Accessible Places to See Flowers Bloom on Vancouver Island

One of the most magical things about springtime on Vancouver Island is witnessing the flowers in bloom. We are so fortunate that thanks to our mild climate, Vancouver Island has a bountiful number of gardens to enjoy spring blossoms. On Vancouver Island, we want to ensure that we’re sharing experiences that offer equitable, inclusive, and accessible tourism opportunities for all to enjoy. In this article, we’re sharing some gardens that offer accessible access to their remarkable floral and fauna displays.

Experiencing a Vancouver Island garden in full bloom should be on everyone’s bucket list, and while these experiences will be different for each visitor, we hope that this information can act as a guide to experience spring in full bloom in Vancouver Island as an inclusive travel destination for all.

Please note- the information provided is based on consultations with accessibility experts, as well as information from our partner websites. If you’d like specific details from any of these businesses or destinations, we encourage you to reach out to them directly as the information may change and vary for different abilities.

Check out the Vancouver Island Accessible Travel Guide video at the bottom of this page for more!

Butchart Gardens

South Island: Victoria

The Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens, taken by @localwanderer

No trip to Victoria is complete without a visit to the century-old Butchart Gardens. Filled with lush greens and an abundance of spring flowers, the garden is an oasis for all visitors. For accessible travel, because the gardens were built over 100 years ago, some pathways are narrow and steep; however the garden has built alternative routes for wheelchair and scooter users. We suggest picking up a visitor map on arrival, and noting all signage as you embark on your tour of the gardens. All of the restaurants, gift stores, and carousels are wheelchair accessible and close parking is available upon request. The gardens also feature complimentary loaner wheelchairs, however we caution that they do not feature hand brakes.

Carrot Park

North Vancouver Island: Port Hardy

Located on the harbour in central Port Hardy, Carrot Park features stunning waterfront views and manicured lawns to enjoy. For wheelchair and scooter users, there’s a 400m paved waterfront promenade that offers breathtaking views of the harbour and surrounding greenery.

Chinese Memorial Gardens Park

Mid-Island: Nanaimo

A stunning p[ark featuring a Pagoda structure, plentiful mature trees and shrubs, as well as floral blooms- this hidden gem is a must-add to any Nanaimo itinerary. Relax in the tranquil garden surroundings located just outside of downtown Nanaimo with panoramic views of Newcastle Chanel. The gardens are wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Community Beach Park

Mid-Island: Parksville

Community Beach Park – Photo by Lexa Bergen

An island hot-spot for spring strolls and beach hangs, Parksville’s Community Beach Park features wheelchair friendly boardwalks and pathways, as well as dedicated accessible parking spots. There are plentiful trees to enjoy in the springtime, with changing blooms and colours regardless of the season.

Government House Gardens

South Island: Victoria

On the grounds of Government House, pathways connect a series of gardens that feature native and foreign plants and flowers in an array of shapes and colours. Maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers, the grounds are open daily and all formal garden areas are wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Maffeo Sutton Park

Mid-Island: Nanaimo

Maffeo Sutton Park – Photo by Lexa Bergen

A gem located just outside Nanaimo’s downtown core, Maffeo Sutton Park is fully wheelchair-accessible and a fantastic place to take in spring’s blooms. A perfect place to enjoy the fresh spring air and take in beautiful scenery, the park hosts several festivals and events throughout the spring and summer season. Accessible travellers with kids will love the inclusive playground designed with some wheelchair accessible features. 

Merridale Cidery & Distillery

Cowichan Valley: Cobble Hill

Merridale Cidery & Distillery – Photo by Lexa Bergen

Nestled within the beautiful Cowichan Valley, Merridale is an incredible place to take in spring blooms. Home to a 20-acre apple orchard, the blossoms can be seen throughout their grounds. The property and buildings are wheelchair friendly and barrier-free, with the exception of outdoor seating in the lower level. There are walking trails throughout the orchard, with much of the grounds paved and level alongside designated accessible parking areas.

Milner House & Camellia Tea Room at Milner Gardens

Mid-Island: Qualicum Beach

The breathtaking Milner Gardens fills with springtime blooms, and having tea at the Camellia Tea Room located in the historic Milner House is a must on any visit to the area. For accessible travel, there are three accessible parking stalls as well as accessible washrooms near the Welcome and Interpretive Centre. Following parking, there is a 6-8 person shuttle cart that can accommodate collapsible wheelchairs, walkers, or strollers to the Milner House and Camellia Tea Room. The grounds of Milner Gardens are challenging for wheelchairs and walkers, with slopes of packed gravel so an accessible visit to the gardens is only recommended to visit the Milner House and Tea Room. For additional key information, contact Milner Gardens directly.

Ogden Point Breakwater

South Island: Victoria

Ogden Point Breakwater – Photo by Lexa Bergen

Head to Ogden Point’s Breakwater Walkway for coastal views of Victoria you won’t want to miss. Featuring a 2500 ft (762 metre) long wheelchair and scooter accessible pathway, it’s an excellent spot for all abilities. The trail starts at Dallas Road, and features several trees and plants of varying floral and fauna throughout the pathway.

Port McNeill Municipal Marina

North Vancouver Island: Port McNeil

Port McNeill Waterfront – Photo by Lexa Bergen

The Government Wharf, otherwise known as the Port McNeil municipal marina, is located in the town of Port McNeil right on the harbour. Cherry blossom fans will love the floral trees in bloom in early spring that line the coastal pathways. For accessible travel, the seawall, grassy area, and pathways around the wharf are all wheelchair accessible and are fantastic for sightseeing and experiencing spring’s fresh air. There is also a designated accessible parking spot located in the parking lot of the information centre.

Victoria Butterfly Gardens

South Island: Victoria

Butterfly Gardens – Photo by Lexa Bergen

Located in Central Saanich, the Victoria Butterfly Gardens are a must-stop on any spring trip to South Vancouver Island. While the gardens are home to thousands of tropical butterflies, they also feature tropical flowers, tortoises, birds, and a bounty of carnivorous plants and fruits from around the world. The gardens feature an abundance of wide wheelchair and scooter accessible pathways.

Vancouver Island Accessible Travel Guide