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A week on Vancouver Island

Olympia, Washington
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A week on Vancouver Island
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Pandemic permitting, we’re planning a week-long trip to the Island, probably in June. We’ll be coming up from Washington state on the Port Angles ferry. From my research I have a general idea of the island, but am a little unclear on the roads. Does the road on the south side allow you to drive from Victoria to Ucluelet/Tofino? Or do you use Highway 1 for travel, with “side trips” to places like Tofino?

I’d love some thoughts on best things to do and see within a week. We are active 60 somethings who enjoy sight seeing a light hiking.

Thanks so much for your help!

14 replies to this topic
Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: A week on Vancouver Island
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I highly doubt the border will be opened by June. Best to plan this for next year.

Penticton, Canada
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2. Re: A week on Vancouver Island
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hi

when the border opens

From Victoria the best way to get to Tofino you have to drive north in the middle of the Island then head west to get to Tofino there is no road that goes along the west coast. The Pacific Marine Drive does not connect to Tofino and is in the middle of the forest on what used to be a Forestry Logging road that is now paved.

There is enough to do in between Ucluelet (Ukee) and Tofino with that Pacific Rim National Park Long Beach unit and the Wild Pacific Trail in Ukee

the latter has been discovered so it does get really really busy in the summer time. They also promote storm watching in Jan-March.

Google maps https://goo.gl/maps/Gnr5DRJW8uaGKXvH6 and this is the one going there via Port Renfrew https://goo.gl/maps/eXCn543uE4ZU8x2r9

this is a site for Sooke and Port Renfrew https://sooke-portrenfrew.com/accommodations/campgrounds-rv-resorts/

for west coast https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/visit/brochures and http://www.wildpacifictrail.com/

Olympia, Washington
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3. Re: A week on Vancouver Island
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Thanks so much!

Alberta, Canada
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The border isn’t expected to open until September at the earliest.

Perhaps you should focus on planning for 2022.

Olympia, Washington
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5. Re: A week on Vancouver Island
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I imagine it might be a beautiful trip I the Fall as well! Thx

Olympia, Washington
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Thx - you’re probably right. At least I’ll be ready when the border opens. It looks like a beautiful island.

Calgary, Canada
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Absolutely get all your planning in now so that you're ready once the border re-opens.

Penticton, Canada
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FYI the reply button does not attach to a post. You can use any reply button then add @xxxxx if you need to address a certain person. All reply buttons do the same thing; your post goes to the end of the thread

Yes a fall trip after Labour Day weekend but before Oct 11 (Canada Thanksgiving) there will be "stuff" open.

After Thankgiving the National Park will be very quiet and a better chance of getting a hotel on short notice. Victoria on the other hand is busy most of the year.

There are whale watching boat trips in the fall and there are boat trips on the east side of the Island in Campbell River that go out for watching grizzly feed on salmon.

West Grey, Canada
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9. Re: A week on Vancouver Island
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>>It looks like a beautiful island.<<

Vancouver Island is approx. 31,285 km2 (12,079 sq mi)

It’s almost as large as the state of Maryland 32,131 km2 (12,405 sq mi)

For comparison, Belgium is approx. 30,528 km2 (11,787 sq mi)

1 week will go by quickly!

Best Regards

Vancouver, Canada
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Highway 1 is the main highway up the Island as far as Nanaimo. Then the number changes to Hwy 19 to continue on the Inland Island Highway to north Island. The old Island Highway 19A runs along the waterfront on Georgia Strait (Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Courtenay Comox and Campbell River) then on to Highway 19 again to Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Telegraph Cove.

Highway 4 runs west to Tofino and Ucluelet from near Nanaimo/Parksville. Highway 14 runs from Victoria to Port Renfrew and back.

Nearly half the 870K population on the Island live in the Greater Victoria area, so you can drive through some fairly isolated areas north of Campbell River. The west coast of the Island is for the most part accessed by boat.

If you have only a week you may have to plan carefully. As you may know, the Coho Ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria Harbour has about 4 or 5 runs in the summer reducing to 1 or 2 in the winter.

The run is 90 min with an hour wait in advance of boarding the ferry, then you would need to allow 5 hours, plus any stops, to get to Tofino. That would be a fairly big day of travel by including the ferry ride. You could get a boost if you could add a day to get to Victoria and another day to go home from Victoria, leaving your full 6 nights/7 days of time actually on the Island. If you can get the Coho on a morning ferry, you would get more time on the Island, then take an afternoon ferry at the end of your week back to the US.

Travellers sometimes stay in Victoria for 1N. Then drive to Tofino for 3N. Back to Victoria in 5 hours, plus any stops, for 3 final nights before catching the Coho back to WA State.

Edited: 27 March 2021, 09:18
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