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First Trip to Vancouver Island

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San Diego...
posts: 15
reviews: 23
First Trip to Vancouver Island

My husband and I are planning an anniversary trip to Vancouver Island in July. If we book the flights we are looking at, we would arrive mid-day on a Thursday and fly out early the following Tuesday. From reading the forum posts, it looks like we could spend a month easily, so I am struggling with what our priorities should be. I want to see Bouchart Gardens, and we love to hike. Do we have time to get over to Tofino (seems like everyone really recommends that) or should we stay in Victoria and take day trips. We do plan to rent a car for our stay. Any recommendations for hotels, and especially restaurants that have a gluten free menu would be really appreciated. Thanks so very much for your help!

Victoria, BC Canada
Destination Expert
for Victoria
posts: 1,100
reviews: 13
1. Re: First Trip to Vancouver Island

So you have four days, not including arrival or departure days. That won't be enough time to do both Victoria and Tofino. You'll have to choose. It's a 5 hour drive to Tofino and you'd want two to three days there. There are very lovely hikes in and around Victoria and you could do the Pacific marine circle route one day.

http://www.pacificmarinecircleroute.com/

I can't recommend hotels as I live here so hopefully someone else will help you out with that. It will depend on if you are staying in Victoria or going to Tofino.

For Gluten-free restaurants, check out this website:

theceliacscene.com/map5-British-Columbia-Vic…

It lists restaurants that are gluten-free or have gluten-free menu items.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 5,933
reviews: 13
2. Re: First Trip to Vancouver Island

Tofino is for nature lovers. Victoria is for people seeking "quaint".

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
posts: 7,665
reviews: 94
3. Re: First Trip to Vancouver Island

If you stay in Victoria. Laurel Point Inn or Abigails. Another option might be Sooke Harbour House Inn..

While Tofino is fantastic there's lots to be said for the Pacific Marine Circle. Sombrio Beach ,French Beach ,

China Beach, Sooke Potholes all offer wonderful hiking and trails you could also look at Point No Point for romantic getaway

Edited: 5:19 pm, May 30, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 38,549
reviews: 54
4. Re: First Trip to Vancouver Island

For hotels, one thing you could do is look in the "Hotel" section in the green navigation bar across the top of the page. Browse the hotels using the filters there just above the first hotel's name. You will know your budget and required amenities. When you have a short list, post that here for further comment.

Penticton, Canada
posts: 5,867
reviews: 5
5. Re: First Trip to Vancouver Island

Hi

we keep returning to Best West Inner Harbour during our yearly visit to Victoria

it has location.

it is easy walking to lots of inner harbour tourist stuff and lots of restaurants so as to not drink and drive.

it used to have free parking but now charge $8/day which is still cheap

the hotel is recently renovated and breakfast is included.

The car is worth getting if you like exploring on your own. Oak Bay area is a must along with the drive along Beacon Hill Park. Follow the route along the coast there are lots of places to stop and take pictures.

Victoria BC
posts: 163
reviews: 1
6. Re: First Trip to Vancouver Island

The Tofino/Long Beach area is beautiful, but doing that and the Victoria area would be a heck of a rush in four days. There are some very scenic hikes within the Victoria area, and also other outdoor activities.

I feel I must offer up supplemental advice when I read the word "quaint", as that is a (rather superficial) image long promoted by certain tour operators, often quite shamelessly so, for entrepreneurial rather than factual reasons. In fact Victoria today is a center for outdoor activities for visitors, for the performing arts, and for history and culture.

If going to the Butchart Gardens, there are three very scenic hikes nearby. Tod Inlet, part of Gowland Tod Park, is just around the corner, short but interesting views of rainforest, and a small inlet favored by sailboaters. A few miles away is Island View Beach, with a long walk offering views of offshore islands and distant mountains. The remaining part of Gowland Tod Park is a somewhat longer hike; it takes you higher up to views of Saanich Inlet.

A couple of our other favorites in the region are Whitty's Lagoon, which gives a surprising variety of geography within a 25 minute hike, and East Sooke Park, with it's coves and cliffs and mountain views.

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/

http://www.crd.bc.ca/parks/

San Diego...
posts: 15
reviews: 23
7. Re: First Trip to Vancouver Island

Thank you all very much for your great suggestions. I have been wondering about the Galloping Goose trail as another possibility. It looks like riding a bike is the best way to see a greater part of it. Does anyone know if there is a bike rental place that does pick up? Would love to ride the length of it, but that would be a stretch for me, definitely couldn't make a round trip.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 38,549
reviews: 54
8. Re: First Trip to Vancouver Island

You can go to the nearest bus stop to where you've had enough, secure the bike on the bike rack on the front of the bus and ride the bus back into Victoria for $2.50.

Here's how it works: bctransit.com/regions/…bike_and_ride.cfm

Victoria, Canada
Destination Expert
for Victoria, Port Angeles
posts: 1,082
reviews: 61
9. Re: First Trip to Vancouver Island

like Traveller47 says, the Pacific Marine Circle which goes by Sombrio Beach, Jordan River, French Beach, China Beach, and Port Renfrew will give you a great deal of what Tofino / Long Beach have to offer. The hikes to Sooke Potholes, and to Botanical Beach (highly recommended in nice weather) near Port Renfrew, are not arduous.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 38,549
reviews: 54
10. Re: First Trip to Vancouver Island

I am actually thinking of the Lochside biking trail which is connected to the GG trail. Have you seen this website?

explorevancouverisland.com/Biking_Hiking_Van…