Goats on the roof at Coombs Old Country Market. Two goats are on a grassy roof. Two pink patio umbrellas are in the foreground.

Top 5 Places to Stop Between Vancouver and Tofino

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Coombs Old Country Market | @glamouraspirit_

There is so much to see en route from Vancouver to Tofino that it can be hard to know where to plan your stops. Here are a few suggestions.

Parksville | @glamouraspirit_


Parksville, on Vancouver Island‘s east coast, is a quiet community with spectacular beaches, including kid-friendly Parksville Beach. Along with tons of sand, this beach is home to a huge adventure playground with a water spray park to keep little ones cool. Also visit Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, with its vast beaches, exposed by a tide that recedes almost 1 km (0.6 mi) into the Strait of Georgia.

Visit Parksville
One of the friendly locals | @sab.brunette


The iconic Old Country Market in Coombs is a must as you cross Vancouver Island. This eclectic market carries a wide range of imported gifts, as well as an assortment of foodstuffs. There is a bakery, a deli counter, an ice cream parlour, and Italian and Mexican restaurants on-site. But the market’s most notable feature is the sod-covered roof that is home to resident pygmy goats. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

Visit Coombs
Englishman River Falls | Tourism Vancouver Island

Englishman River Falls

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, located just off Highway 4, is home to two powerful waterfalls. Whether you visit for a few hours or camp here overnight, take time to hike through the lush old-growth trees to unforgettable views of the falls. Below the lower waterfall is a deep, clear pool–a popular swimming hole in the summer and salmon spawning viewing spot in the fall.

Visit the Falls
MacMillan Provincial Park | Tourism Vancouver Island/Lexa Bergen

Cathedral Grove

MacMillan Provincial Park‘s Cathedral Grove is one of the most accessible places in BC to view ancient stands of Douglas fir trees, some as many as 800 years old. Don’t forget the obligatory photo of someone in your group trying to wrap their arms around a massive tree trunk.

Visit Cathedral Grove
McLean Mill National Historic Site | @toadhollowphoto

Port Alberni

Number three goes to the central Vancouver Island community of Port Alberni, located along Highway 4. While you’re here, our fans’ don’t miss suggestions include the McLean Mill National Historic Site, which you can visit via steamtrain; and Stamp Falls, where, in the fall, you can see thousands of salmon making their way toward their spawning grounds, as well as black bears who come for an easy meal.

Visit Port Alberni

Originally published in June, 2016.

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