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

Activities and attractions in and around Vancouver Island

Are you hoping to discover attractions to visit while you're in the area? Travelers enjoy fun activities like whale watching and hiking. Although it can be tempting to stay in your comfortable vacation rental, you'll want to experience everything that makes Vancouver Island a one-of-a-kind vacation spot. These are some of the most popular attractions to see, all within 30 miles (48.2 km) of the city center:

  • Nimpkish Park (14.2 mi / 22.8 km)
  • Gold Muchalat Provincial Park (20.1 mi / 32.3 km)
  • Upana Caves (22.7 mi / 36.5 km)
  • Mount Washington Alpine Resort (23.6 mi / 38 km)
Outdoor 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)
How to get there

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.

Restaurants and bars

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 2,184 house rentals near Vancouver Island. From 314 Cabins to 974 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: 1,204 vacation rentals
  • Whistler: 1,750 vacation rentals
  • Victoria: 992 vacation rentals
  • Tofino: 137 vacation rentals
  • Salt Spring Island: 361 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: 1,204 rentals
  • Whistler: 1,750 rentals
  • Victoria: 992 rentals
  • Tofino: 137 rentals
  • Parksville: 244 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): 141 home rentals
  • Courtenay, BC (YCA-Courtenay Airpark): 163 home rentals
  • Sechelt Aerodrome Airport (YHS): 262 home rentals

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

Near which points of interest can I spend my holiday in Vancouver Island?

HomeAway offers a large selection of lodging choices near lovely places in Vancouver Island. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Mount Washington Alpine Resort: 138 vacation homes
  • Saltspring Marina: 401 vacation homes
  • Vancouver Island Visitor Centre: 150 vacation homes
  • Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park: 329 vacation homes
  • Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park: 185 vacation homes

But there are many other points of interest around Vancouver Island listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Just write your wanted destination in our search bar and have a look at our selection.

Explore destinations around Vancouver Island

Vancouver
1,204 vacation rentals
Whistler
1,750 vacation rentals
Victoria
992 vacation rentals
Tofino
137 vacation rentals
Parksville
244 vacation rentals
Ucluelet
117 vacation rentals
Nanaimo
180 vacation rentals
Squamish
60 vacation rentals
Sechelt
251 vacation rentals
Sooke
837 vacation rentals
Pender Island
186 vacation rentals
Hornby Island
69 vacation rentals
Lake Cowichan
124 vacation rentals
Qualicum Beach
279 vacation rentals
Galiano Island
192 vacation rentals
Richmond
1,108 vacation rentals
Burnaby
1,168 vacation rentals
Sidney
221 vacation rentals
Gibsons
223 vacation rentals
Courtenay
133 vacation rentals