Vancouver Island

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Vancouver Island - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Blue Grouse Estate Winery

    One of Vancouver Island's oldest estate vineyards, this family-owned, sustainably farmed winery is a favorite with the locals. Award-winning estate wines include Pinot Gris, Pinot...

    One of Vancouver Island's oldest estate vineyards, this family-owned, sustainably farmed winery is a favorite with the locals. Award-winning estate wines include Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Black Muscat, while the Quill label wines are blended with grapes from the Okanagan Valley. Locally made cheese and charcuterie boards, which pair perfectly with the wines, are served daily in the architecturally stunning Tasting Room. Lunch for two, including five wines, is $50.

    2182 Lakeside Rd., Duncan, British Columbia, V9L 6M3, Canada
    250-743–3834

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$10 for guided tasting of five wines, Closed Mon. and Tues., Reservations required
  • 2. Maquinna Marine Provincial Park

    Geothermal springs tumble down a waterfall and into a series of oceanside rock pools at idyllic Hot Springs Cove, accessible only by boat or air...

    Geothermal springs tumble down a waterfall and into a series of oceanside rock pools at idyllic Hot Springs Cove, accessible only by boat or air from Tofino. Here, day trips—which are offered by several Tofino outfitters—usually include a bit of whale-watching en route. Once you arrive at the park, there's a half-hour boardwalk trail through old-growth forest to the site. Another popular day trip is to Meares Island, where an easy 20-minute boardwalk trail leads to trees up to 1,600 years old.

    Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
  • 3. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

    This national park has some of Canada's most stunning coastal and rain-forest scenery, abundant wildlife, and a unique marine environment. It comprises three separate units—Long...

    This national park has some of Canada's most stunning coastal and rain-forest scenery, abundant wildlife, and a unique marine environment. It comprises three separate units—Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail—for a combined area of 123,431 acres, and stretches 130 km (81 miles) along Vancouver Island's west coast. More than 100 islands of the Broken Group Islands archipelago in Barkley Sound can be reached only by boat. The islands and their clear waters are alive with sea lions, seals, and whales, and because the inner waters are much calmer than the surrounding ocean, they provide an excellent environment for kayaking. Guided kayak and charter-boat tours are available from outfitters in Ucluelet, Bamfield, and Port Alberni. The most popular part of the park, and the only section that can be reached by car, is the Long Beach section. Besides the beach, the Long Beach section of the park is home to rich stands of old-growth forest, a wealth of marine and terrestrial wildlife (including black bears, cougars, and sea lions), and a network of coastal and rain-forest hiking paths. A first stop for any first-timer is the visitor center, which doubles as the Ucluelet Visitor Information Office. You can pick up maps and information, and pay park entrance fees here.

    2791 Pacific Rim Hwy., Ucluelet, British Columbia, V0R 2Z0, Canada
    250-726–3500

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$10.50
  • 4. Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards

    North Pender Island

    There are actually two vineyards on this lovely 26-acre property—the upper vineyard clings to Mount Menzies while the lower trails down to the sea—both kept...

    There are actually two vineyards on this lovely 26-acre property—the upper vineyard clings to Mount Menzies while the lower trails down to the sea—both kept trim by a resident flock of small Babydoll Southdown sheep. Vintages from the first two years proved so popular that the vineyard has now increased to maximum production capacity. The award-winning Ortega and Blanc de Noir continue to sell out. Enjoy appetizers from Truss Farm Food in the licensed picnic area off the Tasting Room.

    6621 Harbour Hill Dr., Pender Island, British Columbia, V0N 2M1, Canada
    250-629–6960

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$12 tasting flight of 3 wines, Closed Mon. and Tues.; closed Mon.–Thurs. Sept.–Apr.
  • 5. Westholme Tea Company

    Victor Vesely and Margit Nellemann have proven agriculture officials, who said tea couldn't be grown in Canada, wrong. They planted two terraces of Camellia sinensis...

    Victor Vesely and Margit Nellemann have proven agriculture officials, who said tea couldn't be grown in Canada, wrong. They planted two terraces of Camellia sinensis on about half an acre overlooking an old dairy barn in 2010. The barn has since been converted to a tea shop and gallery and their first crop of single-origin spring harvest tea, Swallow Tail Oolong, was released July 1, 2016. Also available are imported artisanal teas blended with herbs and flowers grown on the farm and popular Chinese zodiac–sign teas. The adjoining gallery features Margit's exquisite ceramic teapots and more. Book in for a Tea Tasting workshop or Tea Experience, including a guided tasting and tour of the tea garden.

