BC Provincial Parks Canadian National and Marine Parks
Vancouver Island Parks number over 130. For an island only 80 km wide by 500 km long (50 miles by 300 miles), that's pretty amazing! Island residents are proud of the natural beauty we enjoy here, and we love to share it with visitors.
Our many parks, preserves and green spaces provide boundless opportunities for discovery.
Whether you're planning an outing at a family-oriented park, or a more adventurous expedition to one of our many wilderness areas, Vancouver Island has it all.
Vancouver's Island Parks include civic, national, provincial and even marine parks.
They are a combination of ecological reserves, interpretive centers and recreation centers.
The activities available through our extensive parks system are limitless...
Walking, hiking, climbing, diving, kayaking, caving, surfing, wind surfing, sailing, fishing and of course camping, can be added to bird watching, wild life discoveries and plain old scenery watching...be sure to bring your camera, of course!
You can camp in mountains, on beaches, near lakes or the sea-shore, or even on an island. The choice are truly mind boggling.
Vancouver Island is actually the peak of a sunken mountain range, separated from mainland Canada by several straits. It's the largest island on North America’s Pacific Coast.
It seems you can’t throw a rock here without it landing in one of the Vancouver Island Provincial Parks!
The video below showcases just one of the island's many wilderness parks, Strathcona Park, located in the central island region.
This video shows Strathcona Park and Buttle Lake
Where are the parks on Vancouver Island?
North Vancouver Island...23 Parks
North Central Vancouver Island...36 Parks
Central Island...11 Parks
Pacific Rim (West Coast)...22 Parks
The Cowichan Region...13 Parks
Southern Vancouver Island...10 Parks
The Gulf Islands...17 Parks
Vancouver Island Provincial Parks
Vancouver Island Parks cover the diverse landscape of this unique island.
From snow-capped peaks to still mountain streams, the parks offer an unforgettable experience. Each pristine view that awaits you is more spectacular than the last.
Whether you desire an adventure while reaching your travel destination or a more laid back approach, the parks are your ticket to lasting vacation memories.
Here are four favorite parks among islanders:
Cape Scott Provincial Park
Cape Scott is top on the explorers' to do list of Vancouver Island Parks.
To reach Cape Scott from Victoria, you take Hwy 19 north, along the length of the island. Forty miles west of Cape Scott, you’ll find Port Hardy, with regular scheduled air and bus routes. Entrance into Cape Scott is accessible only by foot.
The Winter Harbor settlement, located southwest of Cape Scott, offers RV campsites, fuel, and a general store.
June through September are the suggested best times for camping in Vancouver Island Provincial Parks. A 30 mile trail meanders through ancient forests, along-side dead telegraph lines, to white sands off the coast of the Cape Scott Lighthouse.
Traces of the Danish pioneers who attempted to settle here from 1897 to 1907 can be seen on the hike...and don't forget your Topographical map, compass and wilderness spirit.
Reservations aren’t accepted at Cape Scott. All campsites are on a first-come, first served basis. Oh, and be sure to familiarize yourself with the concept of a pit toilet!
Be aware that high winds and heavy rains are common year round.
Newcastle Island Provincial Park
Vancouver Island’s second largest city, Nanaimo, is located about a 2 hour drive north of Victoria.
It is a short ferry trip from Nanaimo to Newcastle Island, part of the First Nations Traditional Territory.
Shell middens and burial sites are some of the archaeological evidence left behind by the First Nations peoples. Their history on Vancouver Island spans many thousands of years.
The First Nation legends explain the rock formations along the shoreline as "people turned to stone".
Newcastle Island is popular for day trips, though you can also camp there. There are trails for walking, and bikes are allowed on some (but not all) of them.
There's a large grassy area near the shore, docks for the many boats in the area (some with permanent residents on board) and even a fabulous dance hall with the original wood dance floor!
This was a popular stop for cruise ships in the 1920's, and formal dance parties were a highlight.
Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park
A local couple from Nanaimo discovered the Horne Lake Caverns in 1963.
The Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park is located in central Vancouver Island. This provincial parks attraction is open year round, rain or shine.
There are caves to explore, and trout to be caught in the crystal clear waters of Horne Lake. You can choose to sleep out under the stars in a primitive camp setting or a modern RV set up.
Guided tours of the caves are available, as well as a self-guided tour. There are several levels of difficulty in these tours, accommodating everyone from families to experienced spelunkers looking to rappel down some of the underground vertical tunnels!
French Beach Provincial Park
Vancouver Island Parks are the perfect prescription for a much neede break.
French Beach, sitting on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, is a perfect example. You can stroll miles of secluded, white sandy beaches, sail aboard a whale watching cruise boat, or take a ride on a float plane safari.
Think of all the snapshots you will take home of cascading waterfalls, flying geese, killer whales, sea lions, and grizzly bears poaching salmon.
James French, the world traveler, for whom French Beach was named, loved this land and made it his home. From the panoramic sunrise beyond Mount St. Patrick, to the twilight sunset at Miracle Beach, it is no small wonder.
This video shows the Pacific Rim National Park on the West Coast at Ucleulet/Tofino.
There are many more Vancouver Island parks to discover, and you'll have fun learning about each one.
I'd love to tell you more about each one, and I'll be back soon to add more recommendations so you can enjoy the many beautiful parks that Vancouver Island has to offer.