7 Day Vancouver Island Road Trip Itinerary (With Map)

Are you looking for a 7 day Vancouver Island road trip itinerary?

I was born and raised in Vancouver, and Vancouver Island is only a ferry ride away. I have been to Vancouver Island countless times from the mainland and have done road trips on the island.

A Vancouver Island road trip is a fantastic way to explore the island’s beauty. The island is home to diverse wildlife, a mild climate, storm watching, surfing, and more.

While there are many places to visit on the island, this itinerary includes the main destinations, such as Victoria and Tofino.

Let’s dive into the itinerary for this seven day road trip on Vancouver Island.

7 Day Vancouver Island Road Trip Itinerary Overview

Here is a brief overview of the Vancouver Island road trip. You can also start your trip backwards, but you will have to start at the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal instead of Tsawwassen Bay Ferry Terminal.

  • Day 1 & 2: Victoria
  • Day 3: Nanaimo
  • Day 4 & 5: Tofino
  • Day 6 & 7: Ucluelet

Day 1 & 2 In Victoria

Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and the first stop on your road trip to Vancouver Island.

Victoria is worth visiting because it combines historic and modern locations, making it a unique destination. It has much to offer, with iconic landmarks, beautiful parks, and a thriving culinary scene.

While there are many things to do in Victoria, you can still pack a lot of places to see in a couple of days.

Birds eyeview of the city of Victoria. Victoria is the biggest city on Vancouver Island. There are many buildings and trees and the ocean.

Things To Do In Victoria

Here are a few things to do while you’re visiting Victoria. If you’re visiting Victoria in winter, there are still things to do.

1. Walking Around Downtown

Nothing beats walking around downtown Victoria on a sunny day. Many hot spots include Chinatown, The Empress Hotel, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Downtown is also excellent for checking out local restaurants, pubs, and coffee shops.

Fan Tan Alley

Fan Tan Alley is a famous landmark in one of Canada’s oldest Chinatowns. It holds the record for the narrowest street as well.

Fan Tan Alley’s location is in Chinatown. It’s an alley in the middle of the block between Fisgard and Pandora Avenue, with boutiques, jewellery, clothing, and more.

Women (me) walking through a narrow alley way. Fan Tan Ally in Victoria is a must stop on a Vancouver Island road trip itinerary.
Victoria Bug Zoo

If you have children who love looking at bugs, insects, and arachnids, head to the Victoria Bug Zoo. It’s a great place to learn everything bug-related and closely examine their daily habits. Karly, the manager, is an excellent guide and incredibly informative!

I have been to the bug zoo many times, and while I’m not a huge fan of bugs, I did enjoy holding the stick bugs.

Ghost Ramen

If you’re looking for a place to eat for dinner, check out Ghost Ramen. They offer excellent ramen (a Japanese-style noodle dish served in soup with various toppings). The ambience at night was fantastic, and the service/servers were friendly.

2. Victoria Guided Food And History Tour

Suppose you want a more in-depth history of specific locations in Victoria, or interested in the culinary scene, or are a foodie in general. I recommend looking into the Victoria Guided Food and History Tour.

The tour will take approximately two hours, and a guide will take you around downtown Victoria to try local food, craft beer, chocolate and more!

➡️ Check Prices & Availability for The Victoria Guided Food and History Tour

3. Tour The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

Explore the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in Victoria and learn about the province’s political history and governance.

Take advantage of free daily guided tours, providing a look into the operations of the historic parliament buildings. Discover the legislative process and wander through the chambers.

Knowledgeable guides share narratives that showcase the development of democracy in British Columbia, creating an educational and immersive journey for visitors.

Sideway far away photo of the Legislative building.  A Vancouver Island road trip is an excellent way to explore the capital of British Columbia.

Where To Stay In Victoria

Here are a couple of places to stay in Victoria.