    8350 Richards Trail, Duncan, British Columbia, V9L 6B2, Canada
    250-748–3811

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon. and Tues., Advance booking required for Tea Experiences
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  • 6. Ampersand Distillery

    Father-and-son duo Stephen and Jeremy Schacht built this craft distillery from the ground up, including designing and building their own unique stills. The award-winning gin...

    Father-and-son duo Stephen and Jeremy Schacht built this craft distillery from the ground up, including designing and building their own unique stills. The award-winning gin and vodka they produce here are made with certified organic wheat from the BC mainland and botanicals from around the world, such as Albanian coriander, African grains of paradise, and juniper berries from Bulgaria. They now grow their own wild-harvested botanicals on the five-acre site. Don't miss the "Nocino!", a seasonal green walnut liqueur which was awarded best nonfruit liqueur in the 2019 Pacific Northwest Sip Awards.

    4077 Lanchaster Rd., Duncan, British Columbia, V9L 6G2, Canada
    250-999–1109

    Sight Details

    Tasting room by appt.
  • 7. Averill Creek Vineyard

    It's all about the Pinot Noir at this estate winery. Even the rosé is 100% Pinot Noir. In the tasting room, take the Pinot glass...

    It's all about the Pinot Noir at this estate winery. Even the rosé is 100% Pinot Noir. In the tasting room, take the Pinot glass test to learn why the shape of the glass makes a difference to where you taste the wine on your palate (mid-palate being ideal for the delicate nature of Pinot). Try the Charme de L'Ile and Prevost Foch Cab before heading out to the patio overlooking the ocean with your favorite bottle and something off their snack menu or your own picnic. This is the perfect place to start or end a trip through the Cowichan Valley.

    6552 North Rd., Duncan, British Columbia, V9L 6K9, Canada
    250-709–9986

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed weekdays Jan. and Feb.
  • 8. British Columbia Forest Discovery Centre

    Kids adore riding the rails at the British Columbia Forest Discovery Centre, a 100-acre outdoor museum just north of Duncan. Pulled by a 1910 steam...

    Kids adore riding the rails at the British Columbia Forest Discovery Centre, a 100-acre outdoor museum just north of Duncan. Pulled by a 1910 steam locomotive, a three-carriage train toots through the woods and over a trestle bridge across a lake, stopping at a picnic site and playground on the way. Forestry-related exhibits around the site include a 1930s-era logging camp, historic logging equipment, and indoor exhibits about the modern science of forestry. Interpretive trails through the forest lead to ancient trees, one dating back more than 500 years. During July and August, a gas locomotive runs every hour. In May, June, and September, the train may be replaced with a gas locomotive.

    2892 Drinkwater Rd., Duncan, British Columbia, V9L 6C2, Canada
    250-715–1113

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$18
  • 9. Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park

    Easy hikes and a pretty pebble beach are the draws at this provincial park, at the end of a dirt road toward the southern end...

    Easy hikes and a pretty pebble beach are the draws at this provincial park, at the end of a dirt road toward the southern end of the island.

    Burgoyne Bay Rd., British Columbia, V8K 2A6, Canada
  • 10. Campbell Point

    Part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, this waterfront area has walking trails and, at Bennett Bay, one of the island's most scenic beaches....

    Part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, this waterfront area has walking trails and, at Bennett Bay, one of the island's most scenic beaches.

    Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada
  • 11. Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park

    Logging roads west of Port Renfrew lead to this vast, rugged wilderness park, home to some of the world's largest spruce trees, some more than...

    Logging roads west of Port Renfrew lead to this vast, rugged wilderness park, home to some of the world's largest spruce trees, some more than 800 years old, and ancient cedars over 1,000 years old. Be prepared with supplies, because this is an extremely remote region with no services whatsoever. Watch for logging trucks en route and bears once you're inside the park.

    Off Hwy. 14, Port Renfrew, British Columbia, V0S 1K0, Canada
    877-559–2115
  • 12. Cherry Point Estate Wines

    This 24-acre family-owned and -operated vineyard, one of the first licensed wineries in the Cowican Valley, is now the second-largest on Vancouver Island. The tasting...

    This 24-acre family-owned and -operated vineyard, one of the first licensed wineries in the Cowican Valley, is now the second-largest on Vancouver Island. The tasting room is open daily and features varietals including Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Ortega, Auxerrois, and Agria. The winery's highly rated bistro La Terraza serves lunch Thursday to Sunday from May to October.

    840 Cherry Point Rd., Cobble Hill, British Columbia, VOR 1L3, Canada
    250-743–1272
  • 13. Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre

    The interesting Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre has maritime paraphernalia, including historic vessels and model boats, displayed along a pier, which is also a great place...

