Destination guide

Discover Vancouver Island's wilderness from vacation rentals

Grab your sunscreen, swimsuit, hiking boots, and party clothes — you'll need them all once you arrive at your Vancouver Island vacation rental. If you have your own snorkels and surfboard, even better. You're sure to put all of them to good use as you laze about the island's beaches, ride the waves off its west coast, explore its inland wilderness, experience colonial British and First Nation cultures, and eat your way through its pubs and restaurants. Vancouver Island is a great place to expose your kids to the wonders of nature and other cultures, to forget the cares of the world with family and friends, and to grab a romantic getaway with someone special. So pack your bags and escape to the wilderness of Vancouver Island.

History

If you're a history junkie, you'll enjoy wandering about Victoria, the largest city on Vancouver Island and the capital of British Columbia. Established as Fort Victoria in 1843, the city was a base for gold diggers brought to the island by the Fraser Canyon gold rush. Known today as a quintessentially British city in Canada, Victoria retains many of its historic buildings, including the Legislative Buildings and the Empress Hotel. Victoria's Chinatown is the oldest and most intact in Canada. But before the Europeans came, Vancouver Island was home to the Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations people. You can get a firsthand look at their cultures by touring the Songhees Islands just beyond the coast of Victoria. Or you can stroll about Thunderbird Park and look at authentic totem poles.

Activities

Head for the water from your Vancouver Island vacation rental

The climate around Vancouver Island is one of the mildest in the whole of Canada, so it's no wonder that the area is popular with water sports enthusiasts. You can don your snorkel and mask and explore the local marine life, or catch the Pacific waves on your surfboard. For those who prefer staying above the waterline, the waters around Vancouver Island are perfect for a sailing adventure. Pack a picnic and a bottle from your Vancouver Island vacation rental and enjoy the great outdoors in style.

Natural features

Exploring the gardens and other natural features in Vancouver Island

Whether you're an active traveler or just want to take in the scenery, Vancouver Island is a great place to get outside. These are some of the area's most eye-catching sights, all within 30 miles (48.2 km) of the city center:

  • Strathcona Provincial Park (6.5 mi / 10.5 km)
  • Nimpkish Park (14.2 mi / 22.8 km)
  • Della Falls (17.9 mi / 28.8 km)
  • Gold Muchalat Provincial Park (20.1 mi / 32.3 km)
  • Hot Springs Cove (28.1 mi / 45.2 km)
  • Clayoquot Sound (29.6 mi / 47.6 km)
Transport

Transportation to and around Vancouver Island

Fly into Campbell River, BC (YBL), the closest airport, located 31.9 mi (51.4 km) from the city center. If you can't find a flight that's convenient for your trip, you might consider flying into Campbell River, BC (YHH-Campbell River Water Aerodrome), which is 37 mi (59.6 km) away.

Food & drink 

Don't forget to pack your appetite with you when you head to your Vancouver Island vacation rental. Thanks to the richness of Cowichan Valley and the bounty of the island's coastal waters, Vancouver Island is foodie paradise. You can taste this culinary wealth from top restaurants like:

  • Red Fish Blue Fish. This glammed-up fish shack on Victoria's inner harbour serves classic fish-and-chips, plus a selection of easy-to-eat seafood goodies like jerk fish tacos, oyster sandwiches, Pacific white fish chowder, and jerk fish poutine.
  • SoBo. SoBo started out as a food truck and grew into a Tofino culinary institution. They serve a variety of seafood, meat, and vegetarian options, but the ling cod and the lamb pizza both come highly recommended.
  • Wolf in the Fog. The stunning seaside views and the bold-flavoured dishes offered at Wolf in the Fog make for an unforgettable dining experience. The food is ingredient-driven so the menu varies, depending on what was caught, harvested, and foraged the day. Their oysters, though, are fan-favourites.

Essential info

Essential facts for your Vancouver Island getaway

Vancouver is the largest island on North America's West Coast and the biggest island in the Pacific Ocean east of New Zealand. Its total area is 32,134 sq km. The island enjoys one of the mildest climates in the whole of Canada. Around 776,000 people live on Vancouver Island, and nearly half of them live within Victoria's greater metropolitan area. These people are predominantly English speakers, though it's common to hear French, Chinese, and other foreign languages spoken here as well. Vancouver Island uses the Canadian dollar as currency, and credit cards are often necessary for booking vacation rentals.

Where to stay near Vancouver Island?

Our 2019 vacation rental listings offer a large selection of 2,147 house rentals near Vancouver Island. From 310 Cabins to 948 Houses, find unique vacation rental for you to enjoy a memorable holiday or a weekend with your family and friends. The best place to stay near Vancouver Island is on HomeAway.

What are the most popular destinations to visit in Vancouver Island?

There are many lovely places to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in Vancouver Island. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular destinations to visit are:

  • Vancouver: 1,181 vacation rentals
  • Whistler: 1,782 vacation rentals
  • Victoria: 1,018 vacation rentals
  • Tofino: 136 vacation rentals
  • Parksville: 225 vacation rentals

And HomeAway offers you the chance to discover many other popular destinations in Vancouver Island! Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available in other popular destinations.

What are the main cities to discover in Vancouver Island?

Whether you're travelling with family or friends, here are the cities with the largest selection of vacation rentals for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in Vancouver Island:

  • Vancouver: 1,181 rentals
  • Whistler: 1,782 rentals
  • Victoria: 1,018 rentals
  • Tofino: 136 rentals
  • Parksville: 225 rentals

For other cities, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

Can I find easy-access vacation rentals when travelling by plane to Vancouver Island?

Yes of course. Our owners offer a large selection of vacation rentals near airports. The airports with a large selection of lodging choices in Vancouver Island are:

  • Tofino, BC (YTP-Tofino Water Aerodrome): 142 home rentals
  • Sechelt Aerodrome Airport (YHS): 240 home rentals
  • Gabriola Island, BC (SYF-Silva Bay Seaplane Base): 214 home rentals

For other airports, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

Explore destinations around Vancouver Island

Vancouver
1,181 vacation rentals
Whistler
1,782 vacation rentals
Victoria
1,018 vacation rentals
Tofino
136 vacation rentals
Parksville
225 vacation rentals
Nanaimo
169 vacation rentals
Squamish
60 vacation rentals
Ucluelet
114 vacation rentals
Sechelt
228 vacation rentals
Sooke
833 vacation rentals
North Vancouver
1,068 vacation rentals
Qualicum Beach
260 vacation rentals
Richmond
1,091 vacation rentals
Burnaby
1,146 vacation rentals
Sidney
213 vacation rentals
Gibsons
205 vacation rentals
Courtenay
131 vacation rentals
Campbell River
57 vacation rentals
Comox
102 vacation rentals
Pender Island
225 vacation rentals