Located just off the West Coast mainland of British Columbia, Vancouver Island is a 460 kilometre-long and approximately 80 kilometre-wide island that is home to many communities, townships and cities, including the provincial capital city of Victoria. The largest island on the western side of North America, Vancouver Island has an extremely diverse topography ranging from lush rainforest valleys and snow-capped peaks to rugged, rocky coastlines and smooth, sandy beaches. It's this diversity that gives such distinct flavors to the various regions and the communities that comprise them. For a more modern experience, please also try our new site at Vancouver Island Vacation Rentals.
The southern tip of the island is comprised of Greater Victoria, the Saanich Peninsula and the Western Communities. Much of Victoria itself can be characterized as a modern heritage city with turn-of-the century buildings standing alongside condo high-rises. And with its ancient oak forests, cherry blossom-lined streets and warm, windswept weather, it's no surprise that Victoria is consistently ranked one of the most beautiful cities worldwide. Only a short drive from the city centre, the Saanich Peninsula is a cradle of agriculture with quaint communities and calm, inland beaches, while the more rugged Western Communities are a cluster of booming townships on the island's more rugged and forested Pacific Coast.
Only a hour's drive up island, the Cowichan Valley enjoys a unique micro-climate, evident in the area's proliferation of vineyards, orchards and dairy farms. Small communities such as Cobble Hill, Duncan, Cowichan Bay, Cowichan Lake and Chemainus breathe a unique mix of small-town flavor and aboriginal charm into the region.
Further north, the mid-island city of Nanaimo is a quaint tribute to Vancouver Island's oceanic history. With fabulous restaurants, bountiful shopping and numerous outdoor activities at your fingertips, it's clear why this is a growing, prospering community. One hour further north, the Comox Valley is not only home to the communities of Courtney and Comox but also the island's alpine sports destination: Mt. Washington boasts 60 runs, a high-speed quad chair, a fixed-grip quad (among other lifts) and a vertical drop of over 500 meters. It's easy to see why visitors from the world over make this their skiing destination.
Like your recreation a little warmer and wetter? Take a detour to the island's west Pacific Coast and experience the awesome, wave-crashing majesty of Long Beach, the surfer mecca that stretches between the towns of Ucluelet and Tofino.
Simply put? If you haven't experienced Vancouver Island, you haven't really experienced BC.
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