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We just got back from an amazing month in Victoria, B.C.
I can't even put into words how awesome it was. I keep starting and then rewriting this story to make sure that it really showcases how great of a time we had and the best things to do with kids in Victoria, B.C.
We first fell in love with Victoria on a cruise excursion at the tail end of our Alaskan Cruise. It was one of our favorite stops and we loved it so much that we vowed to come back soon to see more of this family-friendly island.
When we visited Victoria on the cruise, our cruise ship was docked for just about 6 hours, and we hired a private guide (as we always do) to show us the highlights of the area and get a lay of the land.
This time we flew from San Diego to Seattle and then over to Victoria International Airport.
We left our home at 4 am for our 7 am flight up to Seattle. We had an early arrival and landed after about 2 1/2 hours. After that, we had a 2-hour layover and landed in Victoria after a 35-minute flight. The view from the plane over the island was so pretty!
Then we were on our way to Victoria!
The airport is about a 30-45 min drive (depending on the time of the day and traffic) and it is really easy to navigate the airport with the rental cars just feet away from the baggage claim.
If you have been traveling since early in the morning as we had, you will be happy to know that there is a Starbucks and a Tim Hortons by the baggage claim too!
We chose to fly in because it was the quickest way to get to the island, although another popular option is to take a ferry for the final portion. There are three ferries that dock right in the inner Victoria Harbor. They include BC Ferries, V2V Ferries, and also Clipper Vacations. My parents visited us for a week when we were on the island. They took the Clipper Vacations ferry from Seattle. When Pete's parents visited, they took a BC Ferry from Vancouver mainland and it docked in another part of the island just past the airport.
The big cruise ships don't dock right in the harbor. They dock about a 15-minute walk away and our home for the month had a great view of them coming in and out.
We stayed in a vacation rental and had a great experience.
My understanding is that there are minimums on vacation rentals in the area and 30 days is the least amount of time to book one, so it worked out perfectly for us. We wanted a place as close to the water as possible and found a place that was right across from the water and directly across from Port Angeles.
This turned out to be a magical coincidence because we were able to see fireworks on the 4th of July being shot off from the port!
We got into the perfect rhythm to our daily life after just a couple of days.
We would get up in the morning, and I would get to work while Pete and Ash would go to CrossFit.
When they got back, we would walk to breakfast and then head back home for more work time leaving in the afternoon for an early dinner. We always picked up coffee or Bubble Tea in China Town for the walk home from breakfast and sometimes in the afternoon too.
Once or twice a week we also would get into our rental car and see something touristy, but we mostly stuck with exploring on foot.
The girls especially loved that they had the freedom to explore on their own.
Some days they would get breakfast at their favorite restaurant, Cora. On those days, we wouldn't see them until later in the day after they went shopping, to a museum, or to watch the seaplanes land.
We also never grew tired of seeing the Fairmont Empress.
Pete and I had breakfast one day in their main dining room. The food was delicious and the surroundings truly beautiful. We went during the week after seeing the lines during the weekend and I would recommend doing the same so that you don't have to wait to be seated.
And then there is the Parliament Building.
This is for sure the showstopper of Victoria! At night it twinkles with lights and the grassy area was Emmy's favorite twirling place!
But our favorite place in the Victoria Parliament Building for sure was the lesser-known dining room.
This is the breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner spot for the Canadian MP's. There are times when they are in session that the dining room is closed to the public, but if you plan your visit around those times, this might be the coolest breakfast place in all of Victoria.
The food is good, extremely reasonably priced, but the best part is that you get to go within the historic Parliament building. Since this is within the building, you will be passing through security, so be sure to bring your ID.
I don't think I can even share just how much we loved our time in Victoria.
It is safe, clean and there is so much to do that even after 30 days, we wanted to stay longer! I'll be back soon with part 2!