Vacation rentals in Vancouver Island
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Your guide to Vancouver Island
Defined by pebbled beaches and ancient forests, Vancouver Island is known for its scenic landscapes and First Nations cultures. The island stretches out along the coast of British Columbia, Canada, making it a popular side trip from the metropolis of Vancouver. The mild climate draws travelers year-round to its vast wilderness areas, clusters of small fishing villages, and the regal provincial capital of Victoria. Even though it ranks as the largest island on the west coast of the Americas, its population remains mostly concentrated in the island’s southern tip, where English-style gardens, neo-baroque Parliament Buildings, and the historic harbor reveal the region’s lingering British influences.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Vancouver Island
In comparison with much of mainland Canada, Vancouver Island is remarkably mild, especially in the south. The southernmost city in the province, Victoria experiences dry summers, with little to no rainfall and average highs in the upper 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm spells sometimes reach the 80s, typically from June to August. The temperatures in Victoria remain mild but drizzly through the winter months, when average highs hover in the mid-40s Fahrenheit and freezing weather is a rarity in the city.
The island’s length and its varying elevations create somewhat unpredictable microclimates — and lots of precipitation. Henderson Lake receives the most rainfall in North America, amounting to more than 23 feet of rain per year. Meanwhile, the mountains experience some of the snowiest conditions in North America. Needless to say, you’ll want to bring waterproof gear, warm coats, and sturdy boots for a winter visit.
Top things to do in Vancouver Island
You’ll notice a cosmopolitan vibe in Victoria’s small urban core. It’s home to historic districts like Chinatown; acclaimed museums and galleries; and the sparkling Inner Harbour. The regal British Columbia Parliament Buildings are among the most popular landmarks in the province.
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Tofino is part of the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht people. The small coastal village is surrounded by stunning beaches and old growth rainforests that attract hikers, whale watchers, surfers, and winter storm watchers. Its proximity to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Maquinna Marine Provincial Park mean there’s plenty to explore in and around Tofino.
Vancouver Island is one of the world’s top locations for whale watching. Book a guided boat, kayak, or even a seaplane tour to catch a glimpse of these gentle giants. While a smaller population of whales resides in these waters year-round, you’re almost guaranteed an encounter during peak season (May to October), when thousands of whales swim by. Commonly spotted species include humpback, gray, minke, and the fan-favorite orca.