We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Where to stay/explore on Island?

San Luis Obispo
Level Contributor
266 posts
68 reviews
Save Topic
Where to stay/explore on Island?

Hi,

Staying 7 nights total on Vancouver Island, flying in late to Victoria on June 24. Never been here and wondering where to stay. Thinking of splitting trip up with 2 locations, staying perhaps on west side and then (what looks like the quieter east side.)

Not sure what all to see and do and where we should stay to see the sights. Like to be out in nature, kayak, hike a little, sit and stare at the views. Do not want to do a ton of driving but want to explore island a bit. Think we should stay in Victoria a couple of nights and see the town, museums, gardens, highlights. (have not researched it much yet).

Seems there are more places to stay on east side-between Victoria and Sidney, though that Sooke area looks very relaxing. Oh, we are a couple and our 19 yr old daughter (she can sleep on a sofa bed) :D

Last minute trip planning help please!

thanks, Susan

calgary
Level Contributor
3,971 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Where to stay/explore on Island?

While the Sooke area is nice, I think you might want to research going all the way up to Tofino and the Long Beach area - lots more hikes, kayakying etc. there. Two nights in Victoria will give you lots of time to see the town, museum and Butchart Gardens.

http://www.my-tofino.com/

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
24,676 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Where to stay/explore on Island?

Oh, yes, you can't come to the island and not go to the area around Barkley Sound - Tofino, Uclulet (sp?), Bamfield.

If you really can't bring yourselves to do the 5 hr drive from Victoria to get there, then you could go up to Port Renfrew for similar scenery, but I don't think there's much out that area.

Otherwise, look at the Southern Gulf Islands (Saltspring is the largest and most developed, Galiano is a personal fav), and places like Parksville and Qualicum Beach for nice destinations.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
Destination Expert
for British Columbia
Level Contributor
8,156 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Where to stay/explore on Island?

The east side of the Island is the most settled so it depends what you mean by 'quieter'.

Lots of hiking/biking in the Victoria area

http://www.gallopinggoosetrail.com/

Port Renfrew as mentioned is an excellent choice for a feel of the west coast especially if you don't feel like following all the lemmings to Long Beach, it's possible to hike parts the Juan de Fuca trail on the way, no need to do the whole thing, some unique and appealing beaches along the way, great Kayaking around PR itself.

You can then take the back road from PR to the Cowichan Valley almost all paved now.

www.clubtread.com/sforum/forum.asp…

http://portrenfrew.com/botbeach.htm

http://www.soulecreeklodge.com/

San Luis Obispo
Level Contributor
266 posts
68 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Where to stay/explore on Island?

Wow, thanks for all the info and links. It all looks so enticing but knowing we cannot do it all will have to save something for next time though I really want to check out that Galloping Goose Trail.

Do not really have the desire to drive 5 hours on this trip so I am going to investigate some of the other locals mentioned here.

Now I must decide between the west and east. Renfrew area looks nice but so does that Galiano Island. Is that Cowichan Valley road a nice drive? Decisions...decisions...

Need to research some more and am sure will have more questions. thanks again! Susan

calgary
Level Contributor
3,971 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Where to stay/explore on Island?

The drive to the Cowichan Valley is lovely and there are some great wineries there if you're into wine tasting.

Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver Island
Level Contributor
2,474 posts
146 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Where to stay/explore on Island?

The road from Port Renfrew - the "back way" is, as Sam says, mostly all paved now. When I did it last year the part that wasn't paved was well kept and might even be paved now. It's a nice drive at any rate. You come out at Duncan. It's about a 4 hr drive not counting stopping to see the sights, but it could easy be a nice whole day trip.

Cowichan Bay
Level Contributor
16 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: Where to stay/explore on Island?

If you make the trip to Cowichan whether you tour via Port Renfrew or up the malahat, be sure to stop in at Cowichan Bay Village...but make sure you stop in here Wed-Sunday so the bakery is open! www.cowichanbay.com check trip advisor for some great recommended places to stat on Cowichan Bay!

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
6 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Where to stay/explore on Island?

I just returned from Sooke and a first time trip to the island. The Sooke Harbor and beach resort are condo's very reasonbly priced http://www.sookeharbourmarina.ca/ on the ocean front. 32 miles outside of Victoria. Galloping goose trail is nearby and the sooke pot holes are just around the corner. Kayak's are available there as well as crab pots. We are a couple with 2-13 yr olds. We took day trips to Victoria and Butchart gardens. It was not a ton of driving.

San Luis Obispo
Level Contributor
266 posts
68 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Where to stay/explore on Island?

Thanks all,

We have decided to wing it a bit. taking notes from here and computer to check out lodging while on the way. Staying 2-3 nights in Victoria at the Best Western, do the gardens, town, tea, sightseeing and then head up the island. Want to see a bit of the coast, mtns., definitely do some wine tasting, kayaking, and hopefully some whales. Here we go......!!!

Susan

Seattle
Level Contributor
4,398 posts
1 review
Save Reply
10. Re: Where to stay/explore on Island?

Have fun! And please post about your experience, it'll be good to hear how it goes without pre-reserving places. Hopefully since most of your trip is before Canada Day you'll be fine.