If you’re searching for a charming and romantic place to spend your honeymoon or couple’s vacation, Vancouver Island in Canada is an excellent option. The island’s breathtaking natural beauty, wide range of activities, and luxurious accommodations ensure that you and your partner will have an unforgettable romantic escape.
From exploring the breathtaking landscapes to indulging in delicious cuisine, this comprehensive guide will help you plan the perfect honeymoon or vacation in Vancouver Island.
About Vancouver Island – At a Glance
Vancouver Island is located off the west coast of Canada and is known for its stunning natural beauty and eclectic range of activities, many of which appeal to nature lovers. With its rugged coastline, lush rainforests, and majestic mountains, the island offers a picturesque backdrop for a romantic honeymoon.
Whether you and your partner enjoy outdoor adventures like hiking and kayaking or prefer to relax and unwind in luxurious accommodations, Vancouver Island has something for everyone. From the charming city of Victoria (British Columbia’s capital city) to the remote wilderness of Tofino, this unique island is the perfect destination for a memorable honeymoon.
Exploring The Natural Beauty of Vancouver Island
One of the highlights of a honeymoon on Vancouver Island is the opportunity to explore its stunning natural beauty. From the rugged coastline to the lush rainforests, there are endless opportunities for outdoor adventures.
Take a romantic hike along the Juan de Fuca Trail, where you can admire breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and spot wildlife.
For a truly unique experience, consider kayaking through the pristine waters of the Broken Group Islands, where you can paddle through secluded coves and spot seals, sea lions, and even whales.
If you prefer a more relaxed experience, stroll through the Butchart Gardens, a world-renowned garden filled with vibrant flowers and tranquil pathways. No matter how you explore, Vancouver Island’s natural beauty will leave you and your partner in awe.
Indulge in Romantic Dining Experiences
Vancouver Island offers a wide range of romantic dining experiences for honeymooners. Whether you’re looking for a cozy candlelit dinner or a fine dining experience with stunning waterfront views, there are plenty of options.
For a truly unforgettable meal, book a table at one of the island’s renowned seafood restaurants, where you can savour fresh local ingredients and indulge in dishes like Dungeness crab, wild salmon, and spot prawns.
And remember to sample some of the island’s world-class wines, as Vancouver Island is home to numerous wineries and vineyards.
Whether you’re a foodie or simply looking to enjoy a romantic meal with your loved one, Vancouver Island has something to satisfy every palate.
Now that we’ve piqued your interest and you are considering swapping the typical honeymoon on a beach for the exhilarating adventures on Vancouver Island let’s dive into some of the incredible experiences waiting for you!
10 Unique Things to Do On Your Honeymoon on Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island offers a plethora of unique activities for honeymooners to enjoy. Here are ten must-do experiences to make your honeymoon unforgettable:
1. Go Whale Watching
When you honeymoon on Vancouver Island, you can watch these gigantic creatures, weighing thousands of pounds, frolicking in their natural habitat. Killer whales (Orcas), Gray, Humpback, and Minke whales can be spotted in the waves as they perform their watery rituals.
Whale-watching tours are available along the east coast of Vancouver Island, starting from Victoria up to Campbell River and Port Hardy. On the island’s west coast, you can book the tours in Tofino and Ucluelet. Additionally, you can avail the tours from the BC Gulf Islands and Discovery Islands. It is an excellent place to watch whales up close!
2. Explore the Butchart Gardens
The Butchart Gardens, which have been around for almost 120 years, are home to a stunning flower exhibition featuring 900 types of plants and colorful flowers. In 1904, Jennie Butchart began creating a lush garden on the site of a cleared limestone quarry, which is now a National Historic Site of Canada and still owned by her family.
There are plenty of tranquil walking paths and areas for visitors to sit and enjoy the beauty of nature. During the fall season, the Japanese maples transform into brilliant shades of red and orange.
3. Take a scenic helicopter tour
Soar above Vancouver Island’s breathtaking landscapes and enjoy panoramic views of mountains, forests, and coastline. Or, do something truly adventurous and book a heli-hiking tour!
4. Visit The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is located on the rugged Pacific coastline and is a popular tourist destination famous for whale-watching, as grey whales migrate close to the shoreline every spring on their way to their summer feeding grounds in the north. The park is also great for indulging in outdoor activities such as camping, kayaking, birdwatching, hiking, horseback riding, and even scuba diving.
The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve has three units: Long Beach, West Coast Trail, and Broken Group Islands. The Long Beach Unit offers sandy beaches ideal for sunbathing and surfing. The Broken Group Islands have over 100 sheltered islets perfect for kayaking expeditions. Additionally, the park has the 75-kilometre multi-day West Coast Trail, which is best for hikers through rugged terrain.
