ROAAAAAAD TRIP! Victoria is great and all but the summer is coming up and there are so many better places to go when the sun is shining.
Road trips don’t always have to be a week long affair. It’s possible to head out for an hour, two, three, four and then turn the car around. Let’s be honest, sometimes you don’t want to make a playlist longer than 30 songs and you don’t mind listening to each track twice when you have an N’Sync, Britney throwback playlist on standby.
The cost of the ferry to Vancouver these days is atrocious and paying that two-way fare is, as Randy Jackson would say, “going to be a no from me, dawg.”
I know you want to go to the Oregon Coast but who has the gas money for that anyway? Let’s just drive enough so your ass doesn’t get sore and you’re not starting to get annoyed by your friend karaoking poorly between backseat driving.
Gather up your BFFs, pack up the hatchback with picnic blankets, hiking boots, booze, and a sense of adventure! There’s a road trip destination for you at any distance you want to travel!
Click below to start exploring Vancouver Island’s best-kept secrets.
1 Hour 🚗
2 Hours 🚘
3 Hours 🏎️
4 Hours 💨
1-hour road trips
Mystic Beach (72.8 km)
That rope swing is something out of Ferngully. Mystic Beach is one of the most magical places on the island and it’s not even that far out of the city. Take the hour cruise up to the Juan de Fuca trail but skip the workout. Lay out on the beach and let the good times roll.
Cowichan River (85.5 km)
Float season is upon us and I know you’ve been waiting to unpack that pizza floatie you spent an arm and a leg on last summer. Cowichan River is the place to kick back, relax, and get your tan on while you float through the different parts of the river tied to your best friends. Remember to bring an extra floatie for your empties and assign a DD.
2-hour road trips
Gabriola Island (124 km)
A Gulf Island surrounded by the Straight of Georgia, Gabriola is one of the most beauitful road trips you can take this summer. Crossing times vary from Victoria and ferry service only runs from April to June 20th so get yourself over to the island before you have to trek up to Nanaimo to ferry over.
Port Renfrew (108 km)
Two hours west of Victoria is Port Renfrew where the wifi is spotty and the beaches are coloured by gorgeous sunsets. Working to preserve the largest trees that live in Port Renfrew and make the trip over super green!
Horne Lake (184 km)
The road trip to get to the Horne Lake caves is worth it enough. Explore the depths of the caves with your friends and then relax at the lake with a beer to calm your claustrophobia PTSD.
Qualicum Beach (158 km)
A great spot to go in the summer! Stop at Coombs Market on your way to Qualicum Beach to visit the goats on the roof then reserve an Airbnb right on the ocean front. When the tide is out you can walk out for miles on squishy sand and meet sea critters like starfish, crab, and bullheads along the way!
Galiano Island (71.9 km)
The Gulf Island closest to Vancouver is only 2 hours away from the city capital. With hiking, boating, and kayaking to do, you'll never be able to leave this island behind!
Salt Spring Island (52.8 km)
Take a 35 minute ferry from Swartz Bay (and only pay one way!) to get to Salt Spring Island. Another Gulf Island that is complete with cozy restaurants, local shops, and the Salt Spring Goat Cheese Factory where you can go visit the goats that produce the famous Salt Spring Island Cheese. While you’re there make sure you buy some Ruckus goat cheese. It’s worth it!!
3-hour road trips
Port Alberni (197 km)
The place to visit to find some hidden waterfalls and fishing spots! The fishing and lumber town splits city shopping and the deepest parts of it's wilderness by minutes of travel! Do your shoe shopping and then take them into the wild!
Comox (225 km)
Sure you’ve heard of Courtenay, that’s where Mt Washington is and you’ve undoubtedly gone snowboarding or skiing here before (and if you haven’t then go!) but did you know that Comox is only a 13-minute drive away and not too many people know about this hidden gem. If you get the chance to check out Kai Bay go oyster digging for me!
4-hour road trips
Quadra Island (293 km)
Home of great mussels and home to a lot of great people. A lot of my raddest friends are from Quadra Island and the trek and a half is worth it for the beaches and total #PNW vibes.
Tofino (317 km)
Of course, Tofino made the list. I mean duh. The surf city of Vancouver Island is the place to go for that long haul 4-hour road trip. Any BC native or visitor needs to add Tofino to their list of places to summer and you should too.