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hrewer 10-30-2018 11:10 PM

Camping on Vancouver island
 
We're planning a trip to Vancouver Island in May and would love some suggestions. We have 2 - 3 weeks. We'd like to spend a few days near Victoria doing city activities and then get out for the natural beauty for the rest of the time. I imagine it is hard to find parking in the city so something near a bus route might work for the city days.
If anyone has ideas for beautiful places they have visited, or the best way to use our time, we would be most appreciative!
Thanks,
Kim

dhighfield 10-31-2018 09:46 AM

Definitely Bucharest Garden

dhighfield 10-31-2018 09:47 AM

Darn auto correct; Buchart Garden

margeleept 10-31-2018 09:53 AM

We stayed at an amazing campground just a few miles outside Victoria. Pretty sure it was Goldstream. I was amazed at how remote it felt for being so close to town. Butchart Gardens is not to be missed, and do plan to stay for their fireworks show. Lots going on right in downtown Victoria. The areas north of Victoria are VERY remote. Trees, trees, trees! The area around Tofino is beautiful.

Wayne Collins 10-31-2018 09:56 AM

We've been looking at a trip like that too.
Have been there before but without a trailer.
Took the ferry from Anacortes WA to Victoria through the islands.
Then the big ferry from Nanaimo to N. Vancouver.
This time though, we want to drive as far north as we can on the Island.

Glenn Baglo 10-31-2018 10:01 AM

Go here: https://www.hellobc.com/

Dave Fish 10-31-2018 10:04 AM

Victoria has lots to offer. We always stay at Ft Victoria campground. It's an average campground, nothing special, but convenient access to downtown. If you have bicycles, it's just off the bike trail that leads downtown and to other areas.

We haven't been there for a few years, so check current reviews in case it's changed.

MurrayC 10-31-2018 10:20 AM

Howard and Kim
For your stay in Victoria I would suggest you park at Goldstream Park. From here you are about 20 minutes to downtown Victoria.
For the rest of the island take a look at "rec sites on Vancouver island" these are no fee places to camp with a picnic table, fire pit and outhouse. Usually on a lake. A little out of the way but nice.
For prov. and private campgrounds take a look on the web. Lots of them.
Moutcha Bay resort is really nice just north of Gold River. Alder Bay resort is good about 10 minutes from Telegraph Cove, our whale watching capital.
Be sure to reserve your sites at it gets busy in the summer months.
You will have a great time here.
Murray from Qualicum Beach, Van. Island

Retired Brian 10-31-2018 11:34 AM

If you take the ferry from Anacortes you will arrive on Vancouver Island in Sidney, a suburb of Victoria. If you take the ferry from Port Angeles you will arrive in downtown Victoria and likely have to do a bit of city traffic maneuvering to be on your way. We like to stay at the Oceanside RV Park just outside of Sidney. Sidney is about 20 minutes away from Buchart Gardens and about 20-30 minutes from downtown Victoria. I don't find parking in Victoria to be too bad BUT get yourselves the "park Victoria app" a free app that you use to pay for parking. You only have to ever load $10 at a time so no danger of having a big unused balance when you leave and it makes paying for parking a breeze and you only pay for the time you are actually there instead of overpaying with coins or a credit card.

From Sidney to Nanaimo is less than two hours with numerous places to stop along the way. "Living Forest Oceanside RV Park & Campground" on the south end of Nanaimo is excellent and good base for touring that part of "mid island.

Tofino is about 3 hours from Nanaimo. On the way, stop in at Coombs, a very popular spot. Either Coombs or Port Alberni for a lunch stop on the way. Tofino is beautiful (reminds me of the Northern California coast). Have never camped there so cannot recommend a park.

Back on the east side of the island, it is about an hour north from Nanaimo to the Comox Valley. Take the slightly slower coastal route through Parksville and Qualicum for much nicer oceanside views. A couple of choices in the Comox Valley are the small campground on Comox Lake near Cumberland or the new and improved Cape Lazo RV Park where you are right on the ocean.

About 45 minutes farther north is Campbell River (again take the more scenic oceanside route) and then it starts to get more remote but beautiful country. A real nice place to stay is Brown's Bay Resort (RV Park) about another 45 minutes north of Campbell River.