Tofino, located north of Long Beach, is “Canada’s surfing capital.” It was once a fishing village but has become a popular tourist destination. Despite the influx of visitors, the town retains its natural charm, scenic position, and plentiful accommodation, making it an ideal base for exploring The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Ucluelet, situated 40km to the southeast, is less attractive but could also be a base from which to explore the region.
5. Visit Cathedral Grove
Cathedral Grove is a must-visit site for anyone vacationing or honeymooning on Vancouver Island. It features a stunning temperate rainforest with massive 800-year-old trees, a lush carpet of ferns and moss, and various tree species, including Douglas-fir, Western Hemlock, Grand fir, and Western Red Cedar.
This old-growth forest, located in the southwest part of the island and officially known as MacMillan Provincial Park, is easily accessible and offers a glimpse of Canada’s unique temperate rainforests. Many of the cedar trees here are over 1,000 years old, and some area’s canopy reaches 80 meters (262 feet). Admission to the park is free, but it’s essential to stay on designated paths and practice “leave no trace” principles to help preserve this pristine natural area.
6. Enjoy a Romantic Sunset Cruise
Set sail on a romantic sunset cruise and admire the stunning coastal scenery while savouring a gourmet dinner. Victoria offers the perfect backdrop for an evening cruise complete with breathtaking sunset views.
Tip: Try to find a sunset cruise that starts at least an hour before sunset, as this will increase your chances of spotting wildlife.
7. Go Wine Tasting in Cowichan Valley
Vancouver Island is home to more than 20 wineries, with the majority of them situated in the Cowichan Valley. Going on a wine tour is an excellent way to indulge yourselves on your romantic getaway to beautiful Vancouver Island.
Besides tasting some delicious wine, you will also get to appreciate the stunning surroundings of the valley, which is enveloped by rolling green mountains. If you decide to opt for a full-day tour that includes lunch, the cost will be approximately 125 CAD.
Alternatively, you can rent a car and explore the wineries independently, but this willl obviously limit your wine tasting experience.
8. Plan a Vancouver Island Honeymoon Road trip
Experience the breathtaking beauty of Vancouver Island’s diverse landscapes, which include ancient forests, pristine lakes, and charming coastal towns with a Vancouver Island road trip. While British Columbia has many coastal regions to explore, Vancouver Island is truly exceptional for road-tripping, thanks in no small part to the stunning natural beauty and numerous waterfront communities that offer warm hospitality and a variety of exciting activities to plan an itinerary around.
The road trip from Victoria to Nanaimo is a must while visiting Vancouver Island. Although travelling from Victoria to Nanaimo is a relatively short journey (1.5 – 2 hours), you miss out on some spectacular sights if you drive straight through.
Consider making a slight detour to Cowichan Bay, located just south of Duncan, during your trip. This charming waterfront community bears resemblance to the eastern parts of Canada and is worth exploring.
Additionally, do not miss out on the opportunity to witness the beautiful murals in Chemainus. While heading south towards Nanaimo, you can also visit Petroglyph Park, located just on the south side of the city. The park’s main attraction are prehistoric rock carvings created by First Nations peoples over 1,000 years ago. Today, visitors can glimpse the past by witnessing these traditional carvings.
An alternative route is the Pacific Marine Circle. This 289 km journey begins in Victoria and takes you through the charming oceanside town of Sooke before heading towards Port Renfrew, where you can witness the magnificent waves and enjoy refreshing drinks. Take your time to appreciate the breathtaking beaches, cozy cafes, and cascading waterfalls as you travel through the winding road of the rainforest. Eventually, return to Victoria via Duncan, also known as the City of Totems.
If you plan to visit during the summer and are up for an adventurous Vancouver Island honeymoon, we can’t stress enough how fantastic camping on Vancouver Island can be. You can even camp at one of the many campsites located right next to the ocean!
9. Explore The Charming City of Victoria
Stroll hand in hand through the picturesque streets of Victoria, visit historic landmarks, and indulge in delicious cuisine at waterfront restaurants.
Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest and is famous for being one of the most English Canadian cities, with beautifully manicured parks, traditional afternoon teas, double-decker buses navigating the streets, and Victorian-style houses. It’s a beautiful city to explore so leave plenty of time to discover its many charms.
Start your time in Victoria at the heart of the city – its harbour. The water is teeming with life and activity, with boats of all shapes and sizes – from majestic cruise ships and opulent luxury yachts to quaint water taxis and charming dinghies.
