Daryl and I recently took off on a road trip to the beautiful, rugged west coast of Vancouver Island for the annual Whale Festival. Pure Bliss. We both grew up in Vancouver, and have traveled a lot in this province. You would think that some of the scenery would become common place, but the beauty of the west coast still seems to catch me off guard. So, just in case you’re headed there in the near future… we thought a list of some of the hot spots would be in order.
Top 5 Things About the West Coast of Vancouver Island:
1. Whale-Watching & Boat Rides
Short vacations mean that you get to splurge a little.. or at least I can rationalize pulling out my Visa a little more frequently. This explains how we ended up on a boat in the middle of the open ocean to witness the annual migration of 20,000 gray whales from Mexico to Alaska, with Ron, the most delightful guide from Ocean Outfitter Adventures (no free plug here..we paid a small fortune). Not only did we see amazing scenery, sea lions, otters, seals, bald eagles and many cute little birds, but we spotted 4 gray whales that measured up to 50 feet long moving through the water. Amazing! ** Apparently the trip to the hot springs by boat is supposed to be well worth it as well.
2. Pacific Rim National Park
Incredible set of trails that are extremely well kept, that follow ocean coastlines, bogs, and rainforests. We walked the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, and the views were spectacular.
3. Gorgeous Beaches
So apparently people actually surf here even in the winter. Not a chance I’m getting a 5-inch wetsuit on my body, but there are many people much more hardcore than we are hitting the waves each day. The beaches are incredibly beautiful to walk along, and you can beachcomb for mussels and oyster shells along the way.
4. Super Friendly People
And I’m not just saying this because I locked my keys in the trunk and the tow truck arrived to help me in less than 20 minutes. This is a laid-back town filled with many happy and relaxed people that were incredibly helpful. And also political — this is a town with very diverse opinions on environmental issues, which is always interesting.
5. Best Fish & Chips of My Life
Yup. I said it. Even better than the fish and chips I ate in New Zealand that came in newspaper. The Wildside Grill takes the award. Panko crusted oysters and fresh ling cod that were caught that day. Yes please.