Port McNeil is about 2.5 hours north of Campbell River. Alder Bay RV Park is a good place to stay up there. While in that area, visit Telegraph Cove (whale watching), Sointula and Alert Bay for excellent native culture. There's a good chance you might see one or more bears while driving up there. It is really pretty country.

Have a great trip :-) :-)

Ian Hepher 10-31-2018 11:36 AM

Tofino! A bit of a drive, but absolutely beautiful any time of year. Several great campgrounds, and world-class food!

Jann Todd 10-31-2018 01:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wayne Collins (Post 722630)
We've been looking at a trip like that too.
Have been there before but without a trailer.
Took the ferry from Anacortes WA to Victoria through the islands.
Then the big ferry from Nanaimo to N. Vancouver.
This time though, we want to drive as far north as we can on the Island.

You can go a long way up on the island. We did that. There's a ski area that we went to and went up the ski lift. It was amazing. We took the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria. We took our 23 ft motorhome. The ferry when we went charged $5.25 for every foot over 18 ft plus $39 for any passengers except the driver plus a flat fee. So it cost us $107 going and $108 coming back. So take off any bike racks or anything that extends from your vehicle if you can. If you stick one inch over their foot line you pay for a foot.

Jann Todd 10-31-2018 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hrewer (Post 722594)
We're planning a trip to Vancouver Island in May and would love some suggestions. We have 2 - 3 weeks. We'd like to spend a few days near Victoria doing city activities and then get out for the natural beauty for the rest of the time. I imagine it is hard to find parking in the city so something near a bus route might work for the city days.
If anyone has ideas for beautiful places they have visited, or the best way to use our time, we would be most appreciative!
Thanks,
Kim

You must go to Buchart Gardens. There's also a butterfly pavilion on the road to the gardens that was really nice. We drove to many of the small towns along the east coast of the island and walked around seeing a lot of fun and interesting stuff. Get some travel guides for the island and see what you would like to do. We went to a to a town with a bunch of fire hydrants painted like people. That was fun also. We stayed at Goldstream Falls State Park outside of Victoria. It is beautiful and there is a waterfall you can walk to. The trail starts at the far end of the park. We found this out after walking for a long way. The path took us a few feet from our site. It has nice bathrooms but no electric when we were there. Any place on the island is beautiful. We spent 12 days there and wished we could have spent 12 more. Fill up with gas on the island. It is cheaper than in Vancouver. Not as cheap as Washington though.

Island Claire 10-31-2018 02:07 PM

If you plan your trip right, and extend a bit into June, you can join Island Bolers and Friends for our June Meet-up at Living Forest Campground. It will be June 7 to 9.



May on the island can be warm, but it can also be wet and foggy. Come prepared for damp.



We have lots of private and provincial campgrounds on the island. Provincial campgrounds do not have hook-ups. Some have showers and flush toilets and some only have pit toilets. May is the beginning of the camping season, some places do not open until after the May long weekend, so check dates closely.



The weekend of May 20th is a HUGE camping weekend as the Monday is a holiday. You will need to reserve if you wish to camp that weekend. You can only reserve a provincial park 3 months in advance.


You have three ferry options for getting to the Victoria end of the island. The Blackball ferry runs Downtown Victoria to Port Angeles, the Washington State Ferry that runs between Anacortes and Sidney - near Victoria, and the BC Ferries that run Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, near Sidney.


The fireworks at Butchart gardens are only in July and August. The garden is beautiful, if you like gardens.


Recreation Campsites are usually located on gravel roads, but are often quiet and pretty.



Give us some hints as to what you like to do and we can provide more ideas.

Franswa 10-31-2018 04:29 PM

first....
 
7 Attachment(s)
first thing you should do is some research on the web....this might be an island...but it's BIG. If you have "2-3 weeks with a few days in Victoria" you will not cover it all...so might as well prioritize....


