Vancouver Island

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With a few days in the area, you have time to explore farther on Vancouver Island than just Victoria. Sooke and the Southwest Coast, the Cowichan Valley, or one of the Gulf Islands can make an easy day-trip from Victoria, though any of them can warrant a weekend or longer for more serious exploration. These three regions around Victoria can be connected, so you don't have to retrace your steps. More time? Head northwest for the stunning coastal wilderness of Tofino, Ucluelet, and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

How to choose? For wilderness beaches and forested hiking trails, take Highway 14 or cycle the Galloping Goose Trail to Sooke and the southwest coast. For food, wine, and First Nations culture, head north over the stunning Malahat drive to the Cowichan Valley. Arts,Read More
crafts, kayaking, white-shell beaches, and a touch of neo-hippie island culture await those who visit Salt Spring Island, especially on market Saturdays (Salt Spring is also the only side trip easily manageable by public transport). You can truly get away from it all on the islands of Galiano, Mayne, or Pender. For families, the Cowichan Valley, with its interesting nature centers, has the most obvious kid appeal, though all three destinations have beaches, forests, and cute farm animals.

Wherever you go, food will play a big part in your experience. Vancouver Islanders are often credited with starting the "locavore" movement. Wild salmon, Pacific oysters, locally made artisanal cheeses, forest-foraged mushrooms, organic vegetables, local microbrews, and even wines from the island's family-run wineries can all be sampled here.

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Language

English, French

Electrical Outlets

110v/60 cycles; electrical plugs have two flat prongs (the same as in the U.S.).

Nearby Airports

YYJ, YAZ

Currency

Canadian dollar

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