Camping on Vancouver island - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-07-2018, 01:28 PM   #21
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Highly recommend the Pacific Marine Circle Tour (google)....I've done it twice and I could do it again...Sooke to Renfrew, it's a good, paved and scenic road that drops to the shoreline at times ....Renfrew to Lake Cowichan is through the bush, "hard surfaced", a little narrow in spots but very doable with a trailer like yours....Cowichan to Duncan is almost a freeway. You could "burn" 3 days on that alone....or "zoom" through it in a day and a half.
Agreed.

One major important thing: book your campsites in advance! BC parks has their own system, Canada parks has their own and each private campground will be separate. Camping is popular on the island and there are limited supplies of first come first serve sites.

My personal route (after hanging around Victoria a few days and doing all the touristy things) would be:

Drive out past Sooke and stay at French Beach. Go to Sandcut beach and maybe have dinner at Point-no-point.

Head up a bit further to China Beach and camp there. Do the Mystic beach hike and if you want more to do also do a day trip to Sombrio.

You could day trip to Botanical as well but I'd make that part of the route. Definitely stop at Botanical beach.

Drive towards Lake Cowichan. There are some sites inbetween (like Lizard Lake, which I've never camped at). I'd personally stay at Gordon Bay on Lake Cowichan

Now if you are brave and can handle some logging roads I'd continue west. Check the current road conditions (it's horrible in fall), May might be ok depending on when it was last graded. There are a few logging company campgrounds in the area, depending on how much you want to break things up, but I'd make Pachena bay campground the next stop. On the way you can visit Nitnat lake.

Pachena is beautiful and a great home base to explore Bamfield. In Bamfield I'd ferry to East Bamfield and visit Brady's beach. If you kayak you can have fun around there (rentals are affordable) and there is the option to be boated over to the broken island group to kayak around there for the day then get picked up.

If the roads are a bit too sketchy I'd head east to Nanaimo and stay at Living forest (book asap if you want full service and ocean view...). There is stuff to see near Nanaimo, so it's worth staying a few days.

Next (whichever way you go) head towards Port Alberni. The drive from Bamfield there is pretty amazing and head west again to Tofino / Ucluelet. Do the Long Beach thing. Check out Wickaninnish. Eat some Geoduck (or not).

Next I'd head back east to Parksville / Qualicum beach. Rathtrevor is nice (great beach, flush toilets and showers.. no service since it's provincial). There are private campgrounds around as well. Englishman river is another option if you don't need to stay near the Ocean and it's worth a visit.

Visit Coombs, visit Englishman River falls. Visit Horne Lake caves.

Head up further north. Miracle beach is nice provincial site. Oyster river near there has a proper RV park / marina if you want service.

Mt Washington (a ski resort) has summer activities (biking, new zipline etc).

Head up to Campbell River. Elk falls is popular (I've never stayed there). I'd go stay at Buttle Lake and day trip to Gold River.

I'd consider going to Quadra island, but I'm not sure how expensive it is to take a trailer on those tiny ferries.

I haven't been farther North than Campbell River (yet), so I can't offer any suggestions up there, though you might as well go to Port Hardy if you want to claim you've done Vancouver Island.
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:06 PM   #22
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dubbreak

hi there...interesting....did you do the drive from Cowichan Lake to Bamfield?????? What were you driving/towing???...very interested
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:42 PM   #23
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showers????

"A lot of the provincial campgrounds have flush toilets and showers"


Really? on Vancouver Island?...."a lot" must/is be a subjective term because as I sit here I would have to guess that less than 10% of PPs on the island would have those facilities.....easy to find though, go to BC PP website and check: the ones charging 35 bucks have showers and flush toilets....ALL the rest at 20 bucks don't.


as far as reservations go...the OP was talking about the month of MAY...I would not bother (or pay the extra 6 six bucks) for reservations at PPs in may or most of june.....and a real drawback of rezzies is you HAVE to get there...not my idea of fun on vacation.....for myself who lives here reservations can work because I know how long I might take to "comfortably" get somewhere and how long I might like to stay...............I have NO IDEA how somebody who has not been here before would make those decisions....with the end result of "being a slave" to an itinerary you made a while back with sketchy information" (????).... certainly not ideal, for me anyway.....just my two cents
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:02 PM   #24
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I live in Victoria, so I can answer questions if you have them. There really aren't any bad spots to go!


Butchart Gardens is nice and in May it should be all full of Spring. I'm an avid gardener and I'm now quite done with the place (problems of being a local I guess). it is expensive - get you ticket AT the Gardens or you risk being ripped off.


I saw Ucuelet and Tofino mentioned - awesome wild west coast - big waves and great for storm watching in the stormy season (not May so much). You are looking at about 5.5 hr drive from Victoria to get to either.


Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville is a huge long flat sandy beach - tide comes in over the warm sand for almost a kilometer (1 mile = 1.6 km)



After those I'd say time of year and personal preference starts to take over due to so many great things to see.