    The interesting Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre has maritime paraphernalia, including historic vessels and model boats, displayed along a pier, which is also a great place to take in views of the village and boats at harbor. You may also be able to watch boatbuilders at work in the attached studio.

    1761 Cowichan Bay Rd., Cowichan Bay, British Columbia, VOR 1NO, Canada
    250-746–4955

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 14. Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives

    This small museum, in a 1912 train station, has exhibits and artifacts about the region's First Nations culture and pioneer history....

    This small museum, in a 1912 train station, has exhibits and artifacts about the region's First Nations culture and pioneer history.

    130 Canada Ave., Duncan, British Columbia, V9L 3Y2, Canada
    250-746–6612

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Admission by donation
  • 15. Damali Lavender and Winery

    Stroll the grounds, have a picnic or take a tour and tasting at this working lavender farm and winery. The original barn has been converted...

    Stroll the grounds, have a picnic or take a tour and tasting at this working lavender farm and winery. The original barn has been converted into a winery producing popular wines made from Cowichan Valley fruit. Pick up a bottle to enjoy with your own picnic in the licensed picnic area.

    3500 Telegraph Rd., Cobble Hill, British Columbia, V0R 1L4, Canada
    250-743–4100

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.–Wed., Free
  • 16. East Sooke Regional Park

    Hiking trails, tide pools, beaches, and views of the Olympic Mountains draw visitors to this more than 3,500-acre wilderness recreation park 2½ km (1½ miles)...

    Hiking trails, tide pools, beaches, and views of the Olympic Mountains draw visitors to this more than 3,500-acre wilderness recreation park 2½ km (1½ miles) east of Sooke on the south side of Sooke Harbour. The park's 10-km (6-mile) coast trail is rated one of the top day hikes in Canada, and the entire area is a birders' paradise, especially during the annual hawk migration from mid-September to late October.

    6807 East Sooke Rd., Sooke, British Columbia, V9Z 1A7, Canada
    250-478–3344
  • 17. Emandare Vineyard

    This small estate vineyard on a south slope overlooking Somenos Lake is a labor of love for husband-and-wife team Mike and Robin Nierychlo. The pair...

    This small estate vineyard on a south slope overlooking Somenos Lake is a labor of love for husband-and-wife team Mike and Robin Nierychlo. The pair purchased the property, which has some of the oldest Sauvignon Blanc vines on the island, in 2013. Since their first vintage the following year, the Sauv Blanc continually sells out. The property includes The Tractor Shed guest house, a 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom guest house, complete with a six-guest hot tub on the deck overlooking the lake. The tasting room is open three days a week or by appointment.

    6798 Norcross Rd., Duncan, British Columbia, V9L 6C3, Canada
    250-597–4075

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: By appointment
  • 18. Festival of Murals

    Chemainus is famous for its bold epic murals. The Chemainus Festival of Murals Society started a revitalization project in 1982 that has since brought in...

    Chemainus is famous for its bold epic murals. The Chemainus Festival of Murals Society started a revitalization project in 1982 that has since brought in international artists to paint more than 60 murals and 9 sculptures depicting local historical events around town. Follow the yellow footprints on the sidewalk around town for a self-guided tour of the murals. Or hop in a horse-drawn carriage for a narrated tour.

    102–9799 Waterwheel Cres., Chemainus, British Columbia, V0R 1K0, Canada
    250-210–3415

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 19. French Beach Provincial Park

    This provincial park, on the scenic Strait of Juan de Fuca 21 km (13 miles) west of Sooke, comprises a sand-and-pebble beach, a campground, and...

    This provincial park, on the scenic Strait of Juan de Fuca 21 km (13 miles) west of Sooke, comprises a sand-and-pebble beach, a campground, and seaside trails. The shoreline is an excellent spot for whale-watching, as migrating grays and resident killer whales often feed in the area. Amenities: toilets; showers; water sports. Best for: swimming; walking; windsurfing.

    Hwy. 14, Sooke, British Columbia, Canada
    250-474–1336
  • 20. Garry Oaks Winery

    This small winery, home to valley-view vineyards and a meditative labyrinth, produces estate-grown Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, a Chardonnay-Gewürztraminer blend, and an intriguing red made...

    This small winery, home to valley-view vineyards and a meditative labyrinth, produces estate-grown Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, a Chardonnay-Gewürztraminer blend, and an intriguing red made from Zweigelt grapes. It's open for tastings daily May through October from 11 am to 5 pm.

    1880 Fulford-Ganges Rd., British Columbia, V8K 2A5, Canada
    250-653–4687

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$5 tasting fee, Closed Nov. to Apr.

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