Campbell River, a scenic city on the east coast of Vancouver Island, is often referred to as the “Salmon Capital of the World.” The city, with its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, offers visitors an unforgettable experience. Located midway along Vancouver Island’s eastern shore, Campbell River is a gateway to the Discovery Islands and the perfect base for exploring the diverse attractions of the region. In this article, we will take a closer look at what makes Campbell River a must-visit destination for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
History and Culture
The Campbell River area has a deep indigenous history, dating back thousands of years. The region was originally inhabited by the Ligwilda’xw people, who now form part of the broader We Wai Kai Nation. The arrival of European settlers in the late 1800s led to the establishment of the city, which is named after Dr. Samuel Campbell, a Scottish surgeon who explored the region aboard the HMS Plumper.
Today, Campbell River is home to a vibrant and diverse community. The city has a thriving arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and public art installations. One of the highlights is the Museum at Campbell River, which showcases the region’s history, indigenous culture, and natural environment.
Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities
Campbell River’s prime location along the 50th parallel makes it an excellent destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. The region boasts a myriad of activities that cater to different interests and abilities, from hiking and mountain biking to wildlife watching and sport fishing.
The city is perhaps best known for its world-class salmon fishing, attracting anglers from around the globe to try their luck in the Campbell River and Discovery Passage. Fishing enthusiasts can also explore the nearby lakes and rivers, home to a variety of fish species, including trout, steelhead, and halibut.
Strathcona Provincial Park, located just west of the city, offers visitors the chance to explore the pristine wilderness of Vancouver Island. The park features over 250,000 hectares of diverse landscapes, including rugged mountains, lush forests, and serene lakes. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, camping, and wildlife viewing in this vast park.
Wildlife enthusiasts will also appreciate the opportunity to witness the region’s diverse marine life. Campbell River is home to a thriving population of orcas, humpback whales, sea lions, and dolphins. Numerous tour operators offer guided whale watching and wildlife cruises, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience.
Getting There and Accommodations
Campbell River is easily accessible by air, road, and sea. The Campbell River Airport (YBL) offers regular flights from Vancouver and other Canadian cities, while BC Ferries operates services from Vancouver and other Vancouver Island destinations. For those traveling by car, the scenic Highway 19A connects Campbell River to southern Vancouver Island.
The city offers a range of accommodations to suit various budgets and preferences, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. For a more immersive experience, visitors can also opt to stay in one of the many nearby campgrounds or wilderness lodges.