I'm hoping someone can help please. In 2010 we hired a RV and toured Vancouver area and the Rockies and had a fantastic holiday. We didn't get over to Vancouver Island that time but are thinking about exploring the island in a RV next year. We will have 10 or 12 nights and are wondering if there is enough to see/do to warrant spending that many nights just on the Island. I know a lot of the organised tours spend 3 nights or so in the Victoria area and then go back over to the mainland but is there a lot more to see further north towards Campbell River and across to the west of the island in Tofino and Ucluelet. We enjoy seeing beautiful scenery (especially the coast and mountains) and eating out, not really into watersports. Which are the best areas to visit? Any advice would be gratefully received thanks
Ucluelet/Tofino is a bit of a mixed bag; accommodation and restaurants left us severely underwhelmed, but the various short hikes along the Pacific Rim National Park are great - and for us made this area the highlight of our stay. In particular, I don't have enough superlatives to describe the fantastically dense old growth rainforest along Schooner Cove Trail. Also be sure to visit the whimsical Tofino Botanical Garden; the information folder with silly tales about the various parts of the gardens kept us endlessly entertained. And if you go hiking along the coast near Ucluelet, keep a weather eye on the sea. We spotted many grey whales, including one right against the rocks, busily exploring who knows what on the ocean floor and so constantly flapping its tail up above the waves.
Victoria is my favorite Canadian city. Pretty good food options. I can recommend going Orca watching in a small zodiac, or seeing one man band Dave Harris busking along the waterfront.
Thank you Sander If you know Victoria well, do you know whether it is possible to find parking in the city large enough for RV's?
I unfortunately don't really know the city well enough to answer that. I do remember a reasonably roomy parking area just off Wharf Street that might do (this map should show you an overview; also a bit south of there; depending on how far you move the map, either one shows RVs parked), but I have absolutely no idea if that's public parking at all, how easy it would be to find a spot there if it is, or what the costs would be.
the first issue with your RV trip will be the price of fuel. it may really hurt considering how much some of those big monsters consume. if you considering a van sized RV, that will help. not only with fuel but also with negotiating Hwy 4 out to Tofino/Ucuelet. it's pretty narrow and twisty at some points. and then there is parking. i'd say suggest staying in some RV park if visiting Victoria and environs. you can get downtown and even Buchart Gardens by bus. getting up to northern Vancouver Island would be great for the camping, Provincial Parks like Miracle Beach near Comox are great, and there are a good number of RV parks. also, whale watching is easier once you get north of Campbell River. best of all, you can still drive back to Vic in one long day.
Thank you for that information. There will be 3 adults so we will need a larger RV. The one we are considering is 24ft. We did the Rockies in a 30ft RV in 2010 so we know that they consume a lot of fuel. I am concerned about the road to Tofino after what you have said so we will do some more research about that, it would be a shame to miss out the west coast though.
Depending on your interests, etc you could definitely spend 10 days just on the Island. Yes Highway 4 is twisty just before the Tofino/Ucluelet junction but just for a short distance and keep in mind that RVs/semi trucks/buses etc navigate this road on a daily basis all year. Do not let that discourage you from making the trip out there.
There are multiple little islands you can access from the main Island for day trips or overnights and so many things to see from gardens, walks in old growth forests, historical sites, shopping, festivals,etc. Commercial activities will dwindle as you progress north from Campbell River, however there is still plenty of scenery. Keep in mind that most side roads on the North Island tend to become gravel. Most are well maintained though.
A couple of options for you might be renting and returning the RV on the Island or staying in hotels. Campgrounds are fairly plentiful on the Island(s) however can fill up quickly. As far as parking in Victoria, there are places that accomodate parking an RV sized vehicle, even close to the Inner Harbour. I live in the Victoria area and have been driving to most places on the Island over the last 20 years. I would be happy to help you with any questions Barbara.
Chantele, thank you for your helpful post I was discussing the road to Tofino with my husband who pointed out that they must get RV's along there as there are RV parks on the west coast. Your post has reassured us!
We have seen an RV park near to Victoria( http://www.westbay.bc.ca/RVPark.aspx ) and noticed that you can get the harbour ferries from there. We thought this might be a good option rather than try to park in the town. Do you know that RV park?
We did consider renting an RV on the island but there didn't seem to be much choice.
We will be staying in a hotel in Vancouver at the end of the holiday. We have stayed there before and done most of the things from the hop on, hop off bus but would welcome suggestions for different things to see and do, places to eat and places to visit in case of rainy days (hopefully not!!)
Thank you for your offer to answer any questions, I'm sure there will be more as we continue planning our holiday
Odd that someone who isn't interested in water activities would visit an island noted for same, odder still that you couldn't find a rental that suits considering that the Nanaimo area is lousy with RV dealers.
No matter there's till lots to see/do-consider the Pacific Marine Circle Route and don't worry about getting your feet wet.
If you're heading over to Ukee/Tofino area be sure to have reservations the area is a day's drive from both Vancouver & Seattle and is wildly popular.
I like Mussel Beach but some may find it too rustic.
If it's good food you want Matterson House, Norwoods as well as the Floathouse in Ulcuelet are all wonderful places each unique in it's own way-there are many more options in town and all kinds in Tofino as well-consult Trip Advisor for details.
The area around Parksville/Qualicum has a number of options for RV'ers and all kinds of attractions for visitors too many to mention here.
IMO the Very Best of the Island is to be found north of Campbell River but you don't have time and your stated interests preclude you from discovering that part of the North Pacific.