Vancouver Island BC Road Trip

vancouver island road trip itineraryTouring Vancouver, Ucluelet, Tofino, Parksville, and Victoria.

Day 1: Start by exploring the beautiful city of Vancouver, BC. Stay in the family-friendly Coast Plaza suites and take time to bike the nearby Sea Wall in Stanley Park or visit Canada Place.

Day 2: Take BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay on the mainland to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island. You’re headed for Ucluelet, a working fishing town on the West Coast. Drive north to Parksville, then head west across the island. The route is a windy three hours, but the beautiful scenery more than makes up for it. Stop for a snack (and to shop) at Coombs Village Market, where goats graze on the grass roof. Once in Ucluelet, check in at Black Rock Oceanfront Resort.

Day 3: Kayak in the Ucluelet Harbor and explore Pacific Rim National Park. Kayak tours of the peaceful Ucluelet Harbor can be arranged with Majestic Ocean Kayaking. After a morning on the water, drive the short few kilometers north to Pacific Rim National Park to watch the surfers, comb the area for wildlife to photograph, and make driftwood forts. Drive a few more minutes to Tofino and check into the Mackenzie Beach Resort.

Day 4 and Day 5: Spend your Tofino days on the beach–it’s right out your front door!–or exploring tide pools. If your family is adventurous, book a Tofino whale watching tour with Remote Passages in Tofino to see gray, humpback, and even Orca whales up-close from small vessels. Save time for a Meares Island hiking tour or even a surfing lesson.

Day 6: Head back across the island east to Parksville, and check in at the Tigh-Na-Mara Resort and Spa. Incredibly family-friendly, this oceanfront resort features cozy cabins and lodge rooms, an indoor swimming pool, beaches, playgrounds, and off-site activities. We saved time to golf with Tigh-Na-Mara and join their tide pool family excursion.

Day 7: Head south from Parksville toward Victoria BC. Explore the British Vibe downtown, or head outside the city to Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay. Families can head to the U.S. via ferry in adjacent Sidney BC or can spend the night in Victoria before retracing their steps north to Nanaimo and Vancouver.