RESERVE EARLY - like this year for next Spring!!!



Post here or PM me...I'll help if I can


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Old 11-07-2018, 05:29 PM   #25
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hi there...interesting....did you do the drive from Cowichan Lake to Bamfield?????? What were you driving/towing???...very interested
I've driven it a few times and have never towed that route. The north route via Port Alberni is safer if towing. I have a stick built trailer. First time I went (the south route) it would have been destroyed (rainy season so roads were rutted). The northern route back that same trip would have been fine with the trailer.

I've gone the south route (Cowichan route) in good conditions and towing a modern fg would have been fine. I'd still be concerned about an old boler if the frame hasn't been maintained. BiL broke his Boler frame on a logging road in northern BC (tongue welds failed iirc). In good conditions I was going 80km/h in my truck and friends in an Outback were keeping up. Bad conditions would be half that without a tow vehicle.

North route is much safer if towing. In the campground I've seen a variety of trailers from vintage stick trailers to huge 5th wheels. I assume most take the Port Alberni (north) route. I've generally only seen boats on the south route, but it's rare to see anyone.

Edit: I'd say going the cowichan way there's a chance you'd want to turn back. Luckily the first section is the worst (in my experience) so if you make it past the north side of Cowichan lake you'll probably be fine the rest of the way. Definitely some risk if your trailer is low.
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Old 11-07-2018, 05:51 PM   #26
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I can second that getting past the end of Cowichan Lake is probably the worst part (although not horrible) and some past there may even be paved (although that may be the route to Port Renfrew). I'd take the Youbou side instead of the other side - more paved before you hit logging roads. I had my fiberglass trailer out that way (Heather Campground - oh the views) on Canada Day this summer - no problem (although in full disclosure my trailer has 27" of clearance and much larger than stock wheels). I can do about 50 km/h (31.25 miles/h) on average without too musch banging around - just watch for the occasional washboard spots....little bit of vvvvvvvvvibration then
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:42 PM   #27
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Thank you all so much! This looks like it will be fabulous and 3 weeks may not be nearly enough. Now we need to sit down with a good map and locate all these places. Thanks also for restaurant ideas and tips about the parking app. I’m especially glad to know about the holiday so we can make sure to have reservations that weekend. We'll keep you posted! Thanks again.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:22 AM   #28
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I can second that getting past the end of Cowichan Lake is probably the worst part (although not horrible) and some past there may even be paved (although that may be the route to Port Renfrew). I'd take the Youbou side instead of the other side - more paved before you hit logging roads. I had my fiberglass trailer out that way (Heather Campground - oh the views) on Canada Day this summer - no problem (although in full disclosure my trailer has 27" of clearance and much larger than stock wheels). I can do about 50 km/h (31.25 miles/h) on average without too musch banging around - just watch for the occasional washboard spots....little bit of vvvvvvvvvibration then
I've never attempted the south side of Cowichan, I've only ever gone through Youbou. I'd definitely recommend OP fills up in Cowichan, the tiny gas station in Youbou is expensive and doesn't have pay at the pump etc.

I should clarify, by south route I mean Cowichan to Bamfield and by north I mean Port Alberni to Bamfield.

South route is shorter, north route is smoother (more pavement and the unpaved is hard pack). I think I saved an hour going the south route without towing. Maybe the north route isn't much slower if towing. The north route is beautiful. The Alberni inlet is pretty amazing. The south route is cool as well though. At times you are in a tunnel created by the canopy of trees. There's a cool bridge near Nitnat as well. The clear cuts on the south route are not pretty, but it's logging roads, so..

It's not an easy trip by any means (Tofino is a breeze.. all paved, worst part is getting stuck behind a class c on the sections where it's impossible to pass), but the payoff is pretty amazing.

Plus you could hike some of the ladders on the west coast trail (you can do a little loop between the beach at pachena and the start/end of the trail). Not for the faint of heart. When those ladders are wet it's a bit nerve wracking. That being said we hiked it with toddlers (which involved carrying toddlers up/down 30ft ladders made of 2x4s).

As far as other stuff to do:

The island has lots of breweries (highest density in Victoria, but they are peppered most of the way up the island) and some distilleries and wineries. All the breweries make good beer. The distilleries are ok (I like Sherringham in Sooke) the wineries.. well, if you want good BC wine do a tour of the Okanagan. There are some good wines on the island (a friend has a winery and he'd be upset if I said otherwise..), but it's really seasonally dependent and there's a lot of imported grapes/juice used out of necessity. There's a good meadery as well (run their own hives). I think it's Sooke area.

Food options in Victoria are abundant (I personally think Victoria is punching above its class for a city its size). Tripadvisor is used more locally than Yelp I think, so check on there for options near you.
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:37 AM   #29
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good points on breweries/wineries/food dub!


