Almost everyone agrees that being near the ocean brings on a certain amount of romance. Which is why Vancouver Island is bursting with ideas for a romantic getaway. There are just so many places to make those magical sunset strolls happen.
According to Amazon, Victoria is rated the #1 most romantic city in Canada for the fourth year in a row. I know for a fact, however, that there are just as many romantic settings outside Greater Victoria. For example, the Pacific Rim, or to be more specific Tofino and Ucluelet, scream romance.
But I would like to bring your focus to Vancouver Island’s other West Coast.
Although not as popular among tourists, Sooke, Jordan River and Port Renfrew, located on the rugged Southwest coastline of Vancouver Island, offer just as many postcard views as the Pacific Rim. And if you were to continue your travels along the Pacific Marine Circle Route, connecting Port Renfrew with the Cowichan Region, you would drive through a world of rural utopia.
I can’t think of a more romantic setting than that!
6 Simple Steps to Enjoying a Romantic Getaway on Vancouver Island
#1 – Take the scenic route
Start off your romantic getaway by taking the road less traveled. Southern Vancouver Island is brimming with pretty seaside landscapes. One of Vancouver Island’s more dramatic stretches of coastline is the drive from Sooke towards Port Renfrew (Highway 14, or otherwise known as West Coast Road).
The view of crashing waves against rocky shores, tidal pools, and mighty Arbutus trees heavily mixed with old-growth giants, make this drive comparable to California’s legendary Highway 1.
Whether you follow the drive all the way through to Port Renfrew and back, or decide to continue on to complete the Pacific Marine Circle Route, make sure to stop and enjoy the views along the way. The leisurely pace and tranquil setting is a sure bet to a great start for romance.
#2 – Go for a Walk
Whether you are looking to stroll along the sandy shores, get your blood pumping while hiking through an ancient coastal rainforest, uncover marine treasures in crystal-clear tidal pools, or discover potholes on the edge of Sooke River, there are so many great places to explore on the Southwest coast of Vancouver Island.
Beach and Trail Walking
- Botanical Beach – is most well-known for its amazing tidal pools. But it also features many fantastic geological features with its rock formations, and produces some of the most picturesque terrain. This is one stop where you don’t want to forget your camera!
- Botanical beach is located in the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park (near Port Renfrew).
- The beach is about a 15 minute walk from the pay parking lot.
- China Beach – also located in the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, but closer to the community of Jordan River. It is a popular place to camp, hike, view wildlife, and watch the roaring surf.
- From the parking lot, beach access is a 20 minute easy-moderate hike through the rainforest. Well worth the extra effort!
- French Beach – offers beautiful trails, whale watching, secluded campsites, and waterfront picnic areas.
- French Beach is located 5 km East of Jordan River.
- Sooke Potholes – located on the banks of the Sooke River. These spectacular potholes are rare geological formations of large deep freshwater pools. If the weather is warm, this local hotspot offers some of the best swimming, and is an absolute perfect spot for a picnic.
- Watch the Salmon Spawn – for one of the best viewpoints of the fascinating salmon run, head to Charters Creek (just south of the Sooke Potholes, on Sooke River Rd). Obviously this is a time sensitive activity, and best viewed in early – late Fall.
#3 – Visit a winery
There is one winery located along West Coast Rd, and another if you are following the Pacific Marine Circle Route.
- Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery – definitely not your typical winery. This farm makes small batches of handcrafted mead (honey wine) from local berries, as well as honey. A unique experience and taste!
- Located at 8750 West Coast Road, Sooke
- Open for tastings and self-guided tours:
- May 1st through September 30th, Wednesday – Sunday 12pm – 5pm.
- October 1st through April 30th, Saturday and Sunday 12pm-5pm.
- Closed for the month of January
- Unsworth Vineyards – Stroll the grounds and gardens, have a bite to eat at the onsite restaurant, and/or taste the award-winning wines.
- Located at 2915 Cameron-Taggart Road, Mill Bay
- Please refer to their website for hours of both the tasting room and restaurant
#4 – Head out on an Adventure
There are many fun adventures to experience while on the Southwest side of Vancouver Island.
- Sooke Whale Watching – will take you on an exhilarating West Coast marine adventure. After your two to three-hour tour, you will be left with a deeper appreciation of our ocean creatures.
- Rent a Kayak from West Coast Outdoor Adventures for a self-guided paddle around the shores of Juan de Fuca Strait. Or better yet, and to ensure you have a great experience, book a tour!
- Go salmon fishing with Sooke Salmon Charters – this long-established and successful charter fishing company is a mobile operation. Which means they follow the fish for the best possible results.
- Get your thrill on with Adrena Line Zipline Adventures – Vancouver Island’s only canopy zipline tour. Your two-hour tour includes eight ziplines, two suspension bridges, and a ten minute ATV ride up to the top of the course. An exhilarating outdoor experience, for sure!
#5 – Enjoy a Decadent Meal
If you are planning ahead, packing a picnic to enjoy at any of the above mentioned spots is most ideal. However for an impromptu lunch along your driving route, you will also come across several restaurants. Here are a few top recommendations.
- Little Vienna Bakery – for a quick casual bite to eat, head to this bakery, cafe and marketplace for a delicious breakfast or lunch. Make sure to save room for one of their decadent bakery items!
- Point No Point Resort – whether you are there for afternoon tea, a cozy lunch, or a romantic dinner you will enjoy the spectacular views of Juan de Fuca Strait, enhanced by the binoculars on every table.
- Sooke Harbour House Restaurant – this award-winning restaurant offers daily menu changes, and focuses on local, natural and sustainable food processes. Reservations are recommended.
#6 – Stay Someplace Quaint
You might be happy to note, that two of the three recommendations I made for a romantic meal also coincide with my suggestions of places to stay (if you are so inclined).
The Sooke Harbour House is one of Canada’s leading resorts. Although a little more pricey, the attention to detail at this fine resort is second to none. Each charming room features its own individual decor, and offers fabulous views.
Point No Point Resort offers beach-front cabins, which are perched on a bluff high above the shoreline of the rugged west coast waterfront. Many of the cabins include wood-burning fireplaces, as well as soaker tubs and/or private hot-tubs.
It might also be good to know that both resorts offer spa services as well.
So whether you are looking to celebrate a special day, or maybe even just reconnect, make sure to follow these 6 simple steps to enjoying a romantic getaway on Vancouver Island!
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