25 Can't Miss Activities on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is located on Canada’s Pacific coast, close to Victoria, British Columbia’s capital. Mild temperatures and a plethora of activities such as whale watching, shopping, beach trips, historical landmarks and more are what the island is known for.  

Here is a list of the 25 activities you won’t want to miss while in this stunning community of Vancouver Island.

The Butchart Gardens,

800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC

This lush and beautiful garden is family-owned and came to life in 1912!

In 1939, the woman’s grandson in charge of this vision brought even more life to the garden. He decided to throw in concerts, summer night light-ups and a Magic of Christmas in the winters; to this day, you can experience the breathtaking illumination of night, entertainment and more. 

More than just a garden, and concerts, you can enjoy the sun beaming down while you eat a tasty meal at the Blue Poppy Garden. Also, a unique experience is going in and enjoying some tea in The Dining Room, the original Butchart residence. 

Craigdarroch Castle,

1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria, BC

This breathtaking castle was built on a hilltop overlooking the city of Victoria between 1887 and 1890. The exquisite castle was built for Robert Dunsmuir, an immigrant from Scotland that turned into a wealthy industrialist who made his fortune from the Vancouver Island coal. 

While walking through this immaculate property, you will see beautiful stained glass windows, intricate woodworking and charming Victorian furnishing. An authentic historical site that must be seen by everyone who comes into the Island. 

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea,

9811 Seaport Pl, Sidney, BC

The Shaw Centre is a place to learn about the Salish Sea, a sea of the Pacific Ocean located in British Columbia and Washington D.C. Upon arrival, you will notice it is located on the breathtaking waterfront of Sidney. This is a unique experience and the only aquarium in Canada dedicated to the Salish Sea. They offer 35 aquariums to see with 160 marine species and 3500 animals. Get up close and personal with a Giant Pacific Octopus, Pacific Salmon and more. You can see exhibits like the fully intact Killer Whale skeleton and a collection of Coast Salish Indigenous Art. 

Victoria Bug Zoo,

631 Courtney St, Victoria, BC

A place to discover a variety of insects, arachnids and more! This unique mini zoo provides its patrons the opportunity to see and learn about the world of bugs. Your experienced tour guide will take you along the variety assortment of tanks that inhabit walking sticks, praying mantis, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, hairy tarantulas and Canada’s largest ant colony. Don’t forget to explore the safe handling of these bugs if you are up for it! Because of its ever-changing display of bugs, you will never be bored of this attraction.

B.C Aviation Museum,

1910 Norseman Rd, North Saanich, BC

Let the kiddos explore the planes dated back to 1910 all the way through to modern times. Not only a place for your children, but this experience will be fun for the whole family. On display, you will see gliders from 1896, Gibson Twin plane that is a replica that was built in 1996. More exhibits include Lincoln Sport Aircraft, Silverstar and more! You can also join in on educational trips; however, talking about this attraction doesn’t do it any justice. You can check out their website to see all their incredible offerings. 

Miniature World,

649 Humboldt St, Victoria, BC

This unique location offers its guests a plethora of displays to be engaged with.

Step in and explore a dollhouse circa 1880 with over 50 beautifully furnished rooms. Enter a time warp and see all things mini in the year 2201 Ad. You can also visit the Great Canadian Railway, London England, Fantasyland and more. Visit the Miniature world and let your inner child's imagination explore! As for the real kiddos out there, bring them once and be prepared to return more than once. 

Paradise Mini Golf and Fun Park,

375 Island Hwy W, Parksville, BC

A true paradise where you can choose from two 18-hole courses, Turf N Surf or the Treasure Island. Turf N Surf was built in 1988, featuring an old waterwheel, a windmill, a lighthouse and more. Introduced two years later, in 1990 is Treasure Island featuring a skeleton’s cave and more to go along with the pirate's theme. 

Also offered at Paradise Mini Golf and Fun Park are its bumper boats! Jump into your inflatable boat, ride the waves and bump into your family and friends. Also being introduced to this fun park are the kiddie bumper boats so those little ones between 2-6 years of age can join in on the action!

Rainforest Trail,

Trail B, Ucluelet, BC

Ucluelet, a small town with a population of 1,500, offers a plethora of breathtaking adventures like trail walking, whale watching, fishing, biking and more!

