Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall

Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC

Much To See On A Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall

We enjoyed a 2 week road trip on Vancouver Island in the Fall.  It was a great way to finish up our road trip to Western Canada before we started back home to Toronto.

Our travels started in Comox in the north and finished south in Victoria.  We enjoyed great fun outdoor adventures along the way.  And discovered beautiful art.  Travelling in the Fall got us amazing sights as the trees changed colour.  

We Started With A Return Visit To Comox

After we finished our stay on the Sunshine Coast we took the ferry to Vancouver Island in British Columbia (BC).  On this visit we travelled north on the Sunshine Coast and got the ferry in Powell River to Comox on the island.  We originally planned to take the ferry back from Nanaimo or Victoria but we failed to book the reservation in advance.  So we ultimate drove back north on Vancouver Island and returned on the ferry path we came in on.

Powell River Ferry - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC

Our first stop on Vancouver Island was a stay at the Old House Hotel on the river in Courtenay.  This was a lovely spot to relax over the Thanksgiving weekend. 

Courtenay Old House Hotel
Courtenay Old House Hotel

From there we day tripped around the Comox Valley and found great outdoor fun and adventure.  We were delighted when we explored the beautiful Browns River Falls and the Nymph Falls.  

Browns Falls - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC
Nymph Falls

One of the great things about travelling in the Fall was seeing the salmon runs.  But sadly we found no rivers teaming with spawning fish.  But we still enjoyed many great outdoor sights as we looked for the salmon.

Lake Comox
Courtenay Puntledge Salmon Hatchery - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC

Our visit to the Comox Valley was a wonderful first stop on our road trip on Vancouver Island in the Fall.

A Relaxing Stay In Parksville At Tigh-Na-Mara Resort

From Courtney we headed south on Vancouver Island.  We enjoyed a return visit to the Tigh-Na-Mara Resort for a few relaxing days.  From the resort we looked out and watched the tides come and go.

Tigh-Na-Mara Resort Parksville
Tigh-Na-Mara Resort Parksville

One day we could not resist returning to an iconic local sight.  The Old Country Market in Coombs was known for the “Goats on the Roof”.  It was fun to check out the local fare at the market and see those goats again!  The Coombs Emporium next door was maybe stranger with a wild array of statues on display.

Coombs Market Goats on the Roof Parksville - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC
Coombs Emporium Parksville

It was fun to return to the Parksville area on our road trip on Vancouver Island in the Fall.

A Surprise Art Discovery In Chemainus

When we left Parksville we continued to head south.  We travelled along the ocean road and took in the local sights along the water.  As lunch time approached we saw the sign for the small town of Chemainus and took the road into town.  When we saw the first sign for the “World Famous Murals” we knew we needed to stop in this town and explore the murals in Chamainus.  We were intrigued when we saw murals decorating the town stores.

Chemainus Murals

As we wandered around town we saw murals that depicted the history of the town and the region.  Colourful art brightened the town.  And scattered amongst the murals we saw interesting statues too.

We found the Waterwheel Park and explored the colourful area.  There was a small area with several pieces of the art of Emily Carr on display.   Carr was a Canadian artist inspired by the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

Chemainus Outdoor Art - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC
Chemainus Outdoor Art

Our stop in Chemainus was a lovely artistic discovery on our road trip on Vancouver Island in the Fall.

Visiting Butchart Gardens From Our Stay At Bear Mountain

On this visit to the Victoria area, we chose to stay out of town again at the Westin Bear Mountain Resort.  We loved to enjoy the treats that the city of Victoria offered.  But on this trip, we wanted to explore the Saanich Inlet area of Vancouver Island and knew that Bear Mountain offered a great base.  And the hotel provided a relaxing retreat when we returned at the end of a long day.

Westin Bear Mountain Resort Victoria - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC
Westin Bear Mountain Resort Victoria

At the top of our list of things to do on trip to Vancouver Island in the Fall was a visit to Butchart Gardens for Fall colours.  We visited Butchart Gardens at other times of the year when the flowers were in bloom and were not sure about a Fall visit.  But we were amazed at the riot of colour we found.  Flowers were still in bloom and we got colourful Fall harvest displays too.

Butchart Gardens Victoria
Butchart Gardens Victoria - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC

When we headed down into the Sunken Garden we got an stunning display of autumn colour.  The Ross Fountain put on a show as the water danced.

Butchart Sunken Gardens Victoria
Butchart Sunken Gardens Victoria - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC

Entering the Japanese Garden through the bright orange Torii gate we were immersed in another display of Butchart Gardens dressed in Fall colours.  

