Take a journey across the Pacific waters and spend a day in British Columbia's capital city, Victoria. This quaint city has plenty to do across the board and will please individuals and groups of young or old alike. From epic gardens, excellent restaurants, museums packed with knowledge and plenty of fabulous shopping, it's easy to spend a day in Victoria.
Start your day off early by catching one of the early BC Ferries sailings. If you don't have a car, you can either get to and from the ferry on both sides of the water by taking public transportation. Should the trip be on a budget, this is your best bet. There are also a number of chartered buses that will pick you up in downtown Vancouver and take you into Victoria after you have got off the ferry.
For those looking to make the most of their day and minimize the travel time, you can catch a flight on a float plane from downtown Vancouver to Victoria's harbor. It's definitely more pricey, but worth it if it's in the budget. That being said, the two hour ferry ride is more than pleasant and adds to this day trip. Who knows, you may even get a glimpse of some traveling orcas and other marine life during your ride. Victoria is about a half hour drive from Sidney, where the ferry terminal resides.
Fall colors at Butchart Gardens — Photo courtesy of Butchart Gardens (Facebook)
If the weather is pleasant during your day trip to Victoria, take a stroll through Butchart Gardens. There are over 700 plant varietals and one million actual plants throughout the year. It's safe to say that there's plenty to look at here. They have a few different themed gardens and you shouldn't miss checking out the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and Italian Garden. This 50 acre garden also has two eateries that will fill a hungry tummy. The Dining Room Restaurant serves lunch, dinner and a fancy afternoon tea, and the Blue Poppy Restaurant is a more casual joint.
Traveling with kids? Beacon Hill Park is a great place to take the little ones. Established in 1882, this place has evolved into one of Victoria's most beloved parks. The impressive ocean views, jogging trails, ponds, cricket field, pebble beach and petting zoo are what make this park so spectacular.
This male peacock struts his stuff at Beacon Hill petting zoo — Photo courtesy of Tourism Victoria (Facebook)
Just because you're not spending the night doesn't mean that you can't enjoy one of Victoria's most renowned hotels. The Fairmont Empress hotel is the epitome of elegance and luxury and you can get a taste of it by spoiling yourself with a lovely afternoon tea there. It's fancy!
The Fairmont Empress at night — Photo courtesy of The Fairmont Empress (Facebook)
While wandering around downtown Victoria, don't miss their Chinatown. This six block neighborhood is filled with all sorts of interesting shops and boutiques that will intrigue. The downtown core is very walkable and where you will find much of the favored shopping areas. Like antiques and art galleries? Head to Fort Street where you will be delighted by the treasures you will find. Looking for a fab new outfit? The Bay Centre, Government Street and Trounce Alley will have you covered. Market Square should also be on your shopping list and will likely have what you're looking for in the 45 stores that call this historic and trendy building home.
We would encourage you to spend a weekend in Victoria, but should time be of the essence, this day trip will give you a hearty taste of British Columbia's capital.