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If you were to rent a house on Vancouver Island......

If you were to rent a house on Vancouver Island......

Oct 30th, 2008, 08:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,265
If you were to rent a house on Vancouver Island......

for about a week next summer, where would it be?

There will be 5 of us, including 2 teens and a 75 year-old. We don't like to spend time packing/unpacking or checking in/out of lodging. We would like to find a place with a nice view, where interesting day trips are possible. We would like some activities (maybe kayaking or other water sports, a little light hiking, but no fishing), charming towns, sight-seeing and just soaking up the local culture.

The Sooke area looks interesting because of the possibility of daytrips into Victoria. I have read lots of great things about Tofino, also.

At this point, this is very tentative and hinges on the decision about another planned trip, so I am just beginning my research. I'm hoping that the helpful Canadian experts can point me in the right direction.

lvk is offline  
Oct 30th, 2008, 10:56 AM
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Given your interests you might want to consider the eastern side of the island, somewhere north of Nanaimo. You won't have the spectacular oceans views of the west side but the east side is incredibly beautiful as well.
colduphere is offline  
Oct 30th, 2008, 11:25 AM
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Well, if *I* were going it would be Tofino, hands down! I can't get enough of that place ;-)!

But it's pretty isolated so daytrips to other places aren't really possible. So if that's really important to you the Sooke area might be a good option.

I'd suggest that consider you staying in Victoria a couple days, then heading to Tofino for the balance of the week.
NWWanderer is offline  
Oct 30th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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I agree with NWWanderer. Tofino would be my number one pick as it's exactly what you're seeking. Most of the accommodation there isn't in the village of Tofino, but somewhere along the 40 odd kilometers of coastline between Tofino and Ucluelet. You could spend several days exploring all the different trails, vistas, and beaches within Pacific Rim National Park. When you want to explore little towns, head into Tofino for the afternoon, and Ucluelet for another afternoon. Tofino has more to see/do by the way of little restaurants, tiny shops and galleries. It's very cute. Ucluelet is more residential by nature and is less charming, but you can still explore around the area.

On your drive over to the Tofino area, you will be passing by small towns along the way. The most notable is Coombs, which has a famous market.
BC_Robyn is offline  
Oct 30th, 2008, 09:15 PM
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Hi IvK,

I would suggest staying in the Parksville or Nanaimo area. There's so much to do and great kayaking on the Nanaimo river. We've done it many times and all ages can do it.

You would be close enough to take the one hour drive to Victoria.

There's a great market in Coombs. A short drive from Nanaimo or Parksville. Parksville has a great family friendly beach. They also have a great mini golf for the kids.

Tofino is beautiful but like others have said quite isolated.

Sooke is another beautiful area with great beaches and hiking. But it is a bit of a drive on a winding road that can seem tedious if driving everyday to do trips to Victoria and area.

We've booked a house in Sooke for this summer because we've been to the other areas mentioned many times over the past 20 plus years. We want to stay in one spot and just do some beachcombing. Maybe go into Victoria for some shopping and great seafood.

No matter where you stay you'll have a great time.
traveljunkie28 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2008, 03:23 PM
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Or you could flip your question on it's head.
Stay in Sooke so you can do daytrips (note your plural) into Victoria, or stay in Victoria and do a daytrip (note the singular) to Sooke.
From Victoria, Sooke, or even Botanical Beach in Jordan River, Parksville/Qualicam and even Coombs are daytrips.
Stay centally with the benefits of diverse dining and travel ruraly, or stay ruraly and travel to the center.
So many options.
icithecat is offline  
Nov 18th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Thanks for all of the replies. It looks more likely now that this trip will be happening. (Our Greek Island sailing trip is being postponed )

In doing more research, it seems like flying into Vancouver will add hours of traveling by car and ferry. Flying directly into Victoria would be cheaper and more convenient for us.

We don't want to stay right in the city, so are looking for houses near Victoria. This one, in the community of Metchosin looks interesting: www.vrbo.com/44318

Are there any other communities near Victoria where I should be looking? Sooke is definitely still in the mix.

We would also appreciate any advice about whale watching expeditions out of Victoria. Any other activity recommendations will also be welcome. Butchart Gardens is also on the list, as is a bit of golfing.

I realize that we will only be seeing a tiny tip of the island, (I read somewhere that the island is the size of Holland!) but we don't really want to spend a great deal of time in planes, boats and automobiles just getting to our destination.

Thanks again for any help!
lvk is offline  
Nov 19th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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I must agree with the Tofino recommendations: whale watching, hiking, beach-combing, watching the wildlife, watching the crashing waves right off the Pacific Ocean. Certainly, more than enough to do for a week.