💎 Luxury Hotel — The Magnolia Hotel And Spa

The beautiful Magnolia Hotel and Spa building outside view. A modern but vintage looking building on a corner lot.
Image courtesy of Magnolia Hotel and Spa

The Magnolia Hotel and Spa is a beautiful, luxurious four-star hotel in Downtown Victoria. Depending on which side of the hotel you’re on, you will have a magnificent ocean/scenic view or the Parliament Building.

It’s on the more high-end side of a hotel, but considering its location, the Magnolia Hotel and Spa is the perfect spot to stay.

Inside the Magnolia Hotel and Spa lobby with two grey couches across from each other with a glass table in between. There are modern decorations and a large chandelier on the ceiling.
Image courtesy of Magnolia Hotel and Spa
A luxurious hotel room at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa with a view of the Parliament Building through one window and the sun coming through another.
Image courtesy of Magnolia Hotel and Spa
A beautiful bathroom at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa. There are marble floors and countertop. Walk-in shower and bathtub. Sink and mirror on the right.
Image courtesy of Magnolia Hotel and Spa

Hotel Zed in Victoria has modern comfort with a retro vibe, offering practical amenities like free Wi-Fi and a ping pong room. Conveniently located across from Mayfair Shopping Centre, it’s a budget-friendly option not far away from Downtown Victoria.

Day 3 In Nanaimo

While Victoria to Nanaimo is approximately one hour and a 40-minute drive, it’s a great spot to relax before hitting the road to your next location on your Vancouver Island road trip.

Nanaimo is situated on the Eastern coast of Vancouver Island, and it has many recreational options. It also has an extensive shoreline, one of the longest in Canada, and a backdrop of forested mountains just outside the downtown area.

Things To Do In Nanaimo

Here are some things to do while you’re in Nanaimo.

1. Neck Point Park

Walk through the forest of Neck Point Park until you reach the beautiful pebble beach entrance to the ocean — a great park to take the dogs and children or have a picnic until you catch the sunset.

Photo of a neighbourhood across the water with trees surrounding it.Nanaimo is the second largest city on Vancouver Island.

2. Nanaimo Bar Tasting

Nanaimo Bars are a well-known dessert or treat (at least well-known in Canada).

Originated in Nanaimo (hence the name) is a layered treat with a smooth chocolate layer on top, butter and custard powder mixed in the middle, and crushed graham crackers and nuts mixed with chocolate at the bottom.

It’s then refrigerated to chill, and then you can eat! I personally like eating Nanaimo Bars. I’ve been eating them since I was a kid.

Dessert called Nanaimo bars are a Canadian favourite dessert orginated on Vancouver Island. Smooth chocolate on top with yellow butter and custard powder in the middle, crush graham crackers and nuts mixed with choclate at the bottom. Cut into small squares.

Bocca Café is a great spot to try the original or different flavours of Nanaimo Bars. They also have a Nanaimo Bar Latte, which is worth a try.

3. Ammonite Falls

If you want to hike, Ammonite Falls is an excellent spot in Nanaimo. It’s also a fantastic hike in the snow if you happen to be hiking in the winter.

The two to three hour hike will take you to the Ammonite Falls. It can be a strenuous trek for some. As a precaution, there are steep areas. However, there are ropes in those locations to help you in those specific spots.

A waterfall on the right over a rock wall into a small pool of water at the bottom into a stream. Ammonite Falls located on Vancouver Island.

Where To Stay In Nanaimo

Best Western Northgate

The Best Western Northgate is further out from downtown Nanaimo; however, it’s still surrounded by all your needs, for example, restaurants and grocery stores.

However, it’s just off Island Highway North, so it’s accessible to Downtown Nanaimo — only 12 minutes away by car and 28 minutes by transit.

Stops Between Nanaimo And Tofino

Nanaimo and Tofino are a three-hour drive away. The drive is beautiful and scenic, with views of mountains and lakes. However, there are stops on the way to Tofino that are a must-do. It’s also considered one of the best winter road trips in British Columbia.

