Campbell River BC is located on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island and situated on the southern end of the Discovery Passage. It is approximately over 265 km (over 165 miles) north from Victoria and over 150 km (over 93 miles) north from Nanaimo. It is Vancouver Island’s 5th largest city with some 37,000 plus residents.
Enjoy Canada’s Mediterranean during your visit to Campbell River. The off season is roughly October to April each year. Campbell River experiences mild, rainy winters much like Seattle and other Pacific Northwest temperate rain forests. Snowfall does occasionally occur during winter but don’t let that stop you from visiting as it makes the Island’s beautiful scenery even better.
Take Your Time Getting Here
- Campbell River has been mentioned as one of the best road trips to take on the Island according to the Campbell River Mirror: https://www.campbellrivermirror.com/life/campbell-river-featured-prominently-in-online-travel-road-trip-article/. Follow the 4-lane Inland Island Highway 19 North. If you like a more leisurely pace, and want to visit some island communities on your way north, follow the signs to 19A. It’s a beautiful and scenic ‘Oceanside Route’.
- Fly from Vancouver to the Campbell River Airport (YBL). This is especially an ideal way to travel if you want to reach your most anticipated parts of the trip such as wildlife tours or fishing. Seasonal flights are also available from Seattle to Campbell River. More info: http://www.crairport.ca/
- Anchor your boat at the Discovery Harbour Marina. Private boats and yachts are welcomed at the many local marinas located in Campbell River and other destinations with ocean access throughout the north Central Island Region. The Discovery Harbour Marina is within walking distance of downtown Campbell River and taxi service is available as well. More info: https://www.discoveryharbourmarina.com/
- You can also arrive via boat at the Campbell River Harbour Authority Fisherman’s Wharf. This wharf is located in the heart of downtown Campbell River. More info: https://www.fishermanswharfcampbellriver.com/
- Take a leisurely ferry ride on BC Ferries – you can arrive via the Vancouver or Victoria ferries. There are routes available from Campbell River that go to Quadra Island and Cortes Island as well. The trip alone is very relaxing in and of itself. Do nothing but chill out over a cup of tea or gourmet coffee, or even over a meal. You can enjoy the trip from comfortable chairs indoors or outdoors and catch some great sights of Quadra Island! Keep an eye out for the majestic whale pods which call this area home. More schedule details: http://www.bcferries.com/files/schedules/bcf_quadraisland_cortesisland.pdf
Time to Go Fishing
The rainy season on Vancouver Island is a fantastic time of the year to catch fish. They don’t call Campbell River the “Salmon Capital of the World” for nothing! The best time of the year to catch salmon varies depending on the type you want to catch. You’ll be able to catch Chum salmon throughout October to November. You can also catch Chinooks, Kings, and Spring salmon all throughout the year, even in the colder winter months December to February. Try going on a Wintersteel fishing run from November to April.
Book a fishing charter from one of many companies offered in Campbell River, including:
Say Hello to the Wildlife
Campbell River is home to some of British Columbia’s most notable wildlife. Only in Campbell River will you be able to get a sneak peek at animals in their natural habitats such as bears, whales, dolphins, porpoises, salmon, beavers, and eagles just to name a few.
Tours are available daily in Campbell River and they’re great for all ages, including kids! Check out the following venues to book a tour today:
Sports, Sports, Sports!
- Catch a hockey game with the Campbell River Storm, a Junior “B” ice hockey team.
- Learn how to play disc golf (a.k.a. ‘frolf’) at the Campbell River Sportsplex. This is a really fun and inexpensive activity that you can play any time of the year! Rent your own discs from the sportsplex or bring your own. Other activities at this arena include racquetball, tennis, bocce ball, and more.
- Go ice skating or swimming at the Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex. They offer several sports programs for kids as well as a weight room, steam and dry saunas, an indoor pool and hot tub, and an ice rink for hockey and skating—all of which are fun to do year-round!
