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Island Hopping, B.C.-style

Honda Canada has sold more than four million Honda and Acura passenger cars and light-duty trucks in Canada

Credit: Ruth Hartnup on Flickr

A guide to making the most of your road trip to B.C.’s best island destinations

When you ask someone about their happy place, a lot of us have visions of a tropical island. For the Kero family, the islands that come to mind are a lot closer to home. Over the last 10 years, the family of six has covered more than 150,000 km worth of terrain across beautiful British Columbia, most of it heading to and from one of the many islands off B.C.’s West Coast.

The Kero parents, Karen and Alojzije, were born and raised on Vancouver Island.  Karen grew up in Port Alberni and Alojzije from Port McNeil, so you could say that island travel is in their blood.

We asked Karen for her 5 #HondaHappiness island destinations. She reminded us that it’s just as much about the journey as the destination. Their transportation of choice is their 2004 Honda Pilot. Although their SUV now carries a few bumps and bruises, it’s still as dependable as the day they picked it up from their Honda dealership over a decade ago.

If you have your own happy place, share it on Twitter and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $1,000 prepaid credit card. Simply follow @HondaCanada and include #hondahappiness in your tweet before May 10th.

Click through to find out how to do island hopping this summer, B.C.-style

Credit: Credit: Ruth Hartnup on Flickr

Long Beach, Tofino

With over 11 km of beaches, this destination definitely lives up to its name. Load your surfboards onto the roof rack and pack a big lunch (maybe even dinner) because you’re going to have a tough time getting the kids to leave. If you want to make the most of the waves, book lessons over at Bruhwiler Surf School in advance, owned and operated by Raph Bruhwiler, one of Canada’s top surfers. The trip from the mainland to Tofino is a bit of a trek so plan to make a stop in Port Alberni and grab lunch at the Little Bavaria Restaurant.  Make sure to say hi to Kathy Kero, that’s right, Karen’s mom, who owns the local German favourite.

Distance: 283 km
Travel time: 5 hours 51 minutes (including ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo)


An annual tradition for the Kero family is setting up camp in Parksville and checking out the world famous Sand Sculpting Competition. The 2015 exhibition runs from July 10 to August 16. If you want be close to the action, consider staying at the Park Sands Beach Resort. It’s located directly adjacent to the Sand Castle competition and other family friendly features like a massive park with beach volleyball courts. Every campsite is just a few steps from the beach.

Distance: 115 km
Travel time: 3 hours 23 minutes (including ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo)

Credit: Credit: Guilhem Vellut on Flickr

Bowen Island

It’s only a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, yet one step onto Bowen Island and you’ll feel as though you are hundreds of miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Kayak through the sheltered bays or mountain bike all over this forested, 52 square-kilometre island on a network of rural trails that range from easier lakeside pedaling to thigh-burning mountain climbs.

Distance: 30 km
Travel time: 1 hour (including ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island)

Quadra Island

A favourite of the Kero family, Quadra Island is known for its natural beauty and mild climate. The largest, and most populous of the Discovery Islands, it lies between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Quadra offers an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities for you and your kids. Seals, sea lions, porpoises, salmon, bald eagles, osprey, great blue herons, black-tailed deer, wolves and black bears all make this island home. Try and take advantage of a local guided wildlife tour or whale watching excursion.

Distance: 260 km
Travel time: 5 hours 32 minutes (including ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo and from Campbell River to Quadra Island)

The Roadside Stop

The beauty of road trips is sometimes not knowing where you’ll end up. Instead of pulling over at the highway truck stop or the big chain restaurant, why not take a bit of a detour and support the local communities off the beaten path? Whether it’s Coombs Old Country Market on Vancouver Island or picking up fresh veggies and fruit from a local farm on the way to the ferry terminal, sometimes the detour can become the best part of your trip. With a car full of kids, pit stops are more of a necessity than an option, so make the best of it.

Distance: Various
Travel time: Worth the trip