Go West For Wildlife
Another ferry journey west brings you to Vancouver Island: a giant, finger-shaped landmass about the size of the Netherlands. It’s known for the state capital, Victoria, and its English-style colonial architecture, and for surfing or stand-up paddleboarding – chiefly from the town of Tofino. Family lessons are readily available in both disciplines.
Above all, though, the Island is renowned for its wildlife opportunities. Black bear-watching cruises depart from Tofino and sail up the west coast, while families can also venture north from Telegraph Cove to the Knight Inlet Lodge – a floating wilderness retreat with superb guides – and spot magnificent grizzly bears gorging on salmon.
Whale-watching cruises depart from around the island: about 250 orcas are thought to live in the north-eastern waters, along with minkes and humpbacks. Further south, it’s also possible sometimes to spot seals and sea otters on rocks below the Wild Pacific Trail; walk the 1.5-mile Lighthouse Loop and your kids can also listen to a deafening foghorn peal.
Over at the Pacific Northwest Raptors centre for birds of prey, youngsters can watch peregrine falcons – the world’s fastest animal – bald eagles, vultures and owls in flying demonstrations during summer.