of Vancouver Island. For more information and pictures, check out my article on Port Alberni right here.
Butchart Gardens is a private garden in the suburb of Victoria owned by the Butchart family. It was originally a limestone quarry until Jenny Butchart gradually transformed it into a garden starting in 1904. It is now a designated National Historic site of Canada. The garden has 6 different areas filled with flowers and decorations of different origins. The Mediterranean climate in Victoria allows for a wide variety of flowers and trees so there really is some of everything. There is a Japanese garden, rose garden, Italian garden, Mediterranean garden, fountains, light displays for Christmas Time and an array of activities year-round. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours, as there is so much to see and do.
I haven’t really explored the Malahat region, but I make it a mission to stop at all the viewpoints every time I come back from Victoria. The Malahat is… I don’t think you can call it a city or a village, but it’s an area on Highway 1, about an hour North of Victoria that is pretty elevated so you have an amazing view of the Saanich Inlet and the islands surrounding it. There are two different viewpoints from the highway that give you breathtaking views over the mountains and the islands and I make sure to stop at both of them, even though they offer similar views, because I just can’t get enough!
I don’t know if Downtown Victoria is absolutely gorgeous or if it just reminds me of Old Quebec which makes me like it more, but I just love that part of the city. The buildings look like they have so much history and there are castles and the parliament building is huge, plus, it is right on the water! And, there is a beautiful view of the mountains from the city. Honestly, I think the pictures kind of speak for themselves. For more pictures, check out my article on Victoria right here.
Meares Island is located right next to Tofino on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The island is home to a campground and hostel; you can also rent paddleboards, kayaks and canoes or hike the Lone Cone, a mountain in the center of the island. My favorite part of the island is the beach where you can have a campfire and watch the sunset on the Pacific Ocean.
Know any places you think should have made this list? Write them in the comments below so I know what to check out on my next trip to the island, but for now it’s off to the mainland for me! I’m so excited about my next adventure! Follow me on Instagram @myjourneytoadventure as I make my way across North America.
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