Vancouver Island is the most beautiful place in the world! This is a belief I have long held, and I’ve always felt I had a reasonable footing on which to make this bold statement. Recently I had the privilege of driving a 2,200 km loop through the southern part of British Columbia on a family road trip, which had me re-examining this long held belief.
Before I give you my thoughts on how Vancouver Island stacks up against other beautiful parts of Supernatural British Columbia, I want to tell you a little about myself so you know where my perspective comes from. I’ve always considered myself a resident of Vancouver Island first. I was born and raised in the Alberni Valley, went to University in Victoria, and keep a second home in the seaside village of Bamfield. I have spent time in virtually every community on the island, hiked on trails from north to south, and east to west, and literally scuba dived under every stretch of coast the island has to offer. So yes, I’m a Vancouver Islander.
I’ve also travelled the world: four Canadian provinces; five Amarican states; six Caribbean nations; four Central American nations; three South Pacific archipelagos; and one Asian nation. I only tell you this to give you the basis from which I’ve called Vancouver Island the most beautiful places in the world.
Now, back to the road trip. After immediately leaving the island, we drove through the stunning mountains of Squamish, Whistler and Lillooet. From there we moved into the desert as we passed through Kamloops. Next we spent time driving through the absolutely stunning mountains and glaciers in Jasper and Banff. The Columbia Icefields highway was without a doubt the most breathtaking road I’ve ever driven. After leaving the mountains we spent time exploring the entire Okanagen. Finally we spent a night in downtown Vancouver after driving the Crow’s Nest Highway.
Two weeks after we set out we were waiting for the ferry back to the island. I’d gone through lush rainforest, stunning desert, towering mountains, and then back again. I found myself wondering if Vancouver Island really was as special as I had always believed. I vowed to look at the island through the eyes of the tourist I had been while we returned.
The honest truth is that I knew it was true before I even stepped foot back on the island. Soaking up the sun on the top deck of the ferry while enjoying the views of the inside strait, I knew I was returning to paradise. While sitting there I began chatting with a couple of the states. They were on a road trip too, and they’d chosen to come to Vancouver Island. They asked me where I thought they should visit. “Everywhere,” I said. They laughed and mentioned that they’d heard the road through the central part of the island was particularly stunning.
Of course, it was that exact road that took us home. We drove the winding road passed Cameron Lake, through the old growth forest at Cathedral Grove, and up over the mountain before descending into the Valley of Trails. As a tourist I found it awe inspiring in its beauty!
Since then I’ve contemplated what makes Vancouver Island so special. We could talk about the culture, because it is special. However, at the end of the day it’s the water - the feel of the ocean air, the sound of a raging river or a trickling creek, the serenity of a sunrise over a remote lake, and the feel of the rain on a warm spring day. There is no doubt in my mind, that the water make Vancouver Island the most beautiful place in the world.
Thank you Gittan Klemetsrud for the use of her images in this article!