There’s nothing quite like a holiday family vacation to a beautiful destination. Winter is a time when many families go out and spend time in places like the mountains, the city, and some also escape to the beach to get away from cold winter times. However, visiting destinations where it is cold is also cool, the winter wonderland feel, the hot holiday beverages, the lights, and decorations, it’s a great time to get out there.
This past month my family and I visited Victoria in British Columbia. We live in Seattle, so this historic and beautiful city is very close to us. The vacation started on a Saturday morning, we rented a car as we often do when driving to a destination – (renting a car is an excellent way to enhance a family road trip). After getting the rental car, we started driving towards Edmonds, WA, to take our first ferry of the day. Victoria, BC, is located on Vancouver Island, and well, it is an island, so to get there, you have to take at least one ferry.
Getting to Victoria, BC from Seattle
To get to Victoria, BC from Seattle, you have multiple options, some of them include one ferry if you drive all the way to Anacortes and the other few take up to two ferries. We decided that for us taking the route, Seattle-Edmonds-Kingston-Port Angeles-Victoria was the best given the time of day.
This route will help you get to Victoria in the early evening, and it allows you to relax and not be in a rush. If you are up to an early start, you can try to make it to the earliest ferry from Edmonds to Kingston so you can catch the first ferry to Victoria from Port Angeles in the morning. Since there are only two ferries (as of the writing of this post), your options are a bit limited.
We decided to drive to Edmond from Seattle at around 7AM to take the second ferry of the day to Kingston at 8:30AM – we didn’t have a reservation, which is highly recommended on the weekends. We left early to get there at least one hour before the 8:30AM ferry to be able to get a spot in it as there is limited space in the first-come-first-serve area of the ferries.
Once you get there and get a spot in the waiting line, you can leave your car and walk around town until 30 minutes before departure. We walked over to a coffee shop a few blocks away and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee while chatting and checking for hotels in Victoria, BC.
The first ferry from Edmond to Kingston, WA is just under one hour, the seats in these ferries are limited, and if you want to get out of your car and catch a good seat, you need to get out of your vehicle as soon as you park in inside the ferry.
Driving from Kingston to Port Angeles is fantastic, it is a somewhat scenic drive, and there are plenty of places to stop and look around. Now, remember, the next and final ferry of this route departs at 2:30PM, and just like with the first ferry, I recommend either making a reservation or get to the ferry waiting area at least 45 minutes before departure.
The ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria is a busy boat. This is a ferry where you want to get out of your car and go upstairs to enjoy the views. The ferry takes just under two hours to get to Victoria, BC.
Once you arrive at Victoria, you’ll get in your car to drive out of the ferry, make sure to have your passports ready to show to the Canadian immigration officers, the process is fast, and you should be out of the area in just minutes.
What to do in Victoria, BC when is raining
We travel a lot, and because of this, we have gained some experience when visiting new places and finding ways to enjoy them even when the circumstances aren’t perfect. Victoria is beautiful, it was my first time visiting and the second time for my wife and kids. And while Victoria is a lovely place to enjoy by walking around this was not feasible due to the heavy rain.
After checking in to hour hotel, we decided to go get something to eat in town. The rain was still coming down, so we drove to Chinatown, and after parking the car, we walked around some of the fantastic street alleys found in this area. The high walls and reduced space in the alleys protected us from the rain, and in no time, we were able to find a small but beautifully decorated restaurant.
Victoria also offers a range of historic buildings and museums you can visit, and when it is raining, these places are the perfect time to get to know more about the story of this city. One of the first places we visited was the Craigdarroch Castle, built by the coal baron Robert Dunsmuir between 1887 and 1890. This castle is kept in excellent shape, and the rooms are decorated with some of the original items from the first family who owned it and other items from the era.
Other places to visit around Victoria are the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, The National Toy Museum of Canada, the Royal BC Museum, and others.
Eating is also an excellent opportunity to learn more about the city, the story, and the great food available here. Just like in Seattle and in Vancouver, Victoria does not disappoint when it comes to diverse and delicious food.
Walk on the rain, it is pretty awesome
If you don’t feel like eating, visiting a museum or walking around old castle rooms, then step outside, after all, it is just rain. Wharf St. in Victoria offers an epic view of the city’s bay, the impressive Hotel Fairmont Empress, and many small shops and bars if you decide to stop and get away from the rain and enjoy a cocktail while you kids drink a delicious lemonade.
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