Our quest for adventure continues in the Pacific Northwest. This time, we decided on Victoria, B.C. It’s a quaint town off the southern tip of Vancouver island, and also happens to be the capital city of British Columbia. What attracted us to Victoria was the British charm without the flight to the U.K. I must preface with saying that the sites and activities we visited can be enjoyed with or without kids.
Our philosophy is that we love traveling so much that we aren’t going to stop just because we had kids. They’re just going to have to come along with us, and enjoy the ride. We still go to museums, tour castles/old homes (one of our fav activities) and nice meals that aren’t necessarily kid friendly. I can share my tips on how to go out with minimal stress.
The two most common ways to get to Victoria from Seattle is by ferry or sea plane. Since I get extreme motion sickness, which has only gotten worse with age, we decided to splurge on a sea plane flight with Kenmore Air. We have always wanted to ride on a sea plane, so we figured this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Grayson loved watching the planes land and take off, and was excited about the trip. The seaplane ride itself was apart of the vacation experience. We justified the cost as an excursion. The flight to Victoria was only 40 minutes as opposed to three hours by ferry.
Hotel– we stayed at the Fairmont Empress. The location was convenient and within walking distance from the harbor and many attractions. We didn’t have a car, and walked to most places.
Teatime at the Empress
The tea service is a must if you visit Victoria. It’s one of the oldest teatimes in North America which started in the early 1900s. The twins enjoyed their prince and princess set up with yummy sweets and sandwiches. They were clearly enjoying it with a cookie in one hand and a cup in the other.
We started off our morning at the Butchart Gardens which is approximately thirty minutes from downtown by taxi. I highly recommend getting there right when they open to beat the crowds, charter buses and tours. You will get great pictures without hoards of people in the background. This activity took us about two hours to leisurely walk through and take plenty of photos. There is also a carousel for kids.
Lunch at Red Fish Blue Fish
Fresh and affordable seafood from a shack on the harbor. We forgot to take pictures. Look it up. Highly recommend it. The fried oysters were the best I’ve ever had.
Royal BC Museum
We love museums because it’s a great way to learn about the history of the city. We also saw an IMAX on bears in the rainforest. This museum is fun and interactive and had an exhibit set up to go through the history of Victoria settlement starting with the aboriginals.
They have tours Monday- Friday. Had I known this beforehand, I would have visited on day one. There were tents set up for the 10k that took place that morning.
A nice area to walk around to see seaplanes and boats. Kids loved it.
Willow stream Spa
Dinner at Nautical Nellie’s steak and seafood
We really enjoyed the food here. Fresh oysters and seafood. It’s very kid friendly, but still great service and quality.
We love exploring how people lived in the past. Again, highly recommend going right when they open to beat the crowds. It’s also less stressful with kids not bumping into other tourist.
Victoria’s Chinatown is the second oldest in North America after San Francisco. It was very small, but had a lot of character. We had lunch at a dim sum restaurant.
Whale watching tour
We met at 5 star whale watching tour office next to the Fairmont hotel. We took a short walk to the pier and boarded the larger ferry. A smaller vessel is also an option but only allowed children five and older.
It took about forty five minutes to ride out to sea where we first encountered the orcas. The weather was amazing and sea was calm so we were able to see a family of orcas. Our guide said we were very lucky to have seen them so close and on such a calm day. After the orcas we went to another area to see sea lions and seals. Overall a nice experience and would do it again.
Overall, we had a great vacation and loved seeing the excitement on the twin’s faces. We liked the laid back and charming vibe of Victoria. There are many historic sites and activities for people of all ages. Now is a great time to visit Canada because the US dollar is strong, so everything is about twenty percent cheaper. We hope to visit again soon.