Now, stroll along the picturesque waterfront until you reach the historic Fisherman’s Wharf. This vibrant waterfront district, with its rich history dating back to the aftermath of the Second World War, was constructed to accommodate commercial fishing vessels. Today, it has grown into a lively hub with colourful floating homes, enticing food stalls, and active fishing boats. You might even spot the occasional seal basking in the sun or frolicking in the water!
After exploring Fisherman’s Wharf, you can return to the Inner Harbour by riding on one of the Victoria Harbour Ferries. The boat ride offers breathtaking views of the waterway leading to the Inner Harbour, and the captain shares some informative commentary. However, it’s important to note that the Harbour Ferries are unavailable during fall and winter.
The Inner Harbor is a prominent tourist neighbourhood in Victoria, and you could spend anything from a few hours to the best part of a day there. The harbor is framed by wide pedestrian streets often frequented by street vendors and buskers. The sidewalks are lined with numerous cafes and restaurants, making it the perfect locale to enjoy an afternoon cup of tea while keeping an eye out for whales playing in the open water.
Additionally, the Inner Harbour hosts some of Victoria’s most popular attractions, such as the Royal British Columbia Museum, The Fairmont Empress Hotel and the Parliament Buildings. In summer, a night market is held Friday and Saturday evenings.
Victoria, known as the Garden City of Canada, offers a plethora of beautiful gardens to explore. One such garden is the scenic Beacon Hill Park, which covers over 200 acres and is a tranquil place to relax. You can find tennis courts, a golf green, lawn bowling, flower beds, a petting zoo, and a hawthorn tree planted by Winston Churchill in 1929.
Another garden worth visiting is the Butchart Gardens mentioned above, which has been around for almost 120 years. This garden is home to a stunning flower exhibition featuring 900 species of plants and colourful flowers.
Victoria City is a great place to visit if you enjoy scenic oceanfront walks and activities such as bike tours, nature and parks, street art, and craft beer. There is something for everyone to enjoy here, and you’ll need several days to get a taste of all the offerings available in the city, so be sure to leave plenty of time here on your Vancouver Island honeymoon adventure!
10. Go Kayaking in The Gulf Islands
Paddle through crystal-clear waters, explore hidden coves, and spot wildlife such as seals, eagles, and dolphins on a kayaking adventure in the Gulf Islands.
With these unique experiences, your honeymoon in Vancouver Island will surely be a memorable and romantic getaway.
What To Pack for a Vancouver Island Honeymoon
Fortunately, the weather on Vancouver Island is usually less rainy than in Vancouver, known for its rain. However, it generally tends to be cooler with strong winds near the water.
Try to plan your wardrobe around wearing layers.
It would be best to have a good quality raincoat and pants, with a hood or a hat, to protect you from cutting winds.
Bringing a thin, packable raincoat while exploring the city is recommended, as sudden rain showers can occur without warning.
Wear weatherproof footwear if you want to explore beyond the city. Comfortable shoes are a must-have.
In summary, you should pack for an outdoor slightly adventurous trip so you have the freedom to do any hikes or walks that appeal and also include a few stylish outfits for evenings out.
Getting Around on Vancouver Island
Getting around Vancouver Island is easy and convenient, with various transportation options available.
If you’re flying into the island, you can land at Victoria International Airport or Nanaimo Airport, both of which offer domestic and international flights. From there, you can rent a car to explore the island at your own pace.
If you prefer a more scenic mode of transportation, you can also take a ferry from the mainland to Vancouver Island, enjoying breathtaking coastline views.
Once on the island, if you decide not to rent a car you can also get around cities or towns by bike or on foot, as there are many scenic trails and pathways to explore. If you need to venture further, don’t worry – Vancouver Island also has a well-connected public transportation system, with buses and ferries that can take you to different parts of the island.
No matter how you choose to get around, Vancouver Island offers a variety of transportation options to suit your needs.
Best Time to Visit Vancouver Island
The weather on Vancouver Island has distinct seasons, with notable differences between the winter and summer months. Despite these differences, the island can be visited at any time of the year for various activities, such as exploring, sports, or relaxation.
However, the best time to visit Victoria and Vancouver Island would be between March and May and September to November. During these periods, the region experiences some of the mildest weather in the country, with dry summers and occasional light drizzles. Temperatures are comfortable in both spring and fall.
Summer is the most popular season to visit because of the many festivals in Victoria and across Vancouver Island, so accommodation is likely to be more expensive. However, visiting Vancouver Island during the off-season (before July and after September) might be a good option if you prefer fewer crowds and lower prices.
Currency: The official currency of Canada is the Canadian Dollar.
Electricity: Canada uses the 110 volt system, which is the same as the United States, for electricity.