One of our very best road trips was Vancouver Island with a side trip to the Gulf Islands. We flew direct Air Canada from Toronto to Victoria, British Columbia. It is easy to drive around Vancouver Island. We spent time in Victoria, the Juan de Fuca Trail, Tofino, and took the car ferry to Salt Spring Island. Our total road trip was over 800 kilometres (500 miles). Bring a rain coat as lots of wet weather and fog come in from the Pacific Ocean, and be prepared for cool weather. It is never too hot in the summer nor too cold is the winter.
Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia. Of any city in Canada, it is probably the most British. It is built around it’s harbor, which is always bustling with ferries and commercial sea-planes heading to Vancouver, Whistler and the Islands.
Juan de Fuca Trail
Cathy and I hiked the Juan de Fuca Trail as a day trip out of Victoria. It is a couple hour drive up the Pacific coast (north-west of Victoria) and there are several drive-in spots into beaches that intersect the Trail. I wanted to show Cathy this side of Vancouver Island, as the previous year our daughter and I, with friends, had hiked the much more remote West Coast Trail that starts just to the north.
Tofino is THE tourist destination to experience this part of the Pacific Ocean. The sand beaches are expansive. Come winter storm season, the town advertises ‘storm-watching’ as giant waves roll in from the Pacific amidst gale force winds.
Salt Spring and the Gulf Islands
We traveled by car ferry into the Gulf Islands. Salt Spring Island is an enclave of makers, artists and quaint shops. We wanted to see it because friends from the Ottawa Valley moved there. Unfortunately they were on a photographic trip abroad so we did not see their magnificent home with panoramic views of the Islands.