Vancouver Island; Lower Mainland; North Coast; Southern Gulf Islands; Northern Gulf Islands

Feast Your Eyes

From its wild, untouched landscapes to its dramatic, misty seascapes, coastal BC is brimming with inspiring views. We asked eight locals to share some of their personal favourites.

by BC Ferries

Botany Bay, in Botanical Beach Provincial Park. Photo courtesy Alamy Stock Photo.

1. One of my favourites is Botany Bay, in Botanical Beach Provincial Park, just past Port Renfrew. After a 20-minute walk on a trail through the forest, you come to a secluded, sandy beach with tide pools, sandstone rock formations and views out to the Pacific. I love how it feels off-the-beaten-path. —Karin Olafson

2. The view from the top of Mount Galiano (on Galiano Island) is remarkable. The hike uphill through the towering trees leads to a clearing with a glorious overview of the southern entrance to Active Pass and a multitude of Gulf Islands sprinkled in the Salish Sea. —Hans Tammemagi

Photo by Alamy Stock Photo

3. I adore the view from the bluffs at Helliwell Provincial Park on Hornby Island. There’s something almost spiritual about looking out at the vast stretch of ocean while standing on those open, grassy bluffs, which always seem warm and sunny, no matter what the season. —Jody Patterson

Photo by Alamy Stock Photo

4. I love looking south from Saxe Point Park in Esquimalt, in Greater Victoria. Across the Strait of Juan de Fuca lie the Olympic Mountains. On a sunny day, the Olympics look close enough to swim to; on a foggy day, they disappear. This view always makes me feel like anything is possible. —Jessica Woollard

Photo by Alamy Stock Photo

5. It’s hard to pick just one viewpoint because the whole coast is so beautiful. But there’s something truly magical about waking up to a sunrise breaking over the Coast Mountains on the Mainland, as viewed from one of the seaside resorts in Parksville or Courtenay (on Vancouver Island), and watching the golden light spill molten across the Salish Sea. —Joanne Sasvari

Photo by Alamy Stock Photo

6. I love the Nanoose area, about 20 minutes up the coast from Nanaimo. There’s a bay where the beach is a massive oyster bed full of sea stars and tiny crabs. If you take a kayak around Mistaken Island off Cottam Point, you’ll see seals, sea lions and bald eagles just about everywhere you look. —Julia Williams

Photo by Dan Mitchell

7. Third Beach in Stanley Park is my backyard-with-a-view in the summer. Minutes from downtown Vancouver yet separated by old-growth forest, this sandy stretch on English Bay is where I launch into the water for a dip, watch seals and sea vessels from afar and catch truly stellar sunsets. —Barb Sligl

Photo courtesy Destination BC/Maurice Li

8. My favourite view in BC is from San Josef Bay beach in Cape Scott Provincial Park. Located on the northern tip of Vancouver Island (a short drive from Port Hardy), it’s a vast swath of soft white sand backed by dense trees and framed on either side by dark, forested slopes. It’s breathtaking, rarely busy and utterly magical — especially if you stop for a picnic between the slender volcanic-rock stacks that stand like statues on one end of the beach. —John Lee

Photo by Alamy Stock Photo