Visit this pretty bayside village to find a fantastic local culinary scene, artists’ workshops and a long maritime history.
The seaside village of Cowichan Bay looks into a scenic inlet on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island. The small community is known for fine local produce and artisan workshops. Stroll down the village’s seafront promenade and visit a café or studio or head onto the water in a kayak or boat. Spot whales in the beautiful bay and enjoy local wines and cheeses from Vancouver Island.
Walk along the waterfront and see the collection of charming shops and cafés fringing the shore. Visit artisanal bakers, ceramicists, cheese-makers, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and several restaurants. Spot the gently waving masts of the ships docked in the marina. Cowichan Bay, once a busy deep-water port, is still occasionally frequented by tankers and container ships.
Explore the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre and walk onto its scenic wooden boardwalk. Here, you’ll find the Cowichan Wooden Boat Society, dedicated to the preservation of the town’s long tradition of boatbuilding.
Join a whale-watching or scenic boat tour for a fascinating insight into the waters around Vancouver Island. You might see humpback whales, orcas, seals and sea lions streaking through the water below your boat and bald eagles flying overhead. Alternatively, rent a kayak and explore the coastal waters or the mouth of the Cowichan River. Join guided tours or cruise along the coastline at your own pace.
Look for morning birds at Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre at Hecate Park. Then head to the village’s waterfront pub for a relaxing lunch and drinks. Appreciate stunning views of the bay and surrounding hillsides while you sample local seafood and regional wines. Looking north, you’ll see Mount Tzouhalem and its forest reserves.
Cowichan Bay is on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, a 1-hour drive north of Victoria and the same distance south of Nanaimo. Reach Victoria by ferry from Tsawwassen, Anacortes or Port Angeles. Nanaimo Airport is located in Cassidy.