Perfect for nature and wildlife lovers alike, go in search of grizzly and black bears, orca, humpback and gray whales on this week-long Vancouver Island road trip.
Stay at Knight Inlet Lodge – a unique bear-viewing wilderness resort floating in the tranquil waters of Glendale Cove – and embark on a whale watching cruise in Victoria to see these majestic creatures in action.
From lush rainforests to rocky coasts and large mammals to marine life, it's all here in British Columbia waiting for you, all you need to do is arrive.
Itinerary at a Glance
Vancouver to Campbell River
Campbell River to Knight Inlet Lodge and the Grizzly Bears
Knight Inlet Lodge to Tofino
Tofino | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 2 Excursions
Option 1. Coastal Bear Watch Cruise
Option 2. Whale Watching Cruise
Tofino to Victoria
Victoria | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 4 Excursions
Day 1 Vancouver to Campbell River | 177 km/105 mi + FerryDepart Vancouver for Horseshoe Bay and sail for 1 hr 45 min on BC Ferries to Vancouver Island. Upon departing BC Ferries head north through Vancouver Island’s second largest city, Nanaimo, known as the Harbour City, and Parksville, the beginning of Beach Country and home of the annual International Sandcastle Competition. Your destination today is the city of Campbell River, historically renowned as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” lying at the heart of neighbouring Strathcona Park, Desolation Sound, Mount Washington and Robson Bight. Surrounded by the backdrop of Strathcona Provincial Park to the west and the Coastal Mountain range to the east, massive cruise ships pass right by Campbell River’s doorstep, and their parade of lights is best viewed from world famous Discovery Pier as they venture up the Inside Passage for Alaskan destinations.
Day 2 Campbell River to Knight Inlet Lodge and the Grizzly BearsToday’s destination, Knight Inlet Lodge, is not accessible by road, so you’ll fly in by floatplane from Campbell River. A thrilling 30 minute flight brings you to the mouth of the Glendale River where Knight Inlet Lodge floats on large cedar booms. Bring your camera - you’ll be going on a bear watching and wildlife viewing tour in search of the grizzly bears that frequent this area. Overnight at Knight Inlet Lodge (lunch and dinner is included).
Day 3 Knight Inlet Lodge to Tofino | 225 km/140 miEarly this morning return to the Bear Viewing platforms for a last photo opportunity before departing for Campbell River by floatplane. Arrival time is between 10.30 & 11.00am. Collect your car and head south west to Tofino on the rugged West Coast. En route, picture stops should be made at Cathedral Grove to enjoy the splendour of 800-year-old Douglas Fir and Cedar and the Mars Water-Bombers at Sproat Lake, the world’s two largest water-bombers used for the sole purpose of putting out forest fires. After the Mars Water-Bombers, drive through the majestic Sutton Pass and the Sawtooth Range of the Cascade Mountains to arrive in Tofino around mid-afternoon (breakfast included).
Day 4 Tofino | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 2 ExcursionsToday you can personalize your day by choosing one of two excursionsOption 1. Coastal Bear Watch CruiseSearch for foraging bears from the comfort and safety of a 24’ Zodiac vessel. Abundant on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, black bears roam the shores at low tide in search of their favorite delicacy, the Rock Crab.Option 2. Whale Watching CruiseCruise through the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound to view beautiful scenery and wildlife. Depending on the time of year, you may encounter gray whales, humpback whales, sea lions, sea birds and resident bald eagles.
Day 5 Tofino to Victoria | 313 km/195 miTravel back to the East Coast of Vancouver Island and head south to Victoria. En route stops should be made at the artist community of Chemainus, where you can admire the giant murals which adorn the exterior walls throughout the town, and Duncan the “City of Totems”. If time permits visit the Quw’utsun’ Heritage Village which provides you with an insight into the lives of the northwest coast people (seasonal hours - admission not included).
Day 6 Victoria | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 4 Excursions Today you can personalize your day by choosing one of four excursions.Option 1. Butchart Gardens AdmissionOn its 100th birthday in 2004, the Butchart Gardens was named a National Historic Site of Canada. Explore 22 Hectares/55 acres of breathtaking gardens on the 53 hectare/130 acre estate.Option 2. Eat like a Canadian Food TourNot many people can define exactly what Canadian food is. From local ingredients to historic dishes, this tour is the best way to experience Canadian culinary culture. Sip and savour local cuisine, explore the iconic Inner Harbour, and meet the chefs and owners that make Victoria such an exciting culinary hot spotOption 3. Whale Watch CruiseGet up close with the killer whales on the Salish Sea with this guided, 3.5-hour whale-watching cruise from Victoria. Climb aboard a covered or open boat equipped with hydrophones to hear the whales and bring the underwater experience to light.Option 4. High Tea at the Empress HotelEnjoy High tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel is a delightful, traditional experience. Indulge in a lavish array of tea, finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones, served in an elegant setting, enhancing the allure of this historic Victoria, British Columbia landmark.
Day 7 Victoria to Vancouver | 69 km/43 mi + FerryLeaving Victoria, drive the short and scenic route to Butchart Gardens (admission included) - fifty-five acres of wonderful floral display, continue driving north to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal for a 90 min ferry ride to Tsawwassen. On-board BC Ferries enjoy the scenery of the Gulf Islands as you cross the Strait of Georgia. From Tsawwassen continue on to downtown Vancouver where your Flexidrive ends.
I had the pleasure of working with Jennifer Balicha on an itinerary for Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria, Canada. From start to finish Jennifer was very polite and easy-going as well as professional. She offered suggestions when needed and and was on top of all itinerary adjustments and refunds. She kept me up-to-date on my clients progress while traveling and was very empathetic towards me and my client when handling itinerary snafu's along the way. Jennifer was great to work with and will definitely reach out to her again. Thanks Jennifer.....You're the BEST!!
Kim Pennsylvania, United States
Grizzlies, Orcas and Black Bears Vancouver Island Road Trip
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