Vancouver Island is part of British Columbia, Canada. As well as the island itself, it is also a region which includes the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia. It is often referred to by the locals as simply 'The Island'. Vancouver Island is the largest island off the west coast of North America at about 450km long and up to about 90km wide. It has a population of over 700,000 people, with a little less than half of those living in the Greater Victoria area.
The development on the island primarily follows the north-south highway that goes along the east coast of the island from Victoria to Port Hardy.
South Vancouver Island: The most densely populated region, this area includes Victoria, the stately capital of the province, the rural Saanich Peninsula, home to Buchart Gardens, and other nearby towns.
Sidney - A relaxing city 20 minutes from downtown Victoria, 5 minutes from the Victoria International Airport, Quiet, on the Waterfront with quaint little shops. A tourist vacation and Retirement location with waterfront walkways and bicycle paths.
Port Renfrew - A 2 hour scenic drive from Victoria on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Port Renfrew is a small west coast community originally built by logging and fishing. It is situated along 150 miles of rugged uninhabited coastline.
Nanaimo - The second largest city, and largest port on Vancouver island.
Tofino - Ecotourism center on the beautiful (if wet) west coast of the island. The main attraction is Long Beach which is part of Pacific Rim National Park.
Long Beach - a sequence of long, white sand beaches near Tofino
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve- Established in 2003, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve safeguards a portion of the gorgeous Gulf Islands archipelago. Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers visitors incredible opportunities for boating, kayaking, hiking, wildlife viewing and picnicking. The larger islands of Saturna, Mayne and Pender can be accessed via BC Ferries, with daily departures from Swartz Bay, Vancouver Island. Please visit the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve website for more information .
The most common way to get to Vancouver Island is by BC Ferries . There is regular ferry service from Tsawwassen (near Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Near Victoria), Tsawwassen to Duke Point (near Nanaimo) and Horseshoe Bay (Near Vancouver) to Departure Bay (in Nanaimo). These ferries generally run about every two hours with more frequent service on some of the routes in the summer.
The Victoria airport has flights from various locations in Canada. There are also flights from Vancouver to many of the towns and cities on the island. Floatplane facilities located both in the Victoria and Maple Bay.
Floatplanes operated by Harbour Air,Salt Spring Air  fly frequently from-to downtown Vancouver, YVR and other destinations including the scenic Gulf Islands. Some of these float plane operators will also do tours of the city and nearby attractions starting at about $80-100 per person... a great way to see the island.
Direct flights to Comox on the east central coast of Vancouver Island are available from Calgary or Edmonton on Westjet.  . There is also a connection to Comox from Vancouver on Pacific Coastal airline.
The easiest way to travel around Vancouver Island is to drive.
There is coach bus service to most of the major cities on the island, but it is generally a patchwork, and travelling around by bus often involves inconvenient waits to catch connecting buses.
For high end traveling on Vancouver Island, Exposure  merges adventure and luxury to serve a niche group of travel connoisseurs who demand exquisite, authentic and meaningful experiences. Travelers can be wild in style choosing from gourmet kayaking leaving from Tofino, culinary cruising in the Southern Gulf Islands aboard an expedition yacht, or scuba diving with six gill sharks off Hornby Island, to name a few. All trips can be customized, are all-inclusive and fully escorted.
In the Parksville / Qualicum Beach region , see the giant old growth forest at Cathedral Grove, funky "goats on the roof" market at Coombs, and watch the tide go out for more than a kilometer at Parksville and Rathtrevor Beaches.
Go on a hiking or walking nature tour of ancient rainforests with their giant trees, visit alpine meadows and lakes or stroll along colourful sea side tide pools. Try bird watching or wildlife viewing in the area's diverse ecosystems.
A mild climate means year round tour opportunities including winter surfing, storm watching, mountain skiing and fall salmon viewing into December. Journey on a whale watching or grizzly bear tour.
Out of Telegraph Cove on the North End of the island, kayak with the Orca. Half day to 7 day expeditions in Johnstone Strait & vicinity.
Golf at over 11 world-class courses
Pacific Northwest Expeditions Ltd., P.O. Box 97, Stn. A Nanaimo, BC, ☎ (250) 754-6300, . Sea kayaking tours and vacations. Kayaking the Inside Passage with killer whales, whale watching, grizzly bear viewing, and lodge based kayak adventures.
Coastal Bliss Adventures Ltd., 6-5803 Banks Rd, ☎ (800) 896-9525, . Hiking, kayaking, and canoeing tours from coastline to the Coast Mountains. Wildlife viewing at the boundaries of land, sea, and sky. Tours on the new North Coast Trail and kayaking in both Pacific Rim and Gulf Islands National Parks.
Spirit of the West Advenutes (kayaking Vnacouver Island), 1380 Hooloey Rd, ☎ 1 250 285 2121, . Spirit of the West Adventures offers kayaking tours to see the killer whales in Johnstone Strait. 4 to 6 day adventures including a luxury base camp trip ideal for first time kayakers.
BC Ferries from Swartz Bay (near Victoria) to the Southern Gulf Island communities of Saturna, Mayne, Pender, Galiano and Saltspring. The Southern Gulf Islands have something to offer any kind of traveller. Visitors who love the outdoors can boat, hike or view wildlife in one of the Southern Gulf Islands' beautiful regional, provincial and national parks. For the culinary traveller, local wineries, fromageries, bakeries, and farms all offer tantalizing treats. For those interested in immersing themselves in the Gulf Islands lifestyle, check-out the many local galleries, theatres and community events. Travellers who just want to be pampered can relax at any number of high-end resorts, retreats and spas, while the low-key traveller can experience a quaint bed and breakfast, or a rustic campsite in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.
McDonald Campground, part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve , is located next door to the lovely community of Sidney-by-the-Sea. 49 drive-in, front-country campsites are available, and can be reserved by calling 1-877-737-3783. Ammenities at McDonald Campground include potable water, pit toilets, picnic tables, and fire pits (seasonally available).