Southern Vancouver Island Communities
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Sooke British Columbia
Driving from Victoria to Sooke along the West Coast Road (Hwy 14) you will experience the scenic ocean views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca as well as the grandeur of the Olympic Mountains. Sooke is situated in the Sooke Basin and here tourists and local residents enjoy saltwater fishing. You can explore local Provincial Parks as well as coastal beaches and this area combines a seaside ocean flavour as well as rich farmland. Sooke offers unique shopping opportunities, famous restaurants and a large variety of B & B accommodations to enhance a very special Vancouver Island adventure. Outdoors activities include: golfing, cycling, fresh and salt water kayaking, canoeing, tennis, hiking, surfing, scuba diving and mountain biking. Also, the famous Juan de Fuca nature trails and the Galloping Goose trails are easily accessible from Sooke.
Jordan River British Columbia
A small west coast village situated at the mouth of the Jordan River where river otters and sea birds play. Located on HWY 14 a third of the way between Sooke and Port Renfrew. A favourite of wind surfers who gather to challenge the large west coast waves that pound the rocky shores. Accommodations are limited to a B&B and three Oceanside campgrounds that overlook the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. One small restaurant and a take out service provide for a place to take a break while watching fishing and ocean going vessels pass by as well as activities on the waters. Jordan River is a short walk or drive to China Beach where the 47km Juan de Fuca Marine Hiking Trail starts its way through old growth rain forests, remote beaches, inlets, suspension bridges, and wilderness campgrounds are situated along this spectacular west coast trail.
Port Renfrew British Columbia
Located at the end of the scenic West Coast Road (Hwy 14) the Village of Port Renfrew is a relaxing two hour drive from Victoria. The waters offer Botanical Beach tidal pools, fresh and saltwater fishing and you can enjoy a relaxing canoe ride down the San Juan River. Take a leisurely stroll in a cool, dense, west coast forest along natural pathways lined with towering trees. A popular trek is the world famous West Coast Trail and the Juan de Fuca Trail. Take along your camera and enjoy an exciting costal winter storm with massive ocean waves and driving wind and rain. In Port Renfrew the local pubs and inns offer a cozy atmosphere and are the island hospitality is enjoyed by hikers and visitors from around the world.
Shirley British Columbia
This is a rural Vancouver Island community located on Highway 14 west of Sooke. In Shirley a small cottage industry has evolved where local artisans live and work. There are several B & B’s available that offer a quiet refuge from the busier centres. Here you can enjoy wildlife such as deer and a variety of west coast island birds. Shirley is situated near Sherringham Point Light House and there are popular beaches to enjoy. This area offers spectacular views that overlook the Juan de Fuca Straits and the Washington Olympic Mountain Range.
Chemainus British Columbia
"The Little Town That Did" is world renowned for its Festival of Murals with over 33 murals displayed on historic buildings. These murals provide a visual record of our Native culture and the lives of early settlers and loggers. A revitalized downtown with small owner operated shops and restaurants, antique stores, a water-wheel park are favourite places to visit for locals and visitors alike. Popular evening entertainment is provided by the Chemainus Theatre Company and before the performance they offer a gourmet buffet for your enjoyment. Stroll down to the seaport and watch sea going freighters being loaded with west coast timber or take the ferry to Thetis Island.
Cobble Hill British Columbia
A small village that offers several art galleries, antique shops, a country store, B & Bs, a local pub and a coffee shop. Small farms throughout the area offer a variety of fresh produce including home-made cheese and farm eggs that can be purchased at the farm gate. Explore the many estate wineries, vineyards and Cideries; many of whom have won VGA awards.
Cowichan Bay British Columbia
The village of Cowichan Bay offers the traveller art galleries, B&Bs, hotels plus a unique variety of restaurants and neighbourhood pubs that are located alone the waterfront. Boaters appreciate the large well-maintained marina with good moorage and full services.
Crofton British Columbia
Located off the Island Highway, Crofton is situated in Osborne Bay and can also be reached by ferry from Salt Spring Island. The buildings here blend historic miners’ homes from the early 1900’s, with mid-century summer cottages and a modern sub-division. Small restaurants and shops in the village offer full-services. Explore the fishing dock and stroll along the waterfront. While in Crofton visit the Ole School House Museum located on the waterfront. The museum records and preserves the early mining and forestry history in the area. There are wonderful pictures that trace the growth of a young man through his early school photos until he reaches the position of principal at the local school.
Duncan British Columbia
The “City of Totems" is the Cowichan Valley’s largest island community. Over 80 totem poles can be found throughout the downtown area and along the Island highway. As a thriving family community Duncan offers a full range of commercial and residential services. It’s revitalized downtown offers a good selection of shops, professional and business services plus, local and island visual and performing arts. As well, you can enjoy a swim in the community pool or visit the local arena. Travelers can also enjoy a day trip by rail. You can leave Victoria in the morning and make a stop-over in Duncan where you can spend a few hours sight-seeing. Then later that afternoon the Day Liner train stops again in Duncan on the return trip, this time to pick you up and take you back to Victoria.
Genoa Bay British Columbia
A favourite among boaters for its safe harbour, marine services, boat charters and boat launch. Explore Genoa and the many sheltered havens along Genoa Bay Road or spend an afternoon fishing or watching huge bald eagles feed and take flight. Enjoy a picnic with family and friends and explore this wonderful Vancouver Island community.
Kuper Island British Columbia
Access this indigenous island by BC Ferries from Chemainus. Kuper Island is a Native Reserve belonging to the Penelakut tribe. Kuper is 8.66 sq. km. in size and has a population of about 185 people. There is a Catholic Church but no commercial establishments. Kuper Island is truly a ‘back to nature’ experience.
Maple Bay British Columbia
A favourite island destination for boating, kayaking and day trips. Maple Bay is a sea-side community that bustles with marine activity. There is a general store, marina and a coffee shop. Explore and enjoy the many clean secluded beaches in this area.
Mill Bay British Columbia
A scenic drive take you to a seaside village with small owner operated shops, restaurants and services. For the boater there is are full service marinas, moorage, fishing supplies, gas and boat launching sites. Travelers can enjoy the small car ferry with daily schedules between Mill Bay and Brentwood Bay.
Shawnigan Lake British Columbia
One of the largest lakes on Southern Vancouver Island, Shawnigan Lake is a popular summer resort and provides year round residencies. It’s a great place for swimming, fishing, sailing, canoeing and there are many public picnic sites to enjoy. The Village of Shawnigan Lake has country shopping, a service station, restaurants and pubs. Rail travelers can enjoy a stop over here in Shawnigan Lake Village since the community is on the E&N Railway line.
Thetis Island British Columbia
Travel the waterways with BC Ferries from Chemainus to Thetis Island. This island is 10 sq. km. long and offers a simpler, quiet lifestyle with limited amenities. There is a charming general store for your convenience. Recreation and leisure activities include, cycling, hiking through the forest, wetlands and rock cliffs. A secluded bay and coves provide an idyllic refuge for boaters, kayaking, canoeing and beachcombing. Thetis Island is great island sanctuary.