Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Going Mobile

7 ways to enjoy Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast

Coastal adventures are everywhere on the Vancouver Island-Sunshine Coast circle route in British Columbia.

You have stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, caving, hiking and mountain biking. If you're lucky, you might even land a 16-pound salmon, like Leslie did.

Best of all for RV travelers, the camping is excellent, with an array of provincial parks and commercial operations right next to the scenic shoreline.

We spent a week traveling about 300 miles from Victoria, up the inside coast of Vancouver Island and then crossing onto the fjord-strewn Sunshine Coast on the mainland, finally ending up in Vancouver. There’s so much to see and do, you could easily spend a month along this route.

Here are some of our takeaways.

Great camping: We stayed in two excellent provincial parks along the coast. Rathtrevor Beach, near Parksville, was a fantastic place to overnight on Vancouver Island, and Saltery Bay was a gorgeous spot on the Sunshine Coast. We also stayed in a very nice commercial campground, SunLund By-The-Sea, in the scenic town of Lund.

Victoria is made for paddling and cycling: After crossing the Salish Sea from Tsawwassen on the B.C. Ferries, we made our way to the capital city. Its scenic Inner Harbor was best seen from a stand-up paddleboard, and John explored well up into the gorge area on a tour with Ocean River Sports & Adventures. Afterwards, he cycled on the city's extensive network of recreation paths and bike lanes.

Underground and above-ground on Vancouver Island: Vancouver Island is home to more than 1,000 caves. One of the best places to do a deep dive is at Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park, where you can take a tour. Nearby, in Cumberland, you will find the island’s best mountain biking, which John rocked with Island Mountain Rides.

Ale trail: Craft beer and cider is booming on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. We had some tasty stops in Victoria at The Drake, a fantastic brewpub, and also visited Phillips Brewing and Twa Dogs Brewery/Victoria Caledonian Distillery. Up the coast, we stopped in at Merridale Cidery and then thoroughly enjoyed the beers of Townsite Brewing in Powell River on the Sunshine Coast, exotic ales created by B.C.’s only Belgian brewmaster Cédric Dauchot.

Hooking a mighty salmon: We were fortunate to go out with Dean McLaren of Powell River Sportsfishing. His good vibes set the tone for a fantastic salmon-fishing excursion, where Leslie caught a gorgeous 16-pound Chinook and John landed a seven-pounder.

Dining highlights: In Victoria, Boom + Batten has a handsome restaurant overlooking the harbor. We also had fantastic meals at Pacific Prime Restaurant & Lounge in Parksville and The Seasider in Powell River. The showstopper for the entire trip was at the Back Eatery at the Lund Resort at Klah Ah Men where chef Linton Novak wowed us with fresh takes on regional seafood.

On foot: We loved the Sunshine Coast for its excellent trail system. We explored the coastal trails with Christine Hollmann of Terracentric Coastal Adventures in Lund and then checked out Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park to see one of the wonders of British Columbia -- a spectacular tidal waterfall.


Importance of RV partnership

We heard from reader Tom Mosher after our last column, when Leslie detailed her solo trip to Leavenworth. “Leslie, your accounting of your solo trip and driving reminds me of my wife, Mary,” Tom writes. During one trip in 2000, after Tom struggled with a back injury, Mary drove a 36-foot RV towing a Jeep “1,000 miles back to Spokane” from Rapid City, S.D. Bravo, Mary!


Today's Going Mobile Question

Have you ever stayed in an RV in Seattle? Tell us where you stayed in the Emerald City at; we'd love to include your stories in a future column.

Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.