Butchart Japanese Gardens Victoria
Butchart Japanese Gardens Victoria - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC

Final stops at the Star Pond, the Italian Garden and the greenhouse kept us intrigued and amazed with colour until we exited.  The Butchart Gardens were a highlight of our road trip on Vancouver Island in the Fall.

Butchart Gardens Star Garden Victoria - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC
Butchart Gardens Victoria

Discovering Malahat Skywalk On Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall.

When we drove south along the highway we saw the signs for the Malahat Skywalk.  A little research told us this was a fun spot we wanted to visit.  So we headed back on a day trip one day.

We started our exploration of the Malahat Skywalk with a view from the distance at a highway observation point.  And then enjoyed the boardwalk in the trees as we walked to the Spiral Tower.  We were captivated by several pieces of driftwood art created by Tanya Bub.   The sculptures were amazingly true to life.

Malahat Skywalk Victoria
Malahat Skywalk Victoria - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC

When we reached the Spiral Tower we walked slowly up and around the ramp to the top.  The views from the top gave us an amazing panoramic perspective on the Saanich area.  While we could have walked back down, the slide was a much more fun way to get down fast.

We had such a fun afternoon on our visit to the Malahat Skywalk.  It was an unexpected treat on our road trip on Vancouver Island in the Fall.

So Many Great Outdoor Spots Around The Saanich Inlet

We found so many great outdoor spots when we travelled around the Saanich Inlet.  At every stop on Vancouver Island, we kept hoping to see the salmon spawning.  The top spot on David’s list was the Goldstream Provincial Park on the Malahat. This was known as a world class salmon-spawning area.  

Goldstream Provincial Park Victoria

We wandered along the stream and stopped regularly.  But it soon became evident that it was not yet salmon spawning time. Or we were not at the right place.  But we still enjoyed the pretty walk along the river.

Goldstream Provincial Park Victoria - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC

Another part of the Goldstream Provincial Park was on the other side of the highway.  We parked and followed the path down the stairs and along a dry riverbed filled with rocks and leaves.  We were looking for Niagara Falls.  But with no water in the riverbed, we really did not expect to find waterfalls.  

Goldstream Provincial Park Niagara Falls Victoria

But when we turned a corner we heard water.  And Niagara Falls fell about 150 feet to the base.  Very surprised but delighted, we stood on either side of the riverbed and enjoyed the thundering waters. 

Goldstream Provincial Park Niagara Falls Victoria - Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall in BC

We enjoyed our day trips as we explored the Saanich Inlet.  Great outdoor fun on our road trip on Vancouver Island in the Fall.

A Great Road Trip On Vancouver Island In The Fall

We had a great road trip on Vancouver Island in the Fall.  We stayed in some lovely pampering spots.  From the north to the south we enjoyed so many great outdoor adventures all on display in beautiful Fall colours.  We were delighted with the outdoor colourful art we found in Chemainus. And had fun when we explored the Malahat Skywalk.  

The Fall was certainly an amazing time to visit Vancouver Island on a road trip to the west coast.

Have you done a road trip on Vancouver Island in the Fall?  What gems should be on our list for a return visit?

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  1. I have always wanted to visit Vancouver. It looks like such an amazing place to explore! I love these sights, and it makes me want to visit that much more with my kids.

  2. You managed to see some wonderful spots on your road trip. The gardens would be perfect for autumn, I love all the colours of the foliage. The driftwood art is so cool! I don’t think I’ve ever see anything like this. I enjoyed reading your trip and being introduced to new towns like Comox and Chemainus. It’s a beautiful part of the world.

  3. Lovely road trip! I have been to Vancouver island in the fall but only to Victoria and Butchart gardens which is my favorite. I would love to do this long road trip along the coast. Browns river falls and Comox valley look beautiful, Malahat skywalk interesting and the Saanich inlet gorgeous! Late fall is probably the best time to travel. 🙂

  4. Vancouver Island looks like the perfect place to take a road trip in the fall! It’s so pretty and it looks like they have a ton of things to do there. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  5. The colors of the leaves are exquisite!! I live in an area where the leaves do not change colors and there is no water. I would love to visit Vancouver Island in the fall. It is gorgeous! So many great tips and places to see.

  6. 3 things. We should return to Buttchart Gardens in tbe Fall! And we should stay outside, too! Last, we should really see the rest of Vancouver Island. Just lovely !

  7. Vancouver Island in the fall seems very beautiful. Shame you didn’t see the salmon jumping up the rivers, but even so, you got to walk along the water and see beautiful waterfalls, so that’s still a plus. The Old Country Market sounds like a very peculiar place, I’d love to go there are see the goats roaming on the roofs as well. The murals from Chemainus look so beautiful, how great that you’ve stumbled upon that sign and managed to see something unexpected.

