10 Best Vancouver Travel Guide

Updated on: May 2021

Best Vancouver Travel Guide in 2021


Fodor's Pacific Northwest: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and the Best Road Trips (Full-color Travel Guide)

Fodor's Pacific Northwest: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and the Best Road Trips (Full-color Travel Guide)
BESTSELLER NO. 1 in 2021

Fodor's Vancouver & Victoria: with Whistler, Vancouver Island & the Okanagan Valley (Full-color Travel Guide)

Fodor's Vancouver & Victoria: with Whistler, Vancouver Island & the Okanagan Valley (Full-color Travel Guide)
BESTSELLER NO. 2 in 2021

Lonely Planet Vancouver (City Guide)

Lonely Planet Vancouver (City Guide)
BESTSELLER NO. 3 in 2021
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DK Eyewitness Top 10 Vancouver and Vancouver Island (Pocket Travel Guide)

DK Eyewitness Top 10 Vancouver and Vancouver Island (Pocket Travel Guide)
BESTSELLER NO. 4 in 2021

Lonely Planet Vancouver & Victoria (City Guide)

Lonely Planet Vancouver & Victoria (City Guide)
BESTSELLER NO. 5 in 2021

Insight Guides Explore Vancouver & Victoria (Travel Guide with Free eBook) (Insight Explore Guides)

Insight Guides Explore Vancouver & Victoria (Travel Guide with Free eBook) (Insight Explore Guides)
BESTSELLER NO. 6 in 2021

Moon Vancouver & Canadian Rockies Road Trip: Victoria, Banff, Jasper, Calgary, the Okanagan, Whistler & the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Travel Guide)

Moon Vancouver & Canadian Rockies Road Trip: Victoria, Banff, Jasper, Calgary, the Okanagan, Whistler & the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Travel Guide)
BESTSELLER NO. 7 in 2021

Moon Victoria & Vancouver Island (Travel Guide)

Moon Victoria & Vancouver Island (Travel Guide)
BESTSELLER NO. 8 in 2021

Fodor's Vancouver & Victoria: with Whistler, Vancouver Island & the Okanagan Valley (Full-color Travel Guide)

Fodor's Vancouver & Victoria: with Whistler, Vancouver Island & the Okanagan Valley (Full-color Travel Guide)
BESTSELLER NO. 9 in 2021

Fodor's Pacific Northwest: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, & the Best of Oregon and Washington (Full-color Travel Guide)

Fodor's Pacific Northwest: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, & the Best of Oregon and Washington (Full-color Travel Guide)
BESTSELLER NO. 10 in 2021

Journey Past Victoria, B.C: Travel Guide to Vancouver Island's Beautiful West Coast

Vancouver Island, off Canada's southern west coast, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world, but most people go to Victoria and don't venture out to other parts of the island. Here is your guide to visiting the west coast of the island.

With most tourists heading straight to Victoria, B.C., and never venturing further onto the island, here is your guide to exploring the Tofino-Ucluelet area on the west coast of this picturesque isle.

Getting there

If you were heading directly to Victoria, B.C., the Victoria Clipper out of Pier 69 in Seattle would be your best option, but it is a passenger-only ferry, and for adventures outside of Victoria, you really need a car.

The closest car and passenger ferry to the island, is boarded in Anacortes, Washington, about an hour and a half north of Seattle. If you are traveling in the summer, be sure and make your reservation in advance. It's a good idea to do this any time of year, and absolutely necessary in peak season. As of September, 2020, fare for vehicle and driver is $56.95, and additional adult passengers are $16.85, each way.

Your journey on the ferry can be almost as fun as your destination, as it sails through the picturesque San Juan Islands on its way to Vancouver Island.

There are a few things to keep in mind when traveling to Canada, as it has gotten more difficult to go through the borders between the U.S. and Canada. Passports are now required for U.S. citizens, though children 15 and younger can travel with just a birth certificate. If both parents are not traveling with the child, you must have a notarized permission letter from the absent parent(s) along with a phone number where they can be reached.

Any time you are traveling out of the country, it is important to check entry regulations as they frequently change. I ran into trouble with this when the law in regard to parental permission had just gone into effect. Don't make the same mistake.

Keep in mind there are also several situations in which Canada may deny you entry to the country, including felonies and DWIs.

Where to go

While there are several incredibly scenic locations across the island, they are spread out, with several somewhat remote difficult to reach. I recommend heading to one area and and spending your time exploring what is around you, rather than spending your whole trip in the car.

For this adventure, we'll go to Tofino on the west side of the island, a community with a population of about 1,650 on the southern edge of Clayoquot Sound. From here you can explore the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and the tiny hamlet of Ucluelet on the Ucluth Peninsula.

Where to stay

You'll find accommodations in Tofino that range from an inexpensive traveler's guesthouse for $35 per night rates to high end resorts and enchanting private hideaways at several hundred dollars a night or more.

Joe's Tofino Trek Inn is a Bed and Breakfast/Hostel type lodging, and offers many advantages. You can stay bunk-style for as little as $25 a night, which can be perfect for single travelers, or book your own room for as little as $65 per night. Joe's is comfy, clean, and feels like home.

I have run into several people who travel to Tofino annually, and have stayed at many different places until finding Joe's. After that, they won't stay anywhere else in Tofino.

What to do

Tofino, and the entire island, is an outdoor adventurer's paradise. In April, 2020, Tofino was rated number one, in the "Best Beaches of Canada" by Travellers' Choice and Trip Advisor. Part of the reason they received this award, is because of his wide range of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including sport fishing, wild life viewing, hiking, sea-kayaking, whale watching, boating and more.

The hardest decision we'll be trying to figure out what you can fit into the time you have on the island. A visit to the Pacific Rim National Park, located between Tofino and Ucluelet should be on the top of your list. The two towns are only a half hour apart, and the park is easily accessible.

This area of the park is called Long Beach, and it is home to a magical rain forest as well as a long, sandy beach. Here you can hike, surf, explore tide pools, go bird watching and more.

Depending on the time of year, I highly recommend a sea-kayaking tour. There are several outstanding outfitters offering two-hour, half day and full day trips starting as little as $60. On your adventure, you'll have a good chance of spotting killer whales, gray whales, humpbacks, seals and sea lions, numerous bald eagles and much more.

My kayaking trip off Vancouver Island is one of my all-time greatest memories. I've seen more wildlife and marine life here than anywhere in the world, just a few I spotted include black bears, bald eagles, and killer whales.

Where to eat

If you like fresh seafood and quality, local produce, you are in one of the best places in the world to enjoy it. Wildside Grill offers amazing fish and chips with a choice of oysters, salmon, cod or shrimp, and a variety of fresh seafood including mouth-watering fish tacos. They also offer a delicious breakfast with Huevos Rancheros that are to die for.

It's really hard to go wrong here with so many fresh, local ingredients right available right on the island. Take one of the many fishing trips offered here, and your guide might just cook up your own catch for you. It doesn't get much fresher than that.

K.C. Dermody is a freelance writer and a Featured Contributor for Yahoo!Travel. She has traveled to nearly all 50 states, and many countries worldwide, and has a passion for imparting what she has learned from her experiences to others.

More from this contributor:

Great Hikes and More: Get Outdoors and Enjoy Beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia

The Best Place in the World to See an Orca (Killer Whale) in the Wild

Ireland Side Trips: An Overnight Adventure to Inishmore in the Aran Islands