Take a walk through the rainforest trail to see all it has to offer with its striking scenic view. The trail is 2 km and has an elevation gain of 731 stairs. 

Halfmoon Bay Trail,

Trail in Ucluelet, BC

Another trail that will take you through a lush rainforest before descending onto a steep staircase that ends at a scenic and private beach. Once at the beach, you can take a rest in the sand or a short walk along the shore. 

Wildplay Nanaimo,

35 Nanaimo River Rd, Nanaimo, BC

The adventure destination on the island is Wildplay which offers an abundance of adrenaline dispelling adventure courses. Adventurers will start with an on the ground training course to get comfortable with the ziplines and continuous belay system and then make their way up the ladder and start climbing through the trees and walking across tightropes, fly through the air on rope swings and more. 

Jump over the Nanaimo river with a 150ft bungee jump, adventure with the primal swing or zipline tour. More offerings include axe throwing and a 40ft jump for the less adventurous people not wanting to bungee jump over the Nanaimo River. 

Blue Grouse Winery,

2182 Lakeside Rd, Duncan, BC

Located on 65 acres is a winery with a relaxing and charming ambience for everyone to enjoy. Offerings include a taste and tour for patrons to enjoy the view of the architecture inspired by the Blue Grouse. Experience a unique and exquisite retreat where guests will stay at the Grouse House, where you will be surrounded by scenic views that will be sure to take your breath away. Enjoy a BBQ on the panoramic patio or sit by the indoor fire while sipping on your tasty and complimentary bottle of wine that you received during check-in. 

Seal Bay Nature Park,

Bates Rd, Courtenay, BC

Bates road divides Seal Bay into two parts, east and west. The east side is located on the waterside and provides its patrons with breathtaking views of Douglas fir, big-leaf maple and red alder. Here you will also find three trails leading to the gorgeous waterfront where you can stop and watch for whales, seals and birds. It is important to remember that while it is pretty to walk down to the water, you will need to prepare yourself for the strenuous climb back up.

While on the west side, you can enjoy a creek-side walk to Melda’s Marsh. Melda campaigned to keep this park protected, and the many signs you will see while walking through were made by her. This is a historic site that any nature lover will appreciate. 

Related Post: The Best Places To Live on Vancouver Island

Cathedral Grove,

452 Alberni Hwy, Nanaimo, BC

Located in Macmillan Provincial Park, you will find Cathedral Grove, which will surround you with giant Douglas fir trees and majestic pillars untouched by the modern world, some being over 800 years old! While walking on the northern side of the trail, you will find gorgeous ancient red cedar. Walking into this breathtaking and scenic trail, you will find that it doesn’t look the way it once did in some places, thanks to the wind storm that took place in 1997. However, some will say that the view of these giant trees now lying on the ground is just as much of a wow factor as the ones standing, making this a truly unique place to see. 

Mount Washington Skiing Alpine Resort,

Mt. Washington, 1 Strathcona Pkwy, Comox-Strathcona C, BC

More than just skiing, this resort is open year-round for an abundance of fun. In the winter, its guests can enjoy 1,700 acres and 505 meters of vertical alpine terrain. Offerings include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing trails, and more. 

Dive into summer fun with their 2.3 km zip tour, lift-accessed mountain biking, quad bungee trampoline, hiking, boardwalk chess, shopping, dining and more!

Mount Washington is surrounded by pristine nature that will awaken your soul and leave you with memories that you will cherish for the rest of time.

Fisherman’s Wharf Park,

12 Erie St, Victoria, BC

A hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Fisherman’s Wharf is a unique marine destination with offerings that include scenic views, tasty and fresh food, marine adventures, shopping and more. 

While walking along the dock, you will see an abundance of floating homes, pleasure boats, and commercial businesses. Step into the 4 Winds Nest Artisans boutique and shop for french table linens, Canadian art and more. After you’ve found yourself some items to purchase, walk over to one of the restaurants Fisherman’s Wharf Park has to offer for a delicious meal and tasty beverage. There are also adventures to choose from, like Whale Watching, kayaking and fishing.  