No Shortage of Trails to Walk or Hike on
- Strathcona Provincial Park is widely known as the oldest provincial park not only on Vancouver Island, but in all of British Columbia and Canada. It was founded in 1911 and named after Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal. With over 210,000 hectares of scenic nature to explore, it’s no wonder that this is the must-visit park in Campbell River. More info: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/strath/
- Buttle Lake is located within Strathcona Provincial Park, and is thus one of the preferred lakes to swim in if you ever visit Campbell River. There is a campground, swimming, and hiking opportunities galore. One of Campbell River’s most serene lakes to visit. More info: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/strath/buttle.html
- The Lower Myra Falls are a serene addition to the Strathcona Provincial Park. This staircase waterfall is located at the western side of Buttle Lake along Myra Creek. It is accessible via Westmin Mine Road, which is just off of the Island Highway heading north to Campbell River. There is a small parking lot available if you’re coming from Courtenay heading north. This makes for a great picnicking and swimming area given the beautiful turquoise waters after the three cascades of water, surrounded by pale sculpted rocks. The falls are a short hike of 10-15 minutes tops from the parking lot. More info: http://bcnatureguide.ca/bc-nature-viewing-areas/vancouver-island-region/gold-river-area/7-lower-myra-falls/
Check out the video of the Lower Myra Falls too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQo2qOyNXtI
- Elk Falls Provincial Park is also home to the famous Suspension Bridge. The bridge opened for public use in the spring of 2015. It was a community project with efforts put into its establishment by BC Hydro, BC Parks, and the Campbell River Rotary Club. In addition to raising up the bridge, park trails were upgraded and an impressive new stairway was constructed. Bring water with you while checking out the incredible sights of the park and the natural wonders Campbell River is most famous for, including the famous and thunderous Elk Waterfalls. More info: https://www.campbellriver.travel/attractions-activities-landmarks/elk-falls-suspension-bridge/
- Morton Lake Provincial Park includes all of Morton Lake and a piece of shoreline from the neighbouring lake nearby called Mohun Lake. The park is open year-round and you can go swimming, hiking, camping, or just lounge on the lake shores. You’re guaranteed to see some rare and tranquil sights during the off season that the busy summer months won’t offer. This area makes for a great lake fishing trip as trout such as Rainbow, Dolly, and Cutthroat trout can be caught from April to June and from September to October. Camping is also available year-round, however it’s strongly advised that only self-sufficient and advanced campers do so. More info: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/morton_lk/
Arts & History in Campbell River
- The Museum at Campbell River is an interactive, informative, and even fun museum to visit! Learn more about the First Nations’ history, the Ripple Rock project, the logging industry of Vancouver Island, and more. More info: http://www.crmuseum.ca/
- The Museum at Campbell River is also home to the Haig-Brown Heritage House, a log cabin surrounded by peaceful gardens. During the summer it is open as accommodations, while in winter it is home to an annual Writer in Residence, a program available through the Museum. An annual festival is held in September in honour of Roderick and Ann Haig-Brown’s legacies as well as honouring World Rivers Day. More info: http://www.haig-brown.bc.ca/
- The Campbell River Art Gallery located in Shoppers Row in downtown Campbell River is a must for art lovers who are visiting the area. More info: http://crartgallery.ca/
- Learn about Campbell River’s maritime history at the Maritime Heritage Centre located on the Island Highway. More info: http://www.maritimeheritagecentre.ca/
- Catch a live theatre show at the River City Stage. http://www.rivercityplayers.ca/
- See the newest live theatre at the Tidemark Theatre. http://tidemarktheatre.com/
- Catch the latest film flicks at the Caprice Showcase Cinemas. https://www.landmarkcinemas.com/showtimes/campbell-river
Shop till you drop…
- Explore downtown Campbell River and see some great, unique, local shops! Its Shoppers Row consists of unique spots such as Coho Books, the French Creek Collective, and Petals Flower Shop to name a few. Special events are held here even in the off season such as the Easter Event in Spring, the Big Truck Christmas Parade in winter, and the Downtown Pumpkin Walk in autumn, all of which are great for families to partake in!
- Also in downtown Campbell River is the Tyee Plaza Shopping Mall, where you can find over 30 modern and unique stores such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Signature Oil & Vinegar, and Wise and Wonderful Toys. It is also home to Spirit Square, where many public events and concerts take place bringing Campbell River’s arts and culture directly to its community. Currently, there is new accommodation called the Tyee Plaza Residential: a four story, 46 unit rental apartment building that opened in the spring of 2017.
- Find the latest fashions or the newest tech at the Discovery Harbour Shopping Centre. It is home to over 50 shops, restaurants, and services such as Play ’N Trade, White Spot, Wei Wai Kum House of Treasures, Real Canadian Superstore, Spinners, and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
Just Steps away from Mount Washington
Mount Washington Alpine Resort and Campbell River are almost neighbours! You can visit the Comox Valley en route to or from the city of Campbell River in 42 minutes. Their winter season offers some great opportunities for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and even inner tubing your way down the snowy slopes. Grab a hot drink or a bite to eat when you’re done at the resort in front of the fireplace. Several hiking trails offer spectacular sights year-round. More information: https://www.mountwashington.ca/
- Quinsam River Hatchery makes for a great day trip with the kids! Education and entertaining, the hatchery is open publicly year-round. http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/sep-pmvs/projects-projets/quinsam/quinsam-eng.html
- Take a leisurely stroll along the Rotary Sea Walk. This hotspot complete with a scenic panorama of the ocean is six kilometers long, beginning at the north end from the Marine Heritage Centre before heading south along the Island Highway towards the Hidden Harbour Condominium complex, and then it follows the shoreline to the Willow Point Commercial District. Expect to see incredible views of the Discovery Passage along your way. More info: https://gocampbellriver.com/rotary-seawalk/
- Shelter Point Distillery is a must-visit if you’re looking for a more adult place to visit while in Campbell River. Try some of their specialty creations such as the single malt whiskey, single malt vodka, or the sunshine liqueur. Their tastings and tours opportunities are available 7 days a week. More info: https://shelterpoint.ca/
There are all sorts of outdoor activities and things to do in Campbell River even in the off season! We hope you enjoy your stay!
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