Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure along the picturesque roads of Vancouver Island? From stunning coastal views to lush forests and charming towns, this Canadian gem offers a plethora of scenic drives that will leave you in awe.
Whether you're a local looking for a weekend getaway or a tourist exploring the beauty of the West Coast, we've rounded up the best scenic drives on Vancouver Island that are sure to take your breath away.
Pacific Rim Highway: Tofino to Ucluelet
Starting the journey in our home area, the Pacific Rim Highway takes you along the rugged coastline between the vibrant towns of Tofino and Ucluelet. Prepare to be mesmerized by the dramatic views of crashing waves, towering cliffs, and pristine beaches.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings, including whales, sea lions, and bald eagles. Take your time to explore the charming landscapes along the way, indulge in fresh seafood, and breathe in the invigorating ocean air. This drive is a must for any Vancouver Island visitor.
Since Tofino and Ucluelet are close to our hearts, we’ve created personal guides to our top restaurants, beaches, and hiking trails in the area. Don’t miss everything that Tofino and Ucluelet have to offer!
Cowichan Valley Loop
If you’re in Victoria, we recommend that you take a day to escape the hustle and bustle of city life with a scenic drive through the picturesque Cowichan Valley. Known as the "Warmland," this region is famous for its sprawling farmlands, vineyards, and charming small towns.
Start your journey in Duncan, home to beautiful totem poles and the vibrant Duncan Farmer's Market. As you continue your drive, you'll be greeted by rolling hills, vineyards, and wineries offering food and drink tastings. Make sure to stop by the charming town of Cowichan Bay, where you can explore the waterfront and enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants. This drive is a treat for the senses and a true immersion in Vancouver Island’s agriculture scene.
Juan de Fuca Marine Trail: Port Renfrew to Sooke
For nature enthusiasts and hikers, the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail offers a beautiful coastal drive coupled with stunning hiking opportunities. Starting in the quaint town of Port Renfrew, venture along the rugged coastline, with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and lush rainforests. The trail itself spans over 47 kilometers, but you can choose shorter sections to explore. Stop at scenic viewpoints, such as Botanical Beach, to witness unique tidal pools with lots of marine life.
Another must-visit destination along the trail is Mystic Beach. This picturesque grey-sand beach is known for its gorgeous cliffs and misty trees. The drive from Port Renfrew to Sooke is a paradise for those seeking Vancouver Island adventures and a chance to connect with nature.
Comox Valley Loop
Nestled between the mountains and the sea, the Comox Valley Loop takes you through a diverse landscape of mountains, rivers, and farmlands. Start your journey in the charming town of Courtenay and follow the scenic roads to Comox, where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the marina or indulge in fresh seafood.
Continue your drive to Cumberland, a historic mining town with a vibrant arts scene and excellent mountain biking trails. As you make your way back to Courtenay, soak in the picturesque views of the Beaufort Mountains and the serene waters of the Comox Valley. This drive offers a perfect blend of outdoor beauty and culture.
Oceanside Route: Parksville to Qualicum Beach
Escape to the idyllic seaside towns of Parksville and Qualicum Beach along the Oceanside Route. This scenic drive takes you along the coastline, offering stunning views of sandy beaches, tidal pools, and charming coastal communities. Take a leisurely stroll on Parksville Beach, known for its expansive shores and warm waters.
Explore the charming village of Qualicum Beach, with its unique shops, galleries, and the enchanting Milner Gardens. We even mentioned the Shore Restauarant in Qualicum Beach in our Guide To Vancouver Island Cuisine post. This drive is a must-see filled with natural beauty and coastal charm.
As you embark on these scenic drives, be sure to keep your camera handy, as you'll encounter many opportunities for breathtaking photos. Take your time, embrace the laid-back West Coast lifestyle, and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Vancouver Island.
Which drive will you embark on during your visit to Vancouver Island? Let us know in the comments below, and don't forget to follow us on Instagram @tofinosoapcompany for more West Coast inspiration.