Old Country Market – Goats On Roof

In Coombs, British Columbia, there’s a great market you need to check out called Old Country Market, aka Goats on Roof. If you’re wondering, yes, they have actual goats on their roof during the summertime.

The main market store is excellent for picking up groceries, pastries, and deli meat. You can also pick up gifts from a wide range of nicknacks to home goods from around the world.

On the outside, the surrounding areas have a gelato/ice cream parlour where you can grab some snacks, a retail store, and a produce market. Also, a small doughnut shop is at the back of the Old Country Market.

If you go through the fenced area, there are a handful of more stores to look at, too.

White goats on a grass covered roof in Coombs British Columbia.
Hole In The Wall

There are many Vancouver Island waterfalls around Port Alberni; notably, one is called Hole in the Wall. A small hike along a gravel path will only take about 20 minutes to do.

It was once a shortcut to the city’s waterline; however, now it’s a fantastic small waterfall for tourists to experience.

Port Alberni

Another rest stop along the way is Port Alberni. It’s a small town where you can stretch your legs and top off your gas. Port Alberni will be one of the last few places to fill up gas before heading to the next stop on your Vancouver Island road trip.

Day 4 & 5 In Tofino

Tofino is worth visiting and is located on the western edge of Vancouver Island. It’s a small coastal village renowned for its outstanding natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities.

It’s a popular destination for surfing, whale watching, and exploring the pristine beaches and old-growth rainforests.

Overhead shot of the coast of Tofino the ocean and islands in the distance with other parts of Vancouver Island. Tofino is one of the most popular places to visit on Vancouver.

Things To Do In Tofino

Are there things to do other than surfing in Tofino? Yes, there is!

1. Tacofino

One of the most popular things to check out is the Tacofino Food Truck. It serves Mexican-inspired food with a Western influence. The most popular items on the menu are fish tacos and burritos. I liked the pork gringas when I had them.

Front ordering station of an orange foodtruck with lots of different stickers on it and a lady Mary? Holding a burrito. Tacofino is famous in Tofino, known for its Mexican inspired surfer style food.

2. Beach Hopping

Tofino has many beaches to hop around, which are all amazing to experience during the storm-watching season. Some beaches that are closer to Tofino are Wickaninnish Beach, Cox Bay Beach, Long Beach, Mackenzie Beach, and my favourite, Chesterman Beach.

Where To Stay In Tofino

Cox Bay Beach Resort

Cox Bay Beach Resort is in an excellent location in Tofino. The resort is situated on Cox Bay Beach, with beautiful views and fully stocked amenities, making it feel like a home away from home. It’s also the perfect spot for families.

Day 6 & 7 In Ucluelet

Ucluelet is another coastal village 30 minutes from Tofino known for its rugged coastline and easygoing atmosphere. I personally liked visiting Ucluelet over Tofino.

The landscape features rocky shores, pristine beaches, and lush rainforests, providing a perfect retreat for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Things To Do In Ucluelet

While Tofino and Ucluelet are a short distance away, you may wonder if is Ucluelet worth visiting. What is there to do? Here are a couple of things to do.

1. Amphitrite Point Lighthouse

A must-visit attraction in Ucluelet is the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse or the Lighthouse Loop. This accessible 2.9-kilometer (1.8-mile) loop typically takes around 45 minutes to an hour to complete.

My boyfriend and I had a fantastic experience on this trail. We thoroughly enjoyed the numerous lookout points and discovered access to a charming small beach.

The Amphitrite Point Lighthouse in the centre of the photo with a red head and white body. The Lighthouse Loop is one of the best easy hikes to do in Ucluelet.

2. Big Beach

Big Beach in Ucluelet offers a captivating exploration experience. Turning over rocks can uncover tiny crabs and small tidal pools with hidden sea creatures at low tide.

Upon entering the beach, you will find a display featuring a picture of an eagle’s wingspan, allowing you to compare your wingspan with eagle information.

