Day Trips from Victoria
Take some leisurely Victoria day trips and tours from our Victoria bed and breakfasts and discover the gentle lifestyle and scenic splendour of southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
- Explore ancient rainforest trails and coastal villages.
- Taste wines and ciders from local wineries.
- See totem poles in Duncan and then the spectacular Chemainus murals.
- Experience the tranquility of island life.
We can help you plan your Vancouver Island tours of the east coast from Victoria to Nanaimo (110km / 70 miles). Start your tour heading north on Hwy 1 and choose from the many exciting opportunities that follow.
Hike the forested trails of Thetis Lake or nearby Goldstream Park, a mere 15 minute drive from the heart of downtown Victoria. Thetis Lake Park is 780 hectares, with three lakes, well-marked trails, a popular swimming beach, ancient forest, and rocky hilltops with excellent views of the region.
Goldstream Provincial Park has great spirit! Massive 600-year old fir and cedar trees, majestic waterfalls, a meandering river that meets the sea, flowers, birds, animals. See the world class salmon-spawning stream with thousands of salmon returning between October and December. Take a short hike to Niagara Falls, a 50-metre cascading waterfall. Find an abandoned gold mine or take trails to incredible views. Get up close to one of the largest concentrations of Bald Eagles anywhere in Canada from December to February.
Ready for a drive? One of Vancouver Island’s scenic drives, the Malahat Drive, lies ahead with some panoramic views across Saanich Peninsula and the Gulf Islands as far as snow-capped Mt. Baker in Washington State.
Perched near the Malahat Summit, stop for lunch at the Malahat Mountain Inn. With good food, interesting wines and cozy atmosphere, this restaurant offers spectacular views of the Saanich Inlet and Gowland Todd Provincial park.
Less than an hour's drive from Victoria over the Malahat Drive you will find the gently rolling countryside of the South Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island's Wine Country. It is a land of farms and forests, lakes and rivers, rolling hills and ocean beaches. Head for the wineries or tour the coastal and countryside communities of Mill Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill and Cowichan Bay.
Award winning wineries and one cidery are alive and well in the South Cowichan. Grab a map of the wine route and tour the country roads through lush rolling hills to enjoy some complimentary tours and tastings. Watch for the annual festival “Wines of the Island” in the first week in September.
In Cowichan Bay you will find the second oldest grass courts in the Commonwealth (after Wimbledon) at the South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club. At Shawnigan Lake you can visit the "real" last spike on the Trans-Canada railway or the Kinsol Trestle bridge. At over 187 metres long, the 1920s timber trestle is an engineering marvel, reputed to be the largest in the Commonwealth. It towers nearly 40 metres above the churning Koksilah River. Mill Bay has the area's main shopping at Mill Bay Centre, a handy stop for snacks and a casual stroll through shops.
Duncan, known as the "City of Totems," is 40 minutes from downtown Victoria. Tour through the town shops and search out almost eighty totem poles spread throughout the city. There are 41 totems on the self-guided tour or you can take a free guided tour provided by the Cowichan Valley Volunteer Society.
At the Quw' utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre you can experience native cultures and traditions including education, art, and traditional weaving, beading, spinning, and entertainment. More information is available at the Duncan Visitor lnfo Centre, Duncan City Hall, and the Caboose Info Centre at the Duncan Railway Station.
Interested in a steam train ride and genuine logging machinery from days gone by? Visit the BC Forest Museum just minutes north of Duncan’s town centre on Hwy 1.
Heralded as "The Little Town That Did" Chemainus is known world-wide as the largest outdoor art gallery. Over 35 larger-than-life wall paintings are scattered through the streets and alleyways of this century-old former mill town depicting its history. Take a trolley tour through town or follow the painted footprints and discover the murals, all carefully woven into the townscape. Plan ahead to enjoy Bernard Shaw, Agatha Christie or some light comedy or musical at the Chemainus Dinner Theatre.
You then have two choices: continuing North or returning via Salt Spring Island.
A. Continuing North. Drive 10 miles to Ladysmith and wander the shops in this historic town. Next stop: Yellow Point, on the east side of Hwy 1. Its rolling landscape is rural with a wide array of studios, craft shops and cottage industries. Discover locally made products ranging from fine artwork, stained glass, pottery, and herbs.
Nearby is Barton and Leier Gallery a magical studio with a 3/4 acre extensively planted garden, designed with hanging lanterns and funky art. The house, gallery and garden are filled with colourful, funky art. Admission is free. Allow one hour for your tour.
The charming 30 year old Crow & Gate Pub is located on ten acres in the Yellow Point area set in lush lawns with a large pond with black swans and muscovy ducks. Elizabethan ambience in pegged beam and plaster construction and terrific food make this one of Vancouver Island’s great secrets.
After this complete day of driving and leisurely touring, heading back to Victoria will take just over one hour. For a relaxing alternative, drive South to Mill Bay and take the 20 minute ferry to Brentwood Bay.
B. Returning via Salt Spring Island. Just South of Chemainus is Crofton where you cross via BC Ferries to Vesuvius on Saltspring Island.
Drive through its rolling countryside and wander in Ganges (where the Saturday artisans market is well worth a visit) and visit artists' studios. There are also two wineries on the island. Then take the ferry from Fulford Harbour to Swartz Bay just north of Victoria to complete a very full day trip.
Ask your bed and breakfast hosts for further suggested Victoria day trips and tours of southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. We'll be glad to help you make the most of your vacation in this lovely area.
Victoria day trips and Vancouver Island tours