Vancouver Island Getaways: The Best Places to Visit

Oct 15, 2020

Vancouver Island has long been a favourite destination among Travelzoo members and is now being celebrated as one of the world's best islands by Conde Nast Traveller

Discover what all the fuss is about while road tripping to some of Vancouver Island’s wildest destinations, abundant with natural wonders, roadside stops and scenic seaside towns. Connect with your inner adventurer while exploring windswept beaches, hiking snowcapped peaks and walking among the giants in old-growth rainforests.


No trip to Vancouver Island is complete without visiting Victoria. Take an easy ferry ride or seaplane flight from the mainland and you'll arrive in the relaxed British Columbia capital with terrific shopping, buzzing cafes and an elevated dining scene. Wander its gorgeous neighbourhoods and parks or attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf, Royal BC Museum, Butchart Gardens, Hatley Castle, Craigdarroch Castle, Canada’s oldest Chinatown and Beacon Hill Park.

Located 20 minutes from Victoria, Bear Mountain offers four-season recreational fun with two Nicklaus Design golf courses featuring 36 holes and panoramic city, ocean and mountain views. It's been eight years since we've offered a getaway to this picture-perfect area but this deal was certainly worth the wait: For $109-$125 per night, you'll get roomy accommodations with a kitchenette and balcony looking out onto the wooded course at Fairways Hotel on the Mountain.

If a soothing seaside breeze is more your thing, head northeast up the Saanich Peninsula, a long scenic headland, to the picturesque town of Sidney by the Sea. For the first time ever, Travelzoo members save nearly 40% on waterfront stays at the historic and recently restored Latch Inn, The nightly rate is $145-$179, including accommodation in a room featuring marina views and decorated with period pieces. Stays include made-to-order breakfast and a bottle of Stellar’s Jay brut sparkling wine.

Central Vancouver Island

Head up the Island Highway to the beach towns of Parksville and Qualicum Beach — collectively known as Oceanside — that make for a fun, family-friendly weekend getaway. Qualicum Beach is also a popular retirement community. Goats on a Roof market is a popular place to stop, shop, get ice cream and spot some goats on a grass roof. Nanaimo is one of the two major cities on Vancouver Island, and where you get on and off the ferry if travelling to the Central and North Island or to the Pacific Rim. 

Don't miss your chance to save over 40% on fall stays in Ladysmith. Weeknights are $99 at a cheap-and-cheerful hotel that makes the perfect base for hitting the beach, the links or the trails. Weekends are $20 more per night and all stays include free breakfast and parking.

Gulf Islands

Island life is a serene experience for those looking to recharge and connect. The Gulf Islands — which consist of over a dozen islands in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the mainland — take that secluded philosophy to the next level. Characterized by dramatic coastlines and a diversity of plants and animals, these islands have long been a haven for artists, creative spirits and organic farmers with a mild, sub-Mediterranean climate year-round.

You might feel inspired to pen a verse in praise of the comforts at Poet's Cove Resort & Spa, a 4-star hideaway nestled between the ocean and the forest on South Pender Island. Two-night stays start at $269 with a deal that saves over 30% on lodge rooms, villas and cottages that sleep up to six. 

Tofino & Ucluelet

Ask anyone from the West Coast where to experience the true West Coast and they will likely say Tofino. The drive alone is worth the trip, winding through old-growth forest in Cathedral Grove and past shimmering Sprout Lake. You’ll feel like you’re at the edge of the world as you walk the expansive beaches in Pacific Rim National Park, the wild region between Tofino and its southern sister village Ucluelet. The area is a paradise for off-the-beaten-path beach lovers and it's one of the best places to learn to surf in the world let alone in Canada. 

Stays at Tofino Resort + Marina are 40% off in peak storm season, when you can embrace the wildest weather Mother Nature throws at the west coast. Nightly rates through Nov. 11 are $159, dropping to $119 from Nov. 15 - Dec. 29. As if that's not enough, the hotel is throwing in a free bike or paddleboard rental ($50 value) so you can really soak up the Pacific Rim lifestyle.

Alert Bay & North Vancouver Island

Few folks make it further north than Campbell River, but if adventure is in the cards, then the small village of Alert Bay should be the destination. A scenic ferry hop from Port McNeill, Cormorant Island is home to the small, richly evocative and deeply welcoming community that’s been home to local First Nations for generations. The U’Mista Cultural Centre is an excellent place to experience local First Nations culture and art. 

Cabin stays in Alert Bay are nearly $100 less for Travelzoo members. Two-night stays are $219 and include a $25 ferry credit. Cabins have private decks, fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces and free Wi-Fi, though this is a place to unplug — think hiking, fishing and whale watching.

Want to go beyond Vancouver Island? Browse our collection of B.C. deals or visit our blog for more travel inspiration.

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