Trip Ideas

Victoria Family Vacation

Victoria is a top choice for family fun. Ride a double-decker bus, paddle kayaks in the Inner Harbour, learn about pirates, handle huge millipedes or see teeny-tiny miniature worlds. After all that excitement? Ride the harbour ferries and take some time out on Fisherman’s Wharf before setting out again.

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  1. Royal BC Museum
  2. Victoria Bug Zoo
  3. Maritime Museum of BC
  4. Fisherman's Wharf
  5. Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
  6. Galloping Goose Trail

Royal BC Museum

Royal BC Museum. Photo Credit: Canadian Tourism Commission

Visit the Chief’s house at the Royal BC Museum, explore a frontier town (complete with a train station and a movie theatre), and view ocean life from a Victorian-era submarine. British Columbia’s flagship museum boasts three floors of cool stuff, plus an IMAX theatre. And look for dinosaur footprints outside the main entrance – there’s no sign, so look hard.

Victoria Bug Zoo

Want to go face to face with an alien-eyed praying mantis? Make tracks for  the Victoria Bug Zoo. While there you can also pet a real 400-leg millipede, watch Canada’s largest ant farm at work and ask the resident entomological experts about fascinating insects and arachnids.

The Maritime Museum of BC

Visit the Maritime Museum of British Columbia to learn about the explorers, seafarers and even pirates that once sailed the seas. There’s even a canoe that sailed all the way around the world more than a hundred years ago, and a historic courthouse on the top floor.

Fisherman’s Wharf and Whale Watching

Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria. Photo Credit: Paul Thompson/Corbis

Access Fisherman’s Wharf via a quick ferry ride across the harbour. It’s a good place to meet harbour seals, have fish and chips on the dock, and check out the houseboats and fishing boats. You can even see Orcas in the wild on a whale watching trip from the Inner Harbour. Most tour boats have hydrophones (underwater microphones) on board to listen in on whale chatter, as well as naturalists to answer questions. Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals too.

Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

Shaw Ocean Discovery

Ride a (pretend) deep sea elevator, see glowing jelly fish, touch a sea urchin and watch the floor ripple like water at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, in Sidney near the ferry back to Vancouver.

Other Family Activities

Ride bikes on the Galloping Goose or Lochside regional trails. The trails connect and go all the way from Swartz Bay to Sooke. There are no cars and the trails are mostly flat, so the ride is super easy.

Younger kids can check out the tiny trains, castles and circuses at Miniature World, then head to the Beacon Hill Park petting zoo for a hands-on visit with baby goats. Hungry? The Beacon Drive-In is just steps from the park and features tasty ice cream treats that will impress both young and old. Burn off some energy exploring Beacon Hill Park’s playground – that giant watering can is a kid’s water park.


Sam’s Deli, in a cool old building near the Inner Harbour, has quick soup and sandwiches and huge chocolate chip cookies. At the Noodle Box everything from the Cambodian jungle curry to the kids’ plain noodles comes in little to-go cardboard boxes. Willie’s Bakery & Cafe has baked treats and huge pancake and French toast breakfasts. The kids may not like oysters, but Ferris’ Oyster Bar also has big burgers, sweet potato fries and a great kids’ menu, plus there’s a garden out back. Treats? The Soda Shoppe looks like an olden-days soda shop with cones, candies and sundaes.


Swans Hotel, a refurbished 1913 heritage building located in the heart of Victoria, has suites with room for up to six guests, plus fully equipped kitchens. The Hotel Grand Pacific offers family suites, complete with kid-sized bathrobes and amenities such as a 25-m/82-ft lap pool. The spacious rooms at the Executive House Hotel are just steps from Inner Harbour attractions.


Victoria's Inner Harbour

Food, play areas and video arcades, plus the occasional passing whale, make the 90-minute ride on BC Ferries from Vancouver just fly by. Or travel by float plane and enjoy a bird’s eye view from Vancouver to Victoria. Once in Victoria, it’s possible to walk or bike just about anywhere, hop a harbour ferry for stops around the water, or step aboard big double-decker buses, which are part of the regular transit system.