I also recommend one of the Gulf Islands (the Canadian islands, which are the same island chain as the San Juan Islands). My favorite is Gabriola Island, where I spent many weeks of summer vacations. There is a 10 minute ferry ride from Nanaimo and it has great beachcombing, quiet roads for cycling, farmer's markets, artist studios. It is a really special place. We ate many ice creams at Silva Bay watching the big yachts and power boats from Vancouver, along with many seaplanes. There are other islands, all with excellent ferry service, but Gabriola Island has a special charm.

Best Regards,
limazulu is offline  
Nov 21st, 2008, 08:13 AM
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well, unless you are interested in shopping, museums and such...my vote would go to tofino. we rented a really nice condo on chesterman beach and were really happy. fully stocked kitchen, bbq, deck for sitting and watching the surfers. have the teens ever tried surfing...that's usualy fun for that age group. there are hotsprings that is a cool way to spend one day http://www.tofinotime.com/main.htm?f...Sfrm.htm~BDfrm
we went on a boat ride around the area and saw severals eagles & bears. ucuelet (how ever you spell that) is a really quant town to waunder around for 1/2 day. in the other direction, you have tofino which has several restaurants.
beautiful beaches to walk and many hikes available.
the drive from victoria is really beautiful. you will spend most of one day getting there. a stop at cathedral grove is a nice place to stop.
ltt is offline  
Nov 26th, 2008, 07:54 PM
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Where would one recommend we stay if we want to do some kayaking/canoeing??? Planning to go around february. The Tofino area seems really cool but it seems like it'll be dangerous to kayak onthe west coast of the island. Is it better to boat on the east coast, the river or lake?? any help is greatly appreciated.
kevin109 is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 05:18 AM
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I wonder if you're thinking of Victoria as a bustling city? It's really not a huge city and has very short streets near the waterfront that make it easier than other cities. It has wonderful waterfront walkways and is a very beautiful place to stay.

We looked into staying outside the city and found it much easier and more interesting to do it the other way around......staying in Victoria and day tripping to outlying beaches and areas.

I love Victoria.....I've walked so many miles in that city. I always look toward an early spring visit and so often it doesn't work out but I hope maybe spring of 2010 will be our turn again.
Timlin is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 05:59 AM
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For accessibility, I would choose either Nanaimo, Parksville or the Comox Valley. There are many activities in all of these communities that cater to a variety of age ranges.

Tofino-Uclelet is a gorgeous area, but unless you're in to some of the more rigorous outdoor activities (hiking, kayaking, surfing, rockclimbing) you may be somewhat limited in what you can do there. Walking along the beach is lovely, but it really can't take up your whole day, and I fear that the 75 year old in your party may have little to do for entertainment in the area.

Keep in mind as well that everyone goes to Tofino in the summer, including Island residents, meaning that the population explodes and it is hands down the busiest place on the island.

The Duncan-Cowichan region is also very nice, and is within day-trip range to the Gulf Islands, Victoria, Nanaimo and Coombs. The area is also known for its agritourism, artisans, vineyards and First Nations Culture and Heritage.

I hope you enjoy your visit!

For more Travel Stories, reviews and information about Vancouver Island, British Columbia, check out my travel blog: www.explorevancouverisland.ca
ellelit is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 10:45 AM
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Just to let you know, the Tofino area in February will be cold and wet. I think you would do better staying in the Nanaimo or Duncan area and taking day trips.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 11:52 AM
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All of coastal British Columbia is cold and wet in February, including Nanaimo and Duncan.
Carmanah is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 09:18 PM
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For Kevin109.

People go to Tofino in Feb to watch the fierce storms rolling in from the Pacific.
You couldn't pay me enough to launch there then.
But surfers love it.
They rent ride On not In kayaks and full wet suits if you are up for it.
icithecat is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 10:04 PM
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lvk, You might also take a day trip to the Gulf Islands. Saltspring has a wonderful market on Saturdays, I believe. The ferry trip is fun.

Also Sidney Spit is amazing. You can get a little taxi to it from Sidney in the summer. (It's on a little island.) There are great tidepools, walks through forest and fields. You could picnic there.

There is great kayaking in Montague Harbor on Galiano Island....

Would you think of staying for a few days on one of the Gulf Islands?
Orcas is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 10:04 PM
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I should add the Sidney Spit trip is from Vancouver Is itself, and does not require taking a ferry to a Gulf Island.
Orcas is offline  
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