Vancouver Island is a large and picturesque island just across from the City of Vancouver in British Columbia. It is easily the largest island and the most popular along the whole west coasts of the Americas. The southern part of Vancouver Island boasts one of the warmest climates in Canada.

One can flight here or take the ferry from Vancouver or Seattle. A weekend really isn't enough time to see this stunning island. But if that is all the time one can afford, then there are some must-do attractions on the island. Some of the activities to engage in includes whale watching, hiking, surfing, skiing, scuba diving, camping, exploring the island's indigenous history, and seeing the island's 19th-century architecture.


About Vancouver Island And What To Do There

Effective as of August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated Americans are permitted to enter Canada for tourism without having to quarantine on arrival.

  • Size: 12,400 Square Miles Or 32,000 Square Kilometers
  • Population: 850,000
  • Largest City: Victoria

Vancouver Island is home to the provincial British Columbia capital of Victoria. Vancouver Island is a truly stunning wonderland. It has a temperate rainforest biome with a number of North American species of animals calling it home including moose, black bears, elk, mountain goats, and the most concentrated population of cougars in North America. There is also abundant marine wildlife including harbor seals, killer whales (aka orcas), humpback whales, gray whales, and sea and river otters.

The island is famous for its fishing, so for those keen on trout, steelhead, or salmon fishing, this is the place! It is also famous for its excellent surfing, camping, and even wineries.

Vancouver Island is all about the grand outdoors. So if one only has a weekend in this stunning piece of paradise, then here are some things to do.


Vancouver Island is famous for its surfing and the waters are uncommonly warm for Canada. The island has some 35 kilometers or over 20 miles of beaches and an exposed coast for year-round surfing. There are numerous laid-back towns with surf shops and surf schools around the island.

  • Surfing Beaches: Over 20 Miles Of Surfing Beaches

White Water Rafting

White water rafting is a fun pastime in BC. The options of rafting on its rivers range from relaxing floating down through the calm rivers while soaking in the eye-watering beauty of nature to class 5 rapids.

There are options for a day excursion or a multi-day expedition - this would along take up one's whole weekend in Vancouver Island. One of the other fun activities that some rafting companies offer at the right season is snorkeling with the salmon. The Campbell River here has all five species of salmon who come here at different times of the year. To see more about seasons and pricing see their website.

Imagine rafting on the headwaters of the Nile! This is why white water rafting is a total must when in Uganda.

  • Duration: 3 Hour Tour (Snorkel With Salmon)

Related: A Travel Guide To Vancouver: 10 Things To Know While Planning Your Trip

Whale Watching

Whale Watching is a must while on Vancouver Island. This is one of the best places to watch killer whales (aka orcas). Some of the other wildlife seen include seals, eagles, porpoises, sea lions, and humpback whales. Click here for information about whale watching in Puget Sound in Seattle.

  • Killer Whales: Killer Whales Are Actually Dolphins
  • Whale Species: Humpback Whales, Grey Whales
  • Season: Whale Watching Season April Through October

There are tours ranging from half a day to a full day and most whale watching companies guarantee spotting whales. Companies offering whale watching tours include:

  • Vancouver Island Whale Watch
  • Ocean Ecoventures Whale Watching
  • Eagle Wing Whale & Wildlife Tours
  • Orca Spirit Adventures Whale Watching


The capital and largest city of Vancouver Island is Victoria. It is also famous for its old architecture. When arriving on the island is this likely to be one's point of entry so it is worthwhile exploring. One can explore by oneself or with a tour. To book a tour of Victoria click here.

Related: The Hidden Gem Village Of Tulameen In B.C., Where To Find It And What To Do There

Visit A Winery

When one thinks of Canada, one normally doesn't think of boutique wineries. But the southern part of the island is surprisingly warm - even olives and lemons can grow here. Winemaking was established back in the 1980s when they found hardy hybrid grapes that would grow here. Today it has bloomed into a considerable modern wine industry.

  • Number of Wineries: Around 30 Wineries
  • Wine Tasting Season: June To September

These are mostly boutique-sized estates where the wine is both grown and made onsite.

If one is visiting Vancouver Island for the weekend, that isn't enough time to see the whole island. But one will be spoilt for choices of what to pack in that time.

Next: Summer Is The Best Time To Visit British Columbia, And Here's Why