I’d heard about the beauty of Vancouver Island for a long time and in September 2019, I finally got the chance to visit this place to see why.
Here are 7 stunning places I saw in Vancouver Island:
- Sooke Potholes park.
- Sandcut Beach.
- Sombrio Beach.
- Mystic Beach.
- Downtown Victoria.
- Goldstream Trestle.
- Niagara Falls (on Vancouver Island).
All of these places that I’ll be detailing in this article, I visited in a single day and a majority of them are on the southern side of Vancouver Island. Sadly, I did not have a chance to visit the northern side of this amazing island due to time constraints (I had a road trip to continue to the Canadian Rockies the following day, which I will detail soon).
In any case, these 7 locations are pretty close to each other, and if you decide to visit Vancouver Island and love nature, you will not only be stunned by the beauty of these spots I’ll show you, but they are all so close together, that doing them in a single day will be very possible for you as well.
1) Sooke Potholes park.
It just so happens that Sooke Potholes park was one of the last locations I’d visited in my day trip on Vancouver Island and it was recommended to us by locals my friend and I met in Sombrio Beach, which is also on this list (and you’ll see why shortly).
Sooke Potholes is a VERY beautiful park, campground, and hiking location that has gorges, waterfalls, swimming holes and stunning beauty.
The park is divided into 4 different parking areas, each higher than the next. We stopped at the 3rd parking area to see this stunning beauty:
This is literally a swimming hole (it was too cold for us at the time we visited), but as you continue up the canyon (which you can hike) there are many waterfalls, gorges and beauties to see.
Here is where you’ll find Sooke Potholes:
2) Sandcut Beach.
Sandcut beach was one of the first location I visited on Vancouver Island thinking it had a large waterfall on it.
While that did not turn out to be the case (the waterfall ended up being on Mystic Beach), the walk to the actual Sandcut beach was one of the most beautiful trails I ever took because of the views you see here:
In addition, it was also very peaceful in this location and there were hardly any people in this park.
I highly recommend you visit Sandcut Beach and take a walk to the actual beach location through the main trail there, which will take you through the woods and huge trees which reminded me of the Redwoods I had visited on a west coast trip a number of months prior to this one.
Here’s how huge some of these trees are:
The beach itself is fairly underwhelming and in my opinion, it’s the trail and these trees that are the main attraction of Sandcut beach, one of which I believe leads to the other spots on this list, such as The Mystic and Sombrio Beaches.
It’s still an awesome and recommended place to visit in southern Vancouver Island.
This is where you’ll find Sandcut beach:
3) Sombrio Beach and “the hidden waterfall”.
One of the main things I had looked forward to finding during my time in Vancouver Island was a “hidden waterfall” that was said to be on Sombrio Beach and I am happy to report, it is a real thing and does exist.
Not only that but it’s fairly simple to find. I’ll give specific instructions on a later article, but if you visit Sombrio beach and ask about “the waterfall” you will definitely get plenty of people pointing you to where it’s located and here is how it looks:
Here is where you’ll find Sombrio Beach and the hidden waterfall is west of it (the parking area):
4) Mystic Beach, the trail and waterfall on it.
Mystic Beach was the original location I had sought to find a waterfall on (not the hidden one above, but a different one which I’d mistaken to be on Sandcut Beach),
The path to this beach and the waterfall on it is a bit strenuous, but the scenery on the actual beach, is amazing. It is about 1-2 kilometers from the parking area to get to this location and see this waterfall:
When I first saw this waterfall from the distance, I became extremely excited that I’d finally gotten to see a place in real life that I had sought to visit for a very long time and this photo was a perfect capture done by my buddy who went with me.
This is where you’ll find Mystic Beach:
5) Downtown Victoria.
My visit to Vancouver Island originated in Victoria, where I got in on a ferry with my buddy (we came from Port Angeles in Washington State). Although I had only driven through this place, I don’t recall ever seeing a city that captivated me so quickly like Victoria.
There is something very peaceful, attractive and magnetic about this place that I cannot describe. It just seemed like a place I would not mind moving to in the future (who knows?).
If you read my blog posts, you’ll obviously know how much I prefer nature destinations over populated cities and historic locations around the world, but in Victoria’s case, I’m making an exception. This city is a must visit if you’re in Vancouver Island.
6) Goldstream Trestle.
Very close to Victoria lies a beautiful park location called Goldstream, on which the last 2 locations on this list are situated. The first is the train trestle known as Goldstream Trestle, which you have to hike to.
It is a train bridge that I believe is abandoned and has a lot of popularity to it. The views a top the Trestle are beautiful and there are hikes along the railroad a top this place that are said to be very beautiful (we only went to the train bridge area):
This place looks very similar to Vance Creek Bridge and the views reminded me of High Steel Bridge I had visited in Washington State, but this Trestle felt safer to be on. Still, I would be very careful when walking at the top there!
This is where you’ll find the Trestle:
7) Niagara Falls, Goldstream Park.
Goldstream park is one of the most beautiful places to visit near Victoria, and besides the Trestle that I mentioned above, there is also Niagara Falls which is right underneath the Trestle that you can check out (there are trails leading to both places).
We were fortunate to be the only people in this location when we visited this spot and here is just one of the views from there:
In addition, there are also other paths around this waterfall and other waterfalls to check out, but from what I was told, this is the one to see and if you enjoy that picture above, you should definitely see this spot. It’s very close to the parking area, so you don’t need to worry about hiking too far.
This is where you’ll find the Goldstream park and the waterfall from above:
And this concludes the 7 places I recommend you visit on Vancouver Island (in a single day!). Like I said, my time there was limited, and so I was only able to explore a bit of the eastern and southern coast of this place, but they offer a ton of stunning places to see if the proof above is enough for you.
In 2020, I hope to explore more of Vancouver Island, including the northern areas of it, but in this case, I had to hurry back and continue my trip to see the Canadian Rockies.
I am very much looking forward to visiting this place again and exploring the northern side of it. I already have a list of locations to check out the next time I visit, and like I said before, will update to this article (or another) in the future 🙂
If you have visited Vancouver Island, have your own suggestions for other places to see, or have questions about the spots I suggested above, let me know.