    • We did chase the salmon run on Vancouver Island and were disappointed to miss it. But we sure found lots of great reasons to road trip around Vancouver Island in the Fall.

  8. I did a all-too-brief visit to Vancouver Island with my family during my childhood and have been thinking recently of going back for a longer trip, so your coverage of some of the places to include will be really handy for my planning. I love waterfalls, Browns River Falls and the salmon river runs look beautiful, sorry you didn’t see any fish, I imagine it’s very seasonal? I’d not heard of the murals in Chemainus before, but always enjoy places with lots of street art! Butchart Gardens look like a must do for us as lovers of flowers and other flora, and I’m liking the look of Malahat Skywalk too.

    • I hope you do get to go back and spend more time on Vancouver Island. And am glad our road trip gave you some ideas for your trip. We sure loved our visit in the Fall.

    • I was a bit disappointed that we missed the salmon spawning. We thought we were late enough in the year. But we know we will be back to enjoy this and more.

  9. Love the pictures! I’ve never been on the west coast, but it’s on my bucket list and you made me want to visit BC even more!

  10. Wow, Butchart Gardens is amazing in autumn! I’ve been in spring and need to return for other seasons. I’ll be stopping in Comox Valley in September, so I made note of your recommendations!

  11. I love a road trip and it was such an amazing experience! Victoria is one of favourite towns in the world because it is so layback, clean, safe, and beautiful. My trip there was one of my most memorable experience. We were also driving on the Victoria but now I realize there are so many more things to see, especially last time we were at Goldstream we barely missed the salmon run. I hope I will be back there some day for this. – Kenny

  12. This is such a wonderful experience! Given that there are so many gorgeous sites to see on Vancouver Island, taking a road trip there seems like a lot of fun. Chemainus has such beautiful murals. The Butchart Gardens are also incredibly stunning! I can’t wait to soon explore Vancouver!

  13. Woah! That’s fascinating to have the goats on the roof. I have never imagined this possible and it’s a good way to use the space.

    The Fall Harvest displays are so pretty too. The different colors of nature makes me appreciate the beautiful life we have. I think travelling during Fall is the best. You definitely chose great stops on Vancouver Island but my favorite driftwood art by Tanya Bub. It’s a masterpiece.

  14. This looks like a such a fun trip! I would have loved to see the salmon runs if I was there too. I have actually seen something like that in Finland, and it is pretty amazing. Fall colours in the Japanese garden are just beautiful! It reminds me of Japan when we visited there and it was November. It really looked like that there.

    • We loved all the things we did see on our road trip on Vancouver Island in the Fall. But missing the salmon run means we just need to plan a return visit.

  15. It’s been so long since we’ve been to Vancouver Island! When I lived in Seattle, I visited every few years. I’ve yet to see Butchart Gardens in the fall, though. I didn’t realize the Ross Fountain could look so beautiful with fall foliage! I’ve heard a lot about the Malahat Skywalk. Now that I’ve seen your pics, I’d definitely like to visit and of course, ride the slide down, too! Nice that you also discovered some beautiful art in Chemainus! We definitely need to make a return trip to Vancouver Island. I even have an old college roommate to visit there!

  16. Fall looks like a great time to do a road trip on Vancouver Island with all the things you did. And, to find the base of the falls. I know of Butchart Gardens, it would be amazing gardens to visit.

  17. I love Vancouver Island and this post brings back such wonderful memories! We bought our RV in Comox Valley so that was the start of our North American RV adventures. We sold the RV last year and I am now starting to feel quite nostalgic…

  18. Loving all the fall colors! Would love this scenic two-week road trip on Vancouver Island in the autumn.

  19. Wow, those colours! Amazing. New England gets all the Fall publicity but clearly Vancouver Island is just as beautiful. Love the street art too.

  20. Vancouver Island is so pretty in the fall! I can’t get enough of the beautiful and colorful plants in Buchart Gardens. The waters in Comax Valley look abundant although it’s sad you didn’t get to see salmons. Now, ‘the goats on the roof’ is special. They made a funny pitures!

    • We love heading to Vancouver Island in all seasons. Our Fall trip added some fun new experiences. And we do like to head back and say hello to the goats on the roof.

  21. So awesome. We visited Vancounver Island a few years ago but we didn’t get to half of the places you suggested. So now we definitely need to go back after you’ve inspired us with so many more fun things to see there.

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