Campground wise you will find commercial campgrounds and what I call "premium" campgrounds....both will have the usual services, the premiums will have more amenities (either man made or natural)....regulars around 30 bucks, premiums around 15 bucks more (Living Forest mentioned is one)


Provincial Parks also come in two varieties....they are usually in densely treed areas, sites are spaced further apart than commercial CGs. No services. Outhouses. Garbage service. These are about 20 bucks. There are also "premium" PPs usually with kiddie playgrounds and shower/washroom houses. these are about 35 bucks (Goldstream is one of those)


Regional Parks CGs are operated by local government or "societies" promoting one thing or other (like salmon enhancement)....usually with some sites serviced and some not...these are great to find and stay at IMO....usually cheap, because of their location or "mission" always interesting and welcoming. (Sooke River CG, in Sooke is one)



Rec sites are in more remote areas....no services, no fee, pit toilets, sometimes garbage service (bins)......although some of the more busy, frequented ones now charge 10 bucks during busy season to cover garbage and caretaker/host costs


I've stayed at Fort Victoria and Goldstream PP....same price...for me it's no contest...but if you really like camping among big trees you may want to stay at Goldstream with no services for the same price (?) Fort Victoria is closer in as well.


You picked a good time of year (before kids get out of school) I wouldn't worry much about reservations...but pack a sweater and rain gear...just in case.


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.


Have fun!

Franswa 10-31-2018 05:03 PM

mecca....
 
1 Attachment(s)
if you spend the big bucks (ferries) to get on Vancouver Island....I guess you sort of have to go the the west coast (Uclulet / Tofino)....that's a one way in / one way out trip (no circle drive)....and along the way (Port Alberni area) there are some very interesting spots...


If you go north of Campbell River....there is only the main highway that is paved...just about everything else is gravel / logging roads. Lots and lots of lakes and adventure...but it's rugged driving unless you stay close to the main road (Like Tel Cove...and yes, Alder Bay Resort is a nice spot right on the water!).....the distances are a lot greater up there as well...you have to check your gas gauge often.....also "north" of CR the island goes more westward than north...when you cross the bridge in CR realize that you are entering a different climate....we had a hot spell here in August where temps reached almost 30C...too hot for me....I drove up to Port Hardy (250k or so) and it was a pleasant 16C and sunny!


Yeah, so to repeat myself....prioritize....if you try to do it ALL, you'll be a driving "fool" and get home from vacation "exhausted"...Cheers, F

stude 11-01-2018 01:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hrewer (Post 722594)
We're planning a trip to Vancouver Island in May and would love some suggestions. We have 2 - 3 weeks. We'd like to spend a few days near Victoria doing city activities and then get out for the natural beauty for the rest of the time. I imagine it is hard to find parking in the city so something near a bus route might work for the city days.
If anyone has ideas for beautiful places they have visited, or the best way to use our time, we would be most appreciative!
Thanks,
Kim

:Kim, when do you plan to do this trip? Tofino is one of the better stops on hwy. Has good food shopping there plus the sights are unbelievable and as you drive up the road you get to find out where all the good walking and hiking beaches are or for surfing but you need a wet or dry suit as the water is real cold below your freezing line. There are all kinds of places to see and do on the Island, we usually go to Tofino area find a place to park where we do not have to pay and it is usually late Nov. to end of Feb. for the wild ocean waves. Also some real nice winter sunsets on the beach.
stude

k corbin 11-01-2018 04:14 AM

Don't forget to enjoy some of the historic aboriginal cultural exhibits of the area. I think it really enhances the experience of the natural surrounds of woods and sea as well as the plant and animal life. You can then see and imagine what it was like before the Europeans arrived and of course before all the tourist, loggers, etc.

https://www.tourismvictoria.com/blog...lture-victoria

Shuswaping 11-07-2018 11:45 AM

Van island
 
I agree with all the above.. and maybe add the royal museum in Victoria.. amazing gives a overview of b.c..
There is a hot spring near Tofino u can stand under the waterfall nice warm water..
Lots of great stops.. plan your campsites. Ahead gets busy.. u can prebook provincial campsites in early May
Take care and enjoy!

Harlan C 11-07-2018 12:12 PM

If you're traveling north on the island and if it's in your budget to splurge a bit, have dinner at the The Pointe restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn...incredible spot over the water and the rocks. Staying there is really expensive...$350-$800 a night but the restaurant is worth the stop. Check it out on TripAdvisor. Wickaninnish has been rated in the Top 10 by Travel and Leisure for many years.

baldymountain 11-07-2018 01:05 PM

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


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