Sooke Potholes Provincial Park,

Sooke River Rd, Sooke, BC

While visiting this historic and breathtaking location, you will find many stunning, old trees such as the Douglas fir, Sierra wood fern, and wildlife such as a black bear. Adjacent to the park is the Sooke river that is surrounded by deep, naturally carved and polished rock pools. 15,000 years ago, during the ice age, melting and moving ice packs stripped the surface area and huge boulders became lodged against the canyons. A local favourite that everyone should see to witness the beauty nature has to offer. 

Tigh-na-mara Seaside Spa Resort,

1155 Resort Drive, Parksville, BC

You get more than just a rejuvenating facial or relaxing massage at this tranquil location surrounded by nature. Visiting this spa resort, you can spend time away as a couple in your log guest room and enjoy a whirlpool, sauna, and you’re located near the ocean if you want to spend your day lounging at the beach. Tigh-na-mara offers outstanding award-winning restaurants that feature tasty beverages and mouth-watering entrees like their chicken and rib dinner. 

While visiting the spa, you can take a dip in their mineral pool or enjoy an endless number of spa treatments. Other offerings include sitting fireside while sipping your beverage and enjoy the Treetop Tapas & Grill.

Free Spirit Spheres,

420 Horne Lake Rd, Qualicum Beach, BC

One of the most unique activities anyone can take part in; a spherical treehouse in a magical forest! These spherical tree houses are connected in the trees and made for people to come camp out for a night or more. The ground level provides a bbq area and toiletries. Inside you will find a bed, a table, a few cupboards and a sink. The water is perfect for drinking, and you can even have heat and speakers if you want to bring in your own device.

Fan Tan Valley located in downtown Victoria

Part of China town is the 3-6 feet wide and 240 feet long street. This unique street is located between Fisgard Ave and Pandora Ave and offers a plethora of shops, treats and more. Some of the shops you will see while strolling along Fan Tan Valley include Turtle Express Designs, Triple Spiral, My Open Road, La Tana. You can find a complete list of shops here.

Vancouver Island Whale Watch,

90 Front St #5, Nanaimo, BC

The island experience isn’t complete until you have seen marine life. Vancouver Island Whale Watch provides an experience you will never forget with their 3-4 hour whale watching tours that depart from Nanaimo. It is on this tour that you will see Killer Whales in their natural habitat, along with Humpback whales, Sea lions, and more. 

Blue Dog Kayaking,

740 Handy Rd, Mill Bay, BC

Blue dog offers classes for people wanting to learn how to kayak and paddleboard, as well as tours and multi-day expeditions. Tours include wildlife watching, a family kayak adventure and an evening tour to watch the breathtaking sunset. In addition to a sunset tour, Blue dog also offers a moon tour where you can relax and enjoy the view of the moon rising. Experienced kayakers who are looking for an adventurous expedition to see the breathtaking views and enjoy the water that nature has given us can take a multi-day trip to Clayoquot Sound, home of the rarest rainforest in the world. 

WestCoast Wild Floatplane Tours,

140 Bay St, Ucluelet, BC

Choose from a zipline adventure where you can ride down six ziplines through a scenic rainforest and witness the sculptured rock canyon. More offerings include paddling through the Kennedy River and jumping on a floatplane to see bears, wildlife, mountains, waterfalls, hot springs and more!

3-Hour Sail,

Victoria. BC

Your tour will depart from Victoria's Inner Harbour, located downtown. Enjoy this 3-hour sail where you will see beautiful marine life, the Naval Harbour, the Fisgard Lighthouse. You can also watch the breathtaking sunset on their 1.5 hour evening tour. 

Victoria Butterfly Gardens,

1461 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC 

Walking into the lush butterfly garden, you will find up to 70 different butterfly species flying about. Other species to be seen in the butterfly garden are a poisonous dart frog, tortoises, flamingos, giant iguanas, and more. Like most gardens that are filled with stunning butterflies, you will also see a variety of breathtaking tropical flowers. 

Royal B.C Museum,

675 Belleville St, Victoria, BC

A true historical landmark is this museum, founded in 1886 and has since then been preserving the province's artifacts and specimens. You will find Indeginious collections dating back to the 19th century, jar collections of reptiles, groups of corals, crabs, sea stars and more—an authentic educational experience at the Royal B.C Museum.  

Whether you are a tourist wanting to explore all that Vancouver Island has to offer or you are a local wanting to have an exciting adventure, the above 25 activities will be sure not to disappoint.