Best Photography locations on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is one of the most biodiverse areas in Canada. With a population of 900,000+ its the most populous island in Canada. When people and nature come together, we get some great opportunities for outstanding nature photos.

We visited some of the most beautiful areas of the island and came up with the following list in no particular order. Purchase these and other Canadian photos in our store.

  • Lake Cowichan
  • Saanich
  • Nanaimo
  • Sooke
  • Tofino

Lake Cowichan

This beautiful area is surrounded by the sleepy towns of Youbou to the north and Harmony Bay to the south. This lake is one of the largest on the island and is surrounded by breathtaking elevation changes and landscapes

This tourist center is popular for lake activity and logging. It’s in the middle of the island, about 50 mins drive from the nearest coast. This is a great place to set up your tripod and observe the beauty. Better yet, if you have a drone, view this area from the sky and be amazed


The District of Saanich is relatively large area compared to others on the island. Multiple provincial parks,  8.1749 square kilometres (3.1563 sq mi) of fresh water lakes, mountains, ferries, and even an airport. With over 110,000 people, this 103.44 square kilometres (39.94 sq mi) is a great place to take the perfect photo

Chances are that you are arriving here via ferry or plane, so take out your camera phone on approach. Once here, it’s time to pick your muse and plan your approach. With 29.61 kilometers (18.40 mi) of marine shoreline, you should plan your day vs guessing the best location if this is your photography focus.


Technically, this is the most populous city on Vancouver Island with 90,000 people vs the provincial capital of Victoria with 85,000. 55 kilometers (34 mi) west of the most populated area in the province of Vancouver BC, Nanaimo is easy to access and shares similar weather

Much like the Saanich area, we found lots to keep our attention in this region. With a few smaller islands nearby, we particularly like the beach areas. However, Nanaimo is very diverse offering lots of options for the keen photog.


This sleepy fishing village has one road in and out. It’s at the southwest of the island making it a prime tsunami zone and a popular place for beaches. It’s relatively expensive to live here and we see why. It’s a great place to live with hiking, kayaking, and lots of other outdoor activities. This is quintessential BC.

In this area we were particularly focused on the beach. Kayaking and camping in the area provides epic views of the surrounding topography.


Arguably the most famous tourist area on the island, this area is famous for its sandy beaches. What we remember most was that looking out into the ocean from Tofino, felt like the end of the world. You see, Tofino is on the west side of the island so there is nothing else until you hit Asia.

Again here the beaches are the attraction. However, there are lots of other activities to do in the area like ziplining. It takes hours to drive here, through mountainous back country. If you couldn’t find that perfect photo on the way in, rest assured you will find it while here.


If you like these photos, you can buy them and other Canadian photos in our store. We regularly review and upload photos from photographers across Canada.

We are always looking for the best places in Canada for outdoor photography. We live in the second-largest country on the planet. With a country this large, there is diversity, and beauty in that diversity.

If we missed your favorite locations on the island, comment below with your suggestions. We would be happy to add your favorites to this list.

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