Canada is a country full of diverse landscapes from the Great White North, to the Prairies, and the rainforests of British Columbia. An island off the west coast of British Columbia called Vancouver Island is still one of the best-kept secrets from international tourists but it truly has it all. Like the German word “waldeinsamkeit” which basically translates to being alone in the woods Vancouver Island has so many different provincial parks to find yourself in. It is the kind of place where you can decide to go skiing one day and surfing the next, and if you are really driven, both in one day. Here are three provincial parks that you have to check out.
Strathcona Provincial Park
This is the oldest provincial park in British Columbia and was founded in 1911. Buttle Lake and the Forbidden Plateau feature a wide array of hikes to choose from. The hike to Myra Falls is a nice stroll through some old growth forest, and you are rewarded with a pretty little waterfall at the end. It is worth stopping at some of the viewpoints as you drive past Buttle Lake to take pictures of the perfectly clear water which mirrors the exact mountain above it creating a really eerie photo. If you want to stay in the park to explore it completely consider staying at Strathcona Park Lodge which looks out across the water to the Rockies.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
This area is home to the Nuu-chah-nulth culture which has been around for thousands of years making this one of the most special places on the island. It is the gateway to the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet which are considered to be the Hawaii of Canada. On the West coast of the island, you will find lots of lush forests, but also vast sand beaches like Long Beach, North and South Chesterman Beach, and Cox Bay. Each of these beaches is surfing hotspots for locals and visitors alike. If you have come to surf then you can don a wetsuit with a hood and hit the waves in a class or alone, but that water is bitingly cold so be prepared for it feels like you are being slapped in the face with icicles. In terms of accommodation you will find you have a lot of choices, if you are looking for something upscale the Wickaninnish Inn is always worth it, so is the Pacific Sands Resort. Don’t forget to try one of the best restaurants in the province which is found in Tofino, Wolf in the Fog for some true culinary delights.
East Sooke Regional Park
If you are in the province’s capital, Victoria which is found on the southern end of the island then you will be nice and close to East Sooke. Most of the hikes here are not very strenuous and follow along the coastline. This means that there are little beaches dotted along the coast for you to stop at, if the tide is out there are even small islands you can wander out to. If it is the summer you can also venture out to the Sooke Potholes and go for a dip in those, as they are natural pools of water found all over the park.