Destination Guide

Vancouver Island

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Courtesy of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

Vancouver Island is rich enough as a region to entertain you for a week, but also makes a superb destination as a long weekend. Its beaches and rainforest trails are great for kids, while its sheer remoteness makes it unbelievably romantic. The region boasts a wealth of wildlife as well as pine tree forests, mountain ranges, and crystal-clear lakes, which can be observed and experienced from the comfort of two refined wilderness lodges, one of which is located on Vancouver Island, while the other is located just off the coast.


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small grouping of buildings and tents are lakeside. It's dusk and their lights reflect on the water

Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge

In the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge is a tented camp offering a unique wilderness experience and unforgettable service.

Aerial View - Nimmo Bay Resort, Vancouver Island, Canada

Nimmo Bay Resort

Tucked on the shores of a secluded bay off the coast of British Columbia, Nimmo Bay is an intimate wilderness lodge that has been family run for more than three decades. While some guests come for such outdoor adventures as hiking in the Great Bear Rainforest, kayaking through the Broughton archipelago, or cruising around in a boat to observe the abundant wildlife, the lodge’s real specialty is its highly regarded heli-fishing program. Guests can opt to have a dedicated helicopter pilot for anything from a full day to an entire stay, at a cost starting at 2500 CAD per person per day, to take them to a different fishing spot each day.

For those doing a helicopter program, the day begins as you lift off the resort’s helipad with your dedicated pilot guide and head towards the horizon. You might start by flying over misted spruce tops and the inland passages of the mainland coast as you head towards a remote, salmon-filled glacial river. Then it’s a morning of fishing or exploring until lunch, which may be on a coastal stream or atop a 10,000-year-old glacier. The advantage of the helicopter is in the amount of ground you can cover and the variety of experience this opens up. You might choose to spend a morning on a pristine, white sandy beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island, soaking your feet in the Pacific Ocean, and then head up to mountain summit in the afternoon to admire the view from 7,000 feet atop a diamond-blue glacier.

Nimmo has just nine cabins. It’s worth splurging for the Oceanfront cabins, which are gorgeous and spacious, with hardwood floors and a bedroom and seating area with a double-story wall of plate glass windows overlooking the water and mountains. Outside, a private terrace has two rocking chairs for taking in the view. The beautifully appointed bathroom has a big soaking tub and shower. Upstairs is a second loft bedroom. Set near a waterfall, the Riverside cabins are built with families in mind and have a shared living room area, but the views and layouts are not as memorable.

Food is served in the main lodge. There isn’t a menu to choose from; the chef simply prepares meals, keeping in mind any preferences you have stated prior to arrival. The food is creative, hearty and delicious, focusing on fresh local ingredients with an Asian twist. Amenities at the lodge include two hot tubs, a yoga studio with excellent daily classes, and a fully-stocked gear room with everything you might need for your adventures: waders, hiking boots, water shoes, serious foul weather gear, rain pants and light raincoats. You can also have a massage outside.

In many ways, Nimmo feels more like a visit with friends than a stay at a hotel. Every detail reflects the passion of its owners, the Murray family, who have devoted three decades to building it bit by bit from a humble cabin to a five-star lodge. They are all still very involved, and you may well be treated to Craig Murray playing guitar by the campfire in the evening, or his son Fraser taking you out to scout for wildlife in a boat. This gives the place a real authenticity. While certain parts of the experience are luxurious and others are quite rustic, overall it is a peaceful, soulful and beautiful escape.

Who It’s Right For

Nimmo is best suited to guests who are looking for an intimate hideaway to use as a launch pad to explore the surrounding wilderness. The resort itself is quite small, with a casual living room and dining room, a dock (to sit around the campfire after dinner) and a handful of cabins, so would not be a good fit for someone looking for a big, full-service resort.

Great Room at Long Beach Lodge Resort , Island, Canada

Long Beach Lodge Resort

While the Wickaninnish Inn and Sooke Harbour House are geared more toward adults, Vancouver Island’s Long Beach Lodge is the perfect family destination. The resort, with its cedar-shingled exterior and stone chimney, is set on Cox Bay, a wide sweep of white sand opening onto some of the area’s most consistent surfing waves. And unsurprisingly, the resort is all about getting out and exploring the nearby wilderness during a rotation of activities including paddle boarding, hiking, sea kayaking, fishing and nature tours.

The 41-room property’s premiere accommodations are the ground-floor rooms, which allow guests to step right onto the sand. The main building boasts an enormous great room with a stone fireplace, Persian rugs, oversized chairs and sofas covered in nubby chenilles, books and board games, and 270-degree views of the Pacific.

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