Dog-Friendly Must-Sees on Vancouver Island

We spent a month on Vancouver Island and loved it as much, if not more, than we expected. Although we spent most of our time at our rental in Victoria, many of our favorite places were further north on the island. This list is in now way exhaustive (frankly, we didn’t do the best job of exploring), but I hope fellow explorers can use it as a jumping off point for planning their Vancouver Island adventures.

Top Places to See – Other than Victoria – on Vancouver Island

Tofino, BC

Tofino is a chill, picturesque surfing town on the northwest side of the island. Surrounded by Pacific Rim National Park, it has everything: Huge peaks covered in lush vegetation; classic Pacific Northwest beaches; and hiking paths through temperate rainforest with old-growth trees. Tofino reminded us of SE Alaska more than any other part of Canada (while simultaneously reminding us of the Virgin Islands). It’s incredibly unique and worth a long weekend or – ideally – week or longer visit (It’s 4+ hours from Victoria, so I’d suggest giving it at least 3 days). I managed to get no photos that do it justice, so I’m pasting a good one I found on Google below.

Aerial Photo of Tofino by TripAdvisorAerial photo of Tofino by TripAdvisor

Shed Restaurant in Tofino, BC

This place has great food, beer, specials, and a huge patio with view where you can eat your food AND sit with your dog – a rarity in Canada that shouldn’t be taken for granted! Again, I took zero photos, so I’m adding some from Google below.

Shed Patio by Tofino Resort & Marina TravelSages

Photo by Tofino Resorts and Marina.

Port Renfrew and Botanical Beach

Port Renfrew is a terminus of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park (which is similarly beautiful to Pacific Rim National Park). The coolest part of Port Renfrew (IMHO) are the tidal pools of Botanical Beach. Botanical is a rocky sandstone beach where massive, crystal clear tidal pools form and house various sea creatures. The photos online seem unreal, but they reflect how it looks in person. It’s a must-see, and a mere 2-hour drive from Victoria.

Botanical Beach Juan de Fuca BC Canada TravelSages Tidal Pool

Botanical Beach Juan de Fuca BC Canada TravelSages

Botanical Beach Juan de Fuca BC Canada TravelSages Tidal Pools

Botanical Beach Juan de Fuca BC Canada TravelSages Tidal Pool with Griffon Pointer

Jordan River Regional Park Campground

This was a lucky find on the way back from Port Renfrew. Situated about 1 hour north of Victoria, the Jordan River Campground is beachfront, cheap ($15 CAD per night), chill, and quite dog-friendly.

Jordan River Regional Park Campground on Vancover Island TravelSages

Camping on Jordan River Regional Park Campground on Vancover Island TravelSages

Whiffin Spit in Sooke

This is a fantastic place to walk your dog (and yourself). Just 45ish minutes north of Victoria, Sooke has a long, narrow peninsula with walking path (Spit) that juts out into the sea. Dogs were allowed to walk off leash both on the paved path and along the beach.

Whiffin Spit in Sooke on Vancouver Island TravelSages

Whiffin Spit in Sooke on Vancouver Island TravelSages Tidal Pools

Find more cool, dog-friendly spots (restaurants and breweries) in Victoria, BC.

 

About the author

Lauren is a 'digital nomad' (for lack of a less obnoxious term) who works, lives, and travels out of her truck camper with her partner, Patrick, and dog, Odin, the one-eyed Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. She started TravelSages in the summer of 2013, and has since founded a digital marketing consultancy, called LyteYear, and a sustainability brand, called RePrint. Before moving into her tiny mobile home, Lauren lived in Chicago for 6 years, pursued two graduate degrees, studied abroad at Oxford, worked for a summer in Hong Kong, and traveled to various countries in between. She has a mildly unhealthy love of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Netflix, and breweries with good New England IPAs.

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