Do not miss The Tree of Life, a notable tree stump with historical information dating back to the 1200s!

Rocky beach with the sun setting. Big Beach was one of my favourite places when I visited Ucluelet.

Where To Stay In Ucluelet

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort is on a small cliffside surrounded by black rock and spectacular ocean views. It’s in a great location, only a 15-minute walk from the main town of Ucluelet and a five-minute walk from the Wild Pacific Trail.

Fantastic for couples or families and has a small outdoor pool everyone can enjoy. During dinner, you can also experience Currents Restaurant with a spectacular ocean view and sunset. I also want to note that the rooms have no air conditioning.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Vancouver Island?

While you can visit Vancouver Island year-round, the best times are from March to May or September to November.

Also, temperatures during those months are more moderate and comfortable. However, you can expect possibly more rain.

If you’re on a budget, travelling during those months mentioned above will most likely be cheaper than going during the summer.

How To Get To Vancouver Island

How to get to Vancouver Island from Vancouver is incredibly easy, and it’s only a ferry ride away from the mainland of Vancouver. Before you start your road trip, you’re probably wondering how to get to Vancouver Island first.

Car

Head along Highway 99 South, approximately a 40-50 minute drive to Tsawwassen Bay Ferry Terminal. You want to catch the ferry heading to Swartz Bay, Victoria.

The ride between the two ferry terminals will be approximately an hour and a 40-minute ride.

The other option is from the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal. Heading on Highway 99 North towards West Vancouver is roughly 20 minutes from Downtown Vancouver (without traffic).

Bus

A bus route runs to and from the ferry terminal departing from Richmond. However, getting to the terminal by bus will be a more extended trip.

Depending on where you’re coming from in the city, you want to head toward the Canada Line. Once on the Canada Line, you want to get on the train to Bridgeport Station; after you get off, head to Station Bay 12 and get on the 620 Tswwassen Bay Ferry Express bus.

You’ll then have to buy a walk-on ferry ticket at the desk or online. Once you reach the island, buses stop at the ferry terminal and take you to Downtown Victoria.

How To Get Around Vancouver Island

While Victoria is the central city, multiple buses operate throughout Downtown Victoria. However, getting to the more remote locations around Vancouver Island will be much more accessible by car.

If you’re travelling on foot, no rental car places are immediately close to the ferry terminal. However, there are many car rental companies in Downtown Victoria.

In addition, you can take a bus that regularly stops are the ferry terminal that will take you directly to Downtown Victoria.

Biking in Victoria is growing in popularity and is another way of getting around downtown Victoria. However, I would not recommend biking around Vancouver Island unless you’re prepared and qualified for a long bike ride.

Where Is Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is located off Canada’s Southwestern coast, part of the British Columbia province. It’s separated from the mainland by the Strait of Georgia to the East and the Juan de Fuca Strait to the South.

Vancouver Island Road Trip Itinerary — FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about a Vancouver Island road trip.

What Is Special About Vancouver Island?

What is special about Vancouver Island, you may ask? Well, to start with, Vancouver Island is known for its untamed wildlife, beautiful scenic views, moderate temperatures, relaxing and easy-going environment, and so much more.

Hiking beautiful trails and water activities, such as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, are the most popular things on Vancouver Island.

Can You Drive All Around Vancouver Island?

While you can drive on Vancouver Island, the island is an end-to-end type of drive as you can’t drive all of the island in a loop situation. There are also remote locations that you can’t get to by car on the island.

Can You Drive Vancouver Island In A Day?

No, you can’t drive Vancouver Island in a day. You can drive from one end of the island to the other, but it will take you more than seven hours without stops.

Is Driving Easy On Vancouver Island?

Overall, yes I would say driving on Vancouver Island is easy. However, there may be tight turns around corners, so always exercise caution regardless.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many things to do and see on Vancouver Island in seven days. From Victoria to Tofino, each day offers different experiences and something waiting for you to explore.

Have a good day 🙂