....especially the food...Victoria has indeed been stepping up it's game in the past 5-10 years - heck even mall food isn't all fast food junk anymore...fresh made and prices not much above said fast food


There really is tonnes to do and see!
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:55 AM   #30
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At some point you are almost certain to drive through Ladysmith. Do yourself a favour and head up the hill to the main street. It was voted Canada's best street in 2017. There's an old building decorated with swastikas, which you don't see very often. And the bakery's cinnamon buns are to die for.
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:24 PM   #31
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There really is tonnes to do and see!
Unless you are a local, then Victoria is boring and there's nothing to do.

Even existing attractions have improved over the past decade. E.g. Butterfly gardens has stepped up its game with new(er) insect displays.

If OP is into sailing chartering a day sail is a fun outing. Oak Bay tends to have good winds and in a half day you can sail around Discovery island and take a nice break for lunch (I've done that with Blackfish Sailing adventures).

Out in Sidney you can take a ferry to Sidney spit to walk around (that's a bit boring if you've done it before). There's the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea which has some impressive sea life displays (local species) and right beside is a distillery! Apparently Thai Corner is quite good and there are cool little shops to wander. Definitely a different vibe from downtown.

Driving or hiking to the top of Mt Doug is cool. You can see most of greater Victoria. Mt Tolmie also has good view (if you are driving might as well do both).

I'd definitely walk the breakwater (easy walk from the inner harbour).

Beacon hill park is cool. I'd stop at Beacon drive-in and grab a soft serve cone (claimed best in Victoria) and walk through the park, maybe visit the petting zoo (which is by donation). It's kind of targeted towards kids, but still fun as an adult. There are some beaches near there (on Dallas rd) that are fun to visit and there's a trail you can walk alone the shore (stairs to get down to the beachfront).

If you are into mt biking there is plenty on the island. Check out the BC Bike race for some ideas of areas to ride on the island (plus videos to get you excited). I think SIMBS ( South Island Mountain Bike Society ) has maps.

If rugged trails aren't your thing but you love biking, then there are the Lochside and Galloping goose trails. They are recreational trails (multi use) that bike commuters favor over streets when possible. They are very well maintained and smooth. You can bike all the way out past Sooke.
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Old 11-08-2018, 12:35 PM   #32
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Ladysmith swastikas....

they got put there in 1912....and ancient symbol Hitler happened to copy...


https://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep...u.aspx?id=6317
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Old 11-20-2018, 12:02 AM   #33
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Anyone know where a paper map of Vancouver Islander is available? I'm referring to fold up paper map around two feet by three feet in size like they have at the welcome center rest areas when you cross into each state.
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Old 11-20-2018, 12:06 AM   #34
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Go here: https://www.hellobc.com/
and request maps, etc.
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:09 AM   #35
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We are forgoing our trip south this winter and plan on spending time touring BC next summer.
Vancouver Island is certainly a priority so we will be following this thread!!
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Old 11-20-2018, 10:52 AM   #36
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Anyone know where a paper map of Vancouver Islander is available? I'm referring to fold up paper map around two feet by three feet in size like they have at the welcome center rest areas when you cross into each state.

Try here Gulf:
https://www.maps2anywhere.com/catalo...ncouver+Island
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Old 11-20-2018, 05:47 PM   #37
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antother "circle" then.....

Campbell River to Gold River to Woss.....
CR to GR paved highway
Woss to CR paved highway
GR to Mt Cain turn-off (big signage on the highway) is gravel...although it is an active logging road, locally it is THE route from Gold River to the North Island. It is comfortably wide and signed at most if not all intersections/turns. The Rona Road alternate to Woss is one lane following a river bottom logged long ago, almost overgrown in spots, very pretty drive, no traffic


I've been as far as Muchalat from Gold River and as far as Vernon Lake from the Mt Cain turn-off . While camped at Klaklakama Lake once I talked with a couple who had come from Gold River in an old clapped out MH who reported the drive (Muchalat to Vernon) was a breeze...


no shortage of lakes on this route, THAT is for sure....the last picture is what it looks like on Rona Road
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:26 PM   #38
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Anyone know where a paper map of Vancouver Islander is available? I'm referring to fold up paper map around two feet by three feet in size like they have at the welcome center rest areas when you cross into each state.
I have found it very difficult to get maps of BC through the mail. You may have to try to get travel guides at a Welcome Center when you get to BC or maybe at the ferry station in WA. We left from Port Angeles in WA and got stuff there.
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:01 AM   #39
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I have found it very difficult to get maps of BC through the mail. You may have to try to get travel guides at a Welcome Center when you get to BC or maybe at the ferry station in WA. We left from Port Angeles in WA and got stuff there.

I posted a link a few comments back to one site (of I assume many) that sell paper maps - think I saw at least 5 of Vancouver Island there.
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:29 AM   #40
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I have several Backroads Mapbooks ( by region ) for BC and Alberta.
https://www.backroadmapbooks.com/
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