Are you planning a trip or have a potential day trip in mind for Victoria, British Columbia?
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Victoria, British Columbia is beautiful! Here is an itinerary you can use if you only have a day to explore as I did.
Since I am the travel planner out of the two of us, it was no surprise I had a well-vetted plan for our 10-day adventure.
Here is a travel tip I’ll share with you that is one of my secret weapons, study google maps! I found it challenging to get information about the Port Angelas area and other attractions outside of Hurricane Ridge. When I turned to google maps I saw there were dashes though the ocean to Canada! At first, I thought it was a joke because the name of the ferry line is Black Ball Ferry Line, but no, it was real.
At that point in time, my passport for the last 8ish years had zero stamps in it! I really wanted to get a stamp in my passport. I did research to find the ferry line and see which would make the most sense for this trip.
Few questions to ask yourself:
How much time do I want to spend there?
Will we stay overnight?
Will we bring a car?
How much are the hotels?
Those are some considerations that made the decision easy. The cost of bringing the car and a hotel in Victoria didn't make much sense for our trip. We decided to explore for one day and not bringing our car because the cost would take away from other attractions we would want to do. If you decide to bring your car the list below are some of the attractions that caught my eye:
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse NHS
Sooke Potholes Provincial Park
Goldstream - beautiful waterfall
I recommend purchasing your ticket in advance. It does save you a few bucks and then you also don’t have to wait on line to buy a ticket and then go on another line for customs as well. Make sure your passport is up-to-date and will not expire in the next six months. You can have difficulty going into Canada or returning to America if that is the case.
For this leg of the trip, we stayed at Lake Crescent Lodge. The ferry was a 31-minute drive from the lodge and w were taking the 8:30 AM ferry, it was a perfect distance. There is one main road on the Olympic Peninsula, it is US 101. I highly suggest staying at Lake Cresent Lodge, it has gorgeous views with the surrounding mountains and glacier water.
Seattle is the nearest major city and the ferry line is 2.5 hours away.
It could be a great excuse for a weekend getaway! Or you can drive to the ferry and do an overnight stay in Canada.
If you plan to take your car on the ferry, you will wait on the line to board the ferry and do customs that way. However, if you are not bringing your car on the ferry, there are a few parking options across from the ferry dock, we landed on “Ferry Parking” since it was only $12 for the day and we were told it was very safe spot and other people going on the ferry parked there the same time we did.
Now, the sketchy part. It is CASH ONLY. You literally put cash in a small envelope and have to shove it into the slot. People reassured us they did the same and someone in the group had parked there before saying it’s sketchy but nothing has ever happened to their cars.
We paid and headed to the ferry. Getting on the boat was smooth. You fill out the paperwork for customs and get checked-in. Once on the boat, I recommend staying on the bow of the sheet for the whole ride. The views are stunning and it is such a different experience than sitting in the boat and just looking out a window.
Oh! I recommend bringing breakfast with you. There is a spot, on the boat you can buy food, but if you try to at on the healthy side and less sugar, you won’t have many options.
In the middle of the Pungent sound, this is the body of water you are crossing to get to Victoria BC, it is freezing! We went at the beginning of September, I had a blouse Patagonia jacket, jeans, sneakers, neck cover and my hat on, I was so cold! Thankfully the ferry ride is only 90 minutes from Port Angela to Victoria BC.
After going through customs - where I requested a stamp in my passport! We headed to Starbucks for something warm. It was right where we docked, also an excuse to access wifi. Reminder, if you don’t have an international data plan, you won’t have cell phone service. Thankfully there were a lot of wifi hot spots.
We walked past the Parliament building and enjoy the beautiful plantings surround the city, It was stunning!
Across from the Parliament building, there is a Canada sign, we embraced being a tourist and got photos at the sign. Highly recommend it!
While walking from the parliament building to the Canada sign, enjoy all the seaplanes taking off! It is really an amazing view with all the ships and water taxis passing each other. We didn't go up in the seaplane but if you wanted to take in a view of Victoria, that would be a way to go!
We were only on foot so exploring was limited to some extent.
The next stop and biggest attraction I wanted to see was Fishermen’s Warf. I had gone to San Francisco the previous year and they are known for their Fisherman’s Wharf, so I wanted to compare the two.
Honestly, they’re incomparable. In Victoria, it is more of a park. There weren’t really any sights. But then as you walk further back you are brought to this adorable water home and restaurants. We then saw the water taxis! The $7 ride was all worth it!
There are multiple stops around the area, we did not want to do the walk back, it was about a 45-minute walk and it was warm! We went from Fishman’s Wharf to Old Town. It’s a different view of the city and it was a highlight to the day.
It was also time for food and to pick up the souvenirs we were eyeing. Our family members back home loved our gifts of maple syrup - honestly, Canada’s syrup is amazing. I got a sweatshirt because I was freezing on the ferry ride! It’s so comfortable I love it.
We were recommended this Irish Times Pub on the way out, but we didn't want a sit-down lunch. Since we also needed to stretch our lunch to save for dinner, we were looking for a sandwich spot. We went back to the shops and a woman gave us an amazing recommendation for something simple and fine for our budget, I recommend going to Murchie's Tea & Coffee.
After enjoy some sitting time, we went back to the water to enjoy the view of the water taxis, ships, and seaplanes. It was an enjoyable way to relax till going back to sit on the water until the ferry returned. When watching the water we got to see a group of otters!
It was such a wonderful day and an amazing city to explore.
For the ferry ride back, stay outside! We saw dolphins, seals, and a baby orca on our way back! Also, the view of the Olympic mountain range on the way back is stunning! These photos don't even do it justice.
Here is some background to Victoria BC and known attractions:
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia
Canadian Currency is in Canadian dollars and cents. Canadian one dollar and two dollar denominations are coins and are referred to as loonies and toonies, the rest are bills.
Known internationally as the City of Gardens
Named the most romantic and friendliest city in Canada
Fairmont Hotel, built-in 1906 and is a staple to the inner harbor waterfront of Victoria
They are known for whale watching tours
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip to Victoria, BC. If you have any questions about the area please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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