Victoria, BC harbour

The Vancouver Island Road Trip You Need to Take This Fall

There’s so much to see and do on Vancouver Island that a road trip really is one of the best ways to experience everything the area has to offer. This trip will include a breathtaking coastal drive along Highway 19A, friendly charming towns and plenty of awe-inspiring sights. Planning a road trip can be exhausting, so we’ve put together a handy guide to help you get the most out of your Vancouver Island road trip!

First Stop: Tsawwassen

You can begin your journey in Tsawwassen If you have extra time, spend a night in the city. You can go for a sandy afternoon stroll at Centennial Beach or go on a shopping spree at Tsawwassen Mills. Before you on the BC Ferries, pick some fresh berries at Emma Lea Farms first!

owl perched on beach in tsawwassen

Photo: Marissa

Where to stay: Stay at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn and take advantage of the Stay & Shop Package, which includes a $40 gift card for Tsawwassen Mills. The hotel is also minutes away from the BC Ferries Tsawwassen Terminal.

exterior of coast tswwassen inn

Second Stop: Victoria

shot of victoria harbour during sunset

Photo: Nick

Victoria has no shortage of attractions and has a fantastic food and beer scene. Spend your time here in pursuit of great brews by following the Victoria Ale Trail. This brewery hop will take you to the best craft breweries around the city’s Upper Harbour, including:

Spinnakers
Swans Brewpub
Canoe Brewpub
Moon Under Water

In the evening, head to the award-winning Blue Crab Seafood House where you can feast on local seafood.

blue crab at victoria harbourside hotel with ocean view

In the morning, hop on Highway 1 and head north towards Nanaimo. As you cruise through, you’ll be rewarded with scenic views, and get out the Malahat lookout to admire the views over the Saanich Inlet.

Third Stop: Nanaimo

Nanaimo is known for its spectacular nature so this would be the perfect place to stretch your legs. You can get some fresh air and explore Pipers Lagoon Park or Neck Point Park (just north of Pipers Lagoon). At Neck Point Park, wildlife can be spotted any time, including sea lions, otters, and sometimes Orca whales and dolphin pods also pass by.

Neck Point Park in Nanaimo View

Photo: Mike Anderson | Tourism Nanaimo

If you’re up for more adventures, take a short ferry ride to Gabriola Island. There, you can spend the day on the water with a fishing charter or go on a hike at Gabriola Sands Provincial Park, Drumbeg Provincial Park, or Descanso Bay Regional Park. Coast Bastion Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Nanaimo and within walking distance to the BC Ferries Terminal. During your time here, you can enjoy free Wi-Fi, a well-equipped fitness centre and delicious meals at Minnoz Restaurant + Lounge.

interior shot of minnoz

Pit stop: Next morning, make a detour to Coombs and go see goats on the roof at the Old Country Market! The Old Country Market is also famous for its specialty foods, gifts and baked goods, so if you’re hungry, stock up! From Coombs, you can take the Oceanside Route Highway 19A for a scenic ride. The drive will take you through many picturesque seaside communities.

Final Stop: Campbell River

The last stop on your epic road trip is Campbell River. Our recommended activities are:

● Salmon fishing (Campbell River is known as the world’s salmon fishing capital) walk along the Discovery Pier to get superb views of the Discovery Passage
● Hike the Canyon View Trail and walk the 80-foot suspension bridge
● Meander through the old growth forest at Miracle Beach.

Where to stay: For accommodations, book your stay at the Coast Discovery Inn, which offers free parking, Wi-Fi, and a hot breakfast buffet. It’s also in the heart of downtown and close to BC Ferries Terminal.

exterior view of coast discovery inn

Vancouver Island is full of hidden gems and treasures, and a road trip is the best way to see it all. Along the way, you’ll have adventures, make memories, and enjoy comfortable accommodations, including the Coast Tsawwassen Inn, Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA, Coast Bastion Hotel, and Coast Discovery Inn. Visit Coast Hotels today to book an Island adventure this fall!