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Vancouver Island, Coast to Coast

For any “road cruiser,” whether in a car, a tricked-out Sprinter van, or a fully loaded Winnebago Adventure, the big dream is a coast-to-coast trip. But before you jump into a bucket-list trip that could take months to complete (and hopefully hundreds of side-trips), consider a practice run — a short coast-to-coast drive through some of North America’s most beautiful scenery. . We’re talking about spending a few days crossing Vancouver Island from the Salish Sea in the west to the wild Pacific coast.

We will start in the city where the cruise ship docks. Victoria may at first seem like the little sister of metropolitan Vancouver (or the ferry-boat expansion). It is actually the provincial capital of British Columbia, and is full of sophisticated charm.

Butchert Gardens is a unique civilized introduction to Vancouver Island’s natural beauty, featuring 55 acres of carefully shaped landscape by 50 full-time gardeners. Attractions include an Italian garden, a Japanese garden, a rose garden, all built around Jenny Butchert’s original Sunken Garden – a former limestone mine that she decided to beautify in 1912.

Nanaimo: Paths and Tastes

From Victoria, we head north via the Brentwood Bay Ferry (British Columbia’s oldest ferry link on the coast) to Nanaimo, home of giant trees and taco trucks, but famous across Canada as the birthplace of the “Nanaimo Bar”. This no-bake dessert features layers of custard and chocolate ganache over shredded coconut, almonds, and graham crackers. In an area famous for its trails, the least difficult has to be the Nainamo Bar Trail, which serves up the most creative interpretation of the treat to bakers.

Qualicum Beach and Courtenay: Elevated Vacation or Elven Fantasy

Continuing from 19A to Qualicum, we bring you a choice of two fantastic glamping getaways. Turn left, and you’re at the Free Spirit Sphere, a dreamlike rainforest resort with cozy, globe-shaped treehouses suspended by cables in the middle of the coastal rainforest.

Or drive half an hour down the coast to Court and Rainforest Yurt: An Elven Fantasy. This gorgeous woodland accommodation is housed in a tent that resembles a Motel 6 at the Ritz-Carlton. The interior features a curved staircase that leads up to a sleeping loft, while the outer valley is filled with beautiful trees and paths leading to the beach.

Head back south to stop at the Old Country Market. What started as a simple produce stand has slowly evolved. Today, it is a traditional Scandinavian sod-roofed building with a happy family of goats frolicking on the grass, and people running downstairs to taquerias, cafes, pizzerias, bakeries, donut shops, ice cream parlors … or shopping for European deli products and ….




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