There’s something special about fall. The shorter days, and longer nights have people seeking relaxing experiences, while the crisp, fresh air also makes us want to get outside and soak up the golden autumn sunshine. It’s invigorating and tranquil at the same time. It makes us all want to getaway for the weekend and slow down.

Fall in Cowichan is no different. The bright reds and golden yellows of the farmland and hillsides seem almost unreal. The mist that settles along the ocean and in the valley give off a mystical vibe. It truly is a world away from ordinary.

Tea by the Fire: the perfect cozy getaway

A Cozy Cabin Getaway in Cowichan
Fall scenes along the Cowichan River. Credit: Cowichan River Lodge.

It wouldn’t be a getaway without a warm B&B to relax in. Add in a glass of local wine and a good book and you’re all set!

As the weather gets colder and the forests and hillside change over, a warm fire and a good book is the perfect way to spend your day. Cowichan offers a number of relaxing lodges and B&Bs to get away for a few days or even a night. 

Nestled along the banks of the historic Cowichan River, Cowichan River Lodge offers modern amenities in a rustic setting. This five-bedroom lodge can be rented by the room or as a full buyout, perfect for family stays in a well-distanced space. Relax with a morning cup of coffee on the patio or enjoy a glass of local wine in your private jacuzzi. Evenings can be spent in the great room with a roaring fire in the real fireplace.

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From luxury hotels, to log cabins, to rustic vineyard cabins, to yurts…yes yurts, you’ll find the perfect place to unwind. Cowichan is miles away from ordinary.

Nearby Farm Table Inn offers guests a true farm-to-table experience, with an attached restaurant that features ingredients grown locally on the on-site farm. The beautiful two-bedroom B&B is a wonderfully tranquil spot to explore the abundance of hiking trails in the region. Take a quick trip to nearby Skutz Falls, a great place to catch spawning salmon in October. 

Treat yourself to an evening in a vineyard at Emandare Vineyards’ Tractor Shed Guest House. Just minutes from downtown Duncan, the guesthouse is nestled on the 8.5 acre vineyard with views of the Somenos Lake. The two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and the private hot tub, make it a great spot for groups or families. The proximity to Duncan’s bustling downtown makes it a great spot from which to explore the region. 

The grand and luxurious Villa Eyrie Resort alone on top of the Malahat Summit, offering unmatched views of the Saanich Inlet, rated one of the best views in Canada! The luxury property offers classic, one and two-bedroom suites, all the way up to a private penthouse located at the top of the resort. With an award-winning on-site restaurant and full-service spa, you’ll have everything you need at your finger tips! Relax with a glass of local wine on your balcony and soak in the beautiful island scenery.

Weekends Getaways are for Markets

Weekend Farmers' Markets in Cowichan
Fresh produce and artisan goods are the way of life in Cowichan

Farmers’ markets are not a new concept on Vancouver Island, but with over 800 farms in the region, Cowichan has a variety that you can’t find elsewhere. The Duncan Farmers’ Market is a popular stop for locals and travellers alike and offers an incredible array of produce, baked goods, wine, cider, and crafts. Every Saturday, rain or shine, this year-round, outdoor market is open from 9am-2pm. Fall is the best time to stock up on fresh ingredients for the week ahead, so get there early! 

Can’t make the Saturday market? The Cowichan Green Community provides a fantastic online map of the local farms and producers in the region providing everything from organic honey to fresh lavender. You can use the interactive or printable versions from their website or pick up a hard copy from their offices in downtown Duncan. Start planning your weekend trip through the countryside! Farm-hopping is one of our favourite ways to get off the beaten path and explore Cowichan.

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A Getaway among the Vines

Enjoy a winery getaway in Cowichan
Emandare Vineyard specializes in all organic wines with no commercial yeasts or additives. Credit: Emandare Vineyard.

In the fall, the orchards and vineyards in Cowichan are full of plump apples and grapes, ready to be picked and crushed into award-winning batches of wine, cider, and spirits. Valley Cider in Duncan sits on a 27-acre farm filled with apple trees, berry patches, and babbling brooks. Relax on the patio in the late autumn sun with a glass of their seasonally-fitting Gingerella cider. Down the street at Alderlea Vineyards, you can enjoy a tour of the exquisite grounds overlooking Quamichan Lake with a view of nearby Mount Prevost. Enjoy an outdoor tasting of the recent silver-medal winning Valerie well into the fall months. The property is shielded from coastal winds and is one of the warmest locations in Cowichan, so you can sit still outside.

Nearby Averill Creek Vineyard is built into the side of Mt Prevost and offers breathtaking views of the valley’s rolling hills. Their 2.5 acres create small-batches of award-winning Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. The panoramic views from their tuscan-styled patio are some of the best in the region! Be sure to try their Charme de L’ile, a sparkling wine found only in Cowichan and made from 100% Cowichan grapes. It’s the perfect getaway from the city and you truly can sloe down and savour life a little more.

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Fall time also means new seasonal beers from Cowichan’s three popular breweries. Be sure to stop by the always-bustling Riot Brewing in Chemainus for their latest seasonal brew, Jimbo Boysenberry BlackBerry Sour, affectionately named after the Victoria-born top-four finisher from Canada’s Drag Race. Available Thanksgiving weekend.

Plan your trip

Customize your getaway and find experiences tailored to you with our Trip Planner! Whether you’re after a foodie tour, local craft goods, or outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone in Cowichan.

Getting to Cowichan

The Malahat is the perfect stop off on a weekend getaway to Cowichan.
The views from the Malahat Summit overlooking the Saanich Inlet are incredible

Just 45 minutes north of Victoria, there are a number of scenic routes you can take to get to Cowichan. Take the winding drive up the Malahat, considered one of Canada’s most beautiful drives. Be sure to stop at the summit to take in the sweeping views of the Saanich Inlet and across to Brentwood Bay and Saltspring Island to the left.

The Malahat is part of the traditional territories of the Malahat Nation and W̱SÁNEĆ People; at the top of the summit, you’ll find the iconic Salish Bear totem, carved by Coast Salish artist Stanley Modeste.

One of our favourite ways to get to Cowichan is the Mill Bay Ferry! Departing daily from Brentwood Bay, it’s a beautiful 25-minute trip across the Inlet to Mill Bay. We recommend stopping for lunch at Bridgemans Bistro at the Mill Bay Marina and continue up to Cowichan Bay and Cobble Hill just minutes away. 

Whether you’re after a relaxing weekend away, outdoor adventure, or incredible food and drink, fall time is a great time to discover Cowichan.

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