This region is rich in culture and alive with history, and dramatic scenery fills the landscape. Wander barefoot down sandy beaches, drop into the studios of local artist to admire their work or hop a boat tour to explore the coast from the water. Plan an exhilarating day of hiking, fishing, cycling or boating or simply enjoy the view.

Take a cruise with BC ferries sailing through narrow passages to view BC’s dramatic coastline. You may spot whales, dolphins, eagles, sea lions and other marine wildlife. Active pass, home to abundant wildlife, is particularly prime viewing territory.

Stroll Nanaimo’s harbour front Amble along the harbour front and soak in the scene. Watch ferries come and go, fishers unload their catches and seaplanes land, and get fresh fish and chips to go.

Follow the art trail. Follow the blue-and-white artisan signs across Vancouver Island to the studios of local craft people, artisan and artists. On salt spring island, follow a self – guided map tour to more to more than 30 eclectic artisan studios open year – round.

Discover Port Alberni’s yesteryear Join the crew aboard the freight and passenger vessel Frances Barkley for a fascinating day trip from Port Alberni’s harbour to Bamfield, and the broken group island in picturesque Barkley sound.

Witness the wild coast Discover the wind ravaged west coast of Vancouver Island by chartering a sailboat or cruiser for shoreline access to places like remote clayoquot sound, a vast wilderness area sprinkled with tiny islands, bountiful wildlife and lush rainforest.

Discover Tofino Visit this quaint, west coast fishing village colored by aboriginal culture, surfers, artists, naturalists and fishers.  Stroll the waterfront, stop in at the many galleries, take a whale – watching tour, check out the botanical gardens and chow down on fresh seafood.

Take an aerial tour View the coastline and pristine beaches from above. Sightseeing flights are available from Victoria, Nanaimo, Campbell River, Port Alberin, Gold River and Tofino.

Soak at Hot Springs Cove From Tofino, take a day trip by boat or float plane across to Marianna marine provincial Park, where hot springs cove invites a refreshing soak.

Snorkel with salmon Drift with the currents and come eye-to- eye with salmon as they swim up Campbell River to spawn. Go in late August / early September (and book early) to see all five salmon species.

Probe to Salish Sea Learn all about the ocean that surrounds the Gulf Island from sea floor to sea shore at the innovative and interactive Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney.

Explore the beach A visit to botanical beach is one of the best opportunities to see the island’s colorful intertidal life.  Time your visit at low tide to see the tide pools.

Watch a bear fish  Pick up a fishing tip or two from the bears that frequent the far side of the Somass River in Port Alberni as they attempt to catch migrating salmon. Watch for geese and trumpeter swans, too.

Hope a ferry for an idyllic retreat Zip across the harbor on a 10-minute ride an broad a passenger – only ferry from Nanaimo to Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park, where you can hike, swim, cycle or camp.

Go storm watching in winter Witness high winds and heavy swells as pacific storms batter the coast. Brave the elements for an up – close experience or enjoy the view from a cosy great room in a coastal resort.


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