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Our short and sweet 4-day Vancouver Island roadtrip

When people think about Vancouver Island they often think of Victoria. While Victoria is in itself a wonderful destination and it is a must if you have never been. Vancouver Island has so much to offer with its stunning scenery of mountains, trees and water. It is a great place for adventure seekers and leisure travellers alike.

Vancouver Island is situated a 1.5 to a 2-hour ferry ride away from the British Columbia mainland (Vancouver). It can also be reached by planes and seaplanes from both British Columbia and Washington state.

Whiffin Spit, Sooke British Columbia
Whiffin Spit, Sooke, BC

Even though we live a short ferry ride from Vancouver Island and have visited Victoria many times and have been to other parts of the Island, we however, have never really ventured out and seen it from a tourist point of view. It is breathtaking and can be explored in as little as 3 days to however long you would want to visit it for. We did a short and sweet four-day trip and for us, it was the perfect amount of time.


There are many hotels and accommodations, but be aware that you may have to book early to get the best ones. Tofino is a hot spot but doesn't have that many hotels and the few they do have, fill up fast plus they can be pricey for someone who might be on a budget. We stayed in an AIRBNB in Nanaimo and used it as our midpoint and drove to other areas on the island from there as we were only planning on doing a day trip to Tofino and other surrounding areas.

Our 4-day itinerary

Day 1 - Travel day from Tsawwassen to Lake Cowichan

Lake Cowichan
Lake Cowichan

We boarded the ferry from Tsawwassen (a Hun'qum'i'num word that means Land Facing the Sea) to Nanaimo. We boarded the ferry early in the morning and headed straight for Lake Cowichan. There we spent the day river tubing and ended the day watching the sunset from Nanaimo harbour front.

Nanaimo harbour front

Day 2 - Nanaimo to Tofino

It is approximately a 2-hour drive, however, we made a few stops along the way. We stopped at Cathedral Grove with stunning groves of old-growth Red Cedar and Douglas Fir trees. Some of the trees are more than 800 years old. From there we made a quick stop in Port Alberni and headed to Ucluelet. This is a must-see if you are heading to Tofino. It is a bit out of the way but well worth it. We stopped at the Lighthouse trail as recommended by others and it was beautiful with impressive rocks at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. We drove toward Tofino, stopping at various points along the way. We spent a significant part of the day exploring Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park and watching surfers do their thing. FYI, there is an entrance fee to enjoy the Pacific Rim National Park. The kiosk is located in the parking lot. We ended our day at Wickaninnish Beach with a beautiful sunset to close the day.