It’s another hot day in southeastern Louisiana. Personally, I hate the heat. When it’s cold, you can alway put on more stuff. When it’s hot, there is a limit to what you can take off…So every summer, I am in search of places to go to escape the heat. Vancouver Island fits the bill. We fly into Vancouver. If you have never been, I would recommend spending a couple of days in Vancouver itself (think cleaner San Francisco.) Stanley Park is a great place to see totem poles, walk along the seawall, rent a bike or go for a walk along the waterfront. Granville Island is fun to explore for history, shops and food. While you are there be sure to check out Granville Brewing Company.
To get to and around Vancouver Island, you will need a car. Take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay (about 20 minutes outside Vancouver) to Nanaimo (on Vancouver Island). I would recommend making a reservation for the ferry (https://www.bcferries.com) to make sure you and your car get on the ferry you want. The ferry ride is about 1 hour 40 minutes of sheer beauty.
From Nanaimo, drive to Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Tofino is the gateway to Pacific Rim National Rim Park Reserve. While the water is a too cold to swim, you can explore the tide pools as you hike along the beach.
There are numerous hiking trails in the national reserve. We went on a canoe trip and nature hike with local guide to explore tribal grounds and learn about the culture of the indigenous people. We went swimming in a hot spring off a secluded beach. And no trip to Vancouver Island would be complete without a fishing trip. We came home with 80 pounds of flash-frozen filets of halibut and king salmon. The days were in the comfortable mid-70s and the evenings were in the mid 50s.
Before taking the ferry back to Vancouver from Victoria, we spent the evening at Butchart Gardens (www.butchartgardens.com). Be sure to, at least, stop by and see the Fairmont Empress, with an iconic hotel lobby, across from Victoria’s inner harbor.
For me, Vancouver Island is a great summer getaway. It reminds me of Alaska and the inside passage without having to travel quite so far.