Vancouver Island vacation planning including Victoria, Nanaimo and Tofino.

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Vancouver Island Vacation Planning - Victoria, Nanaimo & Tofino

If you're planning a trip to Vancouver then you should truly consider visiting Vancouver Island. No trip to Vancouver is complete without an Island vacation. Vancouver Island is very different from mainland Vancouver and offers some unique attractions.

If you're planning your trip to Vancouver Island then we suggest that you take the following steps:

1) Find out BC Ferries fares and schedule. You'll want to know when the ferries depart so that you can plan your vacation dates and times accordingly. You have a choice in how to travel to BC Ferries, either rent a car and drive or take a bus. There are buses which can take you across from Vancouver to Vancouver Island. We recommend that you rent a car and go to Vancouver Island to give you the flexibility to travel all over the island and explore it for yourself. Bus rides or tours may be too restrictive. It all depends of whether you enjoy having your own adventure or prefer the trouble-free planned out tour.


2) Once you have decided how and when you will cross over to Vancouver Island then you should decide which cities you'd like to see on Vancouver Island. The two largest cities on Vancouver Island are Victoria and Nanaimo. If you plan on only visiting one city then we suggest Victoria. If you enjoy secluded getaways while staying in a log cabin then we recommend going to Tofino.

Each of these three cities has some fascinating attractions, but by far the most popular destination is Victoria. That's because Victoria is the largest city and has more to see and do than any other city on Vancouver Island. Upon your arrival in Victoria you'll notice that the entire town is geared towards tourists. The town is relatively small and easy to navigate. There is an abundance of tourist souvenir shops and restaurants. During spring and summer street entertainers perform along the seawall and on Government and Douglas streets. Victoria offers many tourist attractions, the most popular of which is Buchart Gardens. Here is a complete list of Victoria attractions.

Nanaimo is a smaller city than Victoria, but here you'll get a true sense of Canadian island living at the city isn't a big tourist trap. There are no major tourist attractions in Nanaimo as the town isn't geared for tourists as is Victoria.

Tofino is a secluded community which is accessible by car or bus from either Victoria or Nanaimo. Traveling from Nanaimo to Tofino by car takes about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Tofino is on the westcoast of Vancouver Island and is perfect for a romantic getaway. I recommend staying in a cabin if you visit Tofino. Tofino boasts the longest beaches on the Island. You may enjoy whale watching and surfing in this coastal community. The town itself is very tiny with only 2 or 3 major streets. Your choices for dining will be limited, but please try the local seafood which is fresh and delicious. There aren't any major tourist attractions in Tofino. For activities you may wish to try water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, boating or whale watching.


3) After you've decided which cities you'd like to see then you should book your hotel room online. It's best to book early to make sure that your chosen hotel has accomodations for the nights you'll be staying. For information on hotels please refer to our Victoria hotels guide, Nanaimo hotels guide or Tofino hotels guide. For finding hotel rooms at half-price we recommend using Travelocity .


4) Plan your sightseeing and activities. Depending on whether you prefer the great outdoors or the big city, you can plan activities for almost any of your tastes. Victoria is perfect for sightseeing and visiting tourist attractions such as Butchart Gardens, Madam Tusseau's Wax Museum, Undersea Garden, Art Gallery, Butterfly World, Chinatown, IMAX, and the BC Museum. On the weekends during spring and summer some of the local streets in Victoria's downtown are closed to traffic and an outdoor market is setup. The outdoor market offers street musicians as well as an array of local handcrafts offered for sale.

While in Nanaimo if you're traveling with kids then you'll undoubtedly want to visit the go-kart racing and arcade. The arcade also has an indoor adventure park setup for younger children. I would recommend this attraction to any family traveling with kids of any age. Nanaimo is a small town and doesn't offer too many things to do. There are some parks which you can visit. Along Nanaimo's downtown harbour there are a few shops and restaurants as well as a children's playground. Nanaimo is a nice town to visit if you're in the mood to relax. If you want an exciting nightlife and lots of things to do then Nanaimo and Tofino shouldn't be on the top of your destinations to visit. Victoria offers much more in terms of nightlife and things to do.

Regardless of which cities you decide to see on Vancouver Island you are going to love the diversity of the Island. If you're adventurous then you may wish to try hiking and camping on the Island. Or you may choose to spend a week or longer driving around the Island visiting every city from the southern coast to the far north. For those who prefer the comforts of civilization towns such as Victoria offer fantastic hotels and spas where you can choose to be pampered. Whatever you're searching for in a vacation, from simple relaxtion to adventure you'll be able to find it on Vancouver Island.

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