Vancouver Island is one of BC’s most beloved destinations. While you already know about Victoria and Tofino, have you ever tried exploring the Cowichan region?

If you’re like most people on the mainland, you probably just said, “Cow-where?”

That’s okay, we won’t hold it against you. The Cowichan region is Vancouver Island’s best-kept secret. It’s all the beauty, diversity, and island activities you’re looking for spread across a handful of smaller communities with all the charm and none of the crowds. 

Here’s everything you didn’t know about Cowichan and why you should make time for a visit this December. 

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Cowichan is a large and diverse region on the southern end of Vancouver Island. It spans from Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park all the way to Cowichan Bay, encompassing many small communities from the region of Malahat in the south to Ladysmith in the north and natural wonders. 

You’ve probably passed through once or twice on your way to Victoria, but there are a lot of reasons to make Cowichan your main destination!

Cowichan is home to many wineries, distilleries, and breweries, along with world-class activities like mountain biking, hiking, the Malahat Sskywalk, or kite and windsurfing at Nitinat Lake. You’ll also find a thriving arts and culture scene along with gastronomic delights and Canada’s only commercial tea farm!

December Events

Mild weather and breathtaking nature are great reasons to visit Cowichan year-round. If you’re looking for a charming holiday-inspired getaway, then you really need to visit in December. 

Fun Fact: The towns of Duncan and Ladysmith have been used as filming locations for several Hallmark movies and TV shows! If they’re picturesque enough for Hallmark, then you know you’ve got to check them out.

Ladysmith is also home to the Ladysmith Festival of Lights. This magical holiday island tradition takes place from the last Thursday in November until the second Sunday in January. Walk along the historic First Avenue and enjoy thousands of Christmas lights and holiday shopping. 


You could also stop by to check out the Chemainus Theatre Festival. This year’s holiday performance will be: It’s a Wonderful Life. This live radio  play is based on the beloved holiday movie with a clever twist and will be playing until Saturday, December 23.


If you’re itching for more holiday displays, you can also visit the farmhouse in Cobble Hill at Merridale Cidery & Distillery to see one of the brightest privately owned light displays on Vancouver Island. Enjoy thousands of twinkling lights along with festive food, holiday shopping, and live entertainment.

Pack your bags and explore the hidden gems in the Cowichan region this winter! You can count on balmy weather, lush forests, pristine coastlines, and charming small-town vibes. 

It’s so magical that the only problem is you’ll never want to leave!