Enjoy ten days exploring the diverse landscape and culture of beautiful Vancouver Island. From rainforests to marshes, beaches to mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes, Vancouver Island is one of the world's premier locations for whale watching, birding and fishing. Your CanaDream RV is the perfect way to experience it all.
941km / 585mi
Start / End
Vancouver / Vancouver
British Columbia
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Route - 941 km / 585 mi

Day Location Distance Duration
01 Vancouver to Victoria 69 km / 43 mi Approx. 2 hours (via ferry)
02 Victoria
03 Victoria to Malahat 27 km / 17 mi Approx. 30 minutes
04 Malahat to Nanaimo 91 km / 57 mi Approx. 1 hour 5 minutes
05 Nanaimo to Tofino/Ucluelet 170 km / 106 mi Approx. 2 hours 55 minutes
06 Tofino/Ucluelet
07 Tofino to Courtenay 360 km / 224 mi Approx. 3 hours 15 minutes
08 Courtenay/Comox to Vancouver via Horseshoe Bay 224 km / 139 mi Approx. 7 hours (with ferry)
09 --
10 Vancouver

Trip Details

The Tsawwassen Ferry to Swartz Bay is the best choice for reaching Victoria quickly. The ferry ride is about two hours long. If the weather is fair, there is nothing better than to stand out on deck while navigating the narrow passages between the Gulf Islands. You enter a very narrow channel with a close view of Galiano Island on the north and Mayne Island on the south side, coming out on the south-west side of Salt Spring Island and winding your way toward Swartz Bay. As you approach the Bay, the island on the south side of the ferry is Pender Island. The islands offer a slower pace of life. There are small farms, acreages, and summer cottages. As well, many well-known artists make the Gulf Islands their home.

Arriving on Vancouver Island, make Sidney, a beautiful seaside town,your first stop before finding a place to stay for the night. Don’t forget to download and check the CanaDream app for partner deals.

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Start your day by visiting Butchart Gardens – an incredible garden paradise that has been hosting visitors from all over the world for over 100 years.

Drive into Victoria and wander old downtown and the waterfront. See the Parliament Buildings and have high tea at the Empress Hotel. Close by is the Royal BC Museum and IMAX Theatre. If you enjoy historic houses, take an easy eight-minute drive from Victoria's inner harbour, up Fort Street, right on Joan Cresent to visit Craigdarroch Castle.

Alternatively you can walk there from the Inner Harbour, up Fort Street, along Antique Row - stopping at various interesting shops and sights. Victoria is a beautiful city.

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Spend another day exploring Victoria and all it has to offer. You may like to leave your RV behind today and explore by bike. Cycle Treks Victoria offers a number of single-day guided and unguided bike trips worth looking into.

Later today, take the 30-kilometre journey up the Island Highway to Malahat and stay with one of our campground partners in the area where you can relax, build a campfire and reflect on the day's activities. Check out our CanaDream app to connect with partner discounts. We recommend you book these campgrounds in advance, particularly during July and August. 

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Expect the unexpected on your drive north to Nanaimo. There is a variety of scenery with every bend in the road, from thick forest, to small towns, and spectacular views of the Gulf Islands that are sprinkled throughout the Strait of Georgia.

On your way up the Trans Canada Highway, Bamberton Provincial Park is a worthwhile stop for a scenic break. Duncan, nestled in the Cowichan Valley, is also an interesting stop. The Lumber Mill Museum is worth a look. Duncan is known as the “City of Totems”.  In the downtown area, you will find a historic totem pole walking tour. This island town also gives you access to mountain biking and hiking trails, and scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking and fishing.

Part way up the west side of the island, you will come to a town named Chemainus. This is a pretty little seaside town with different murals painted on the sides of many downtown buildings. These murals depict the town’s corporate history and community spirit.

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Branching off the Trans Canada Highway onto Highway 4 or 4A, just north of Nanaimo, you will be on your way to Port Alberni and Tofino. For a scenic break, you may want to stop in either Little Qualicum Falls, McMillan or Sproat Lake Provincial Parks. These provincial parks are further inland and have a different feel from those that border the ocean.
Stop in Coombs to see the goats that graze on the roof of a local establishment, and stop at Cathedral Grove, near Port Alberni. Walk amongst huge old-growth rain forest with trees up to two to three metres thick.
From Port Alberni to Tofino, the highway narrows. Traffic usually slows down somewhat through this section to accommodate the winding, mountainous terrain – expect a two-hour drive. For this reason, it is wise to build extra time into your schedule to make your drive less pressured. Tofino is on the northern edge of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, and is often a destination to celebrate the completion of the well-known West Coast Trail, which ends in Pachena Bay. As campsites are limited in and around Tofino, it’s highly recommended to reserve yours ahead of time.

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Tofino and Ucluelet are incredible playgrounds for all things from adventure to relaxation. Consider going whale watching, fishing or join a surf lesson in “Canada’s Surf Capital”.  Long Beach Golf Course is very close to Long Beach  – also a great option for your day. With incredible food, art and yoga, there’s a number of ways to spend part of your days indoors too.

You may decide to spend a day or two more in this beautiful part of Vancouver Island so you don't have to choose one activity over another.

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Leave Tofino and head back towards Qualicum Beach. Take the Oceanside Route - 19A - from Parksville, en route to Courtenay. The Oceanside Route follows the coastline from the Nanoose Bay area all the way to Campbell River but you'll be travelling only a portion of it.
Enjoy the sights of Parksville and Qualicum Beach and the Lighthouse Country communities of Qualicum Bay, Bowser and Deep Bay. Follow the Oceanside Route through the charming communities of Fanny Bay, Buckley Bay and Union Bay before reaching your overnight destination at Courtenay. Parks, beaches, golf courses, and dozens of attractions are located along the Oceanside Route, making it one of the Island's most popular driving tours. Stop for world famous oysters in Fanny Bay.
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Take the BC Ferries mid-morning sailing from Comox to Powell River on the Sunshine Coast. Plan to arrive in Saltery Bay for the mid-afternoon sailing.

The road hugs the coast in many places and there are good spots to stop for photographs and to admire the scenery. If you've decided to break this stretch into a two day journey, we recommend you stay at one of the many campgrounds along Highway 101 between Earls Cove and Gibsons. You may even like this area so much that you decide to extend your journey another day.

The road ends at Langdale where you will need to board another BC ferry to take you to Horseshoe Bay. From Horseshoe Bay, you’re only a short drive from Vancouver. Check out the CanaDream app for places to stay and discounts on activities in the area.

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Today marks the end of your Vancouver Island Experience. Drop off your RV at CanaDream in Delta today or continue on the next leg of your journey. If you're heading towards the Rockies, we suggest you drive to Whistler as an alternate route. This tour will take you to Sun Peaks and Jasper, before heading south over the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise and Banff.  From Banff, you'll return to Vancouver through the beautiful Okanagan Valley region.
If you're planning to stay in the Vancouver region for a few days to see the sights, please refer to your CanaDream Club app for details of discounts available in the area.

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Other Itineraries in British Columbia