10 fun things to do with kids in Victoria, British Columbia

Posted By Allison on Apr 26, 2016


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Hello!

Wondering what there is to do in Victoria, British Columbia with kids? We’ve got a list of fun local activities that you’ll love too.

We added one day in Victoria, British Columbia to our Pacific Northwest road trip last summer and it didn’t take long to figure out that we needed more time to see this beautiful city. We added an extra night and still feel like we just scratched the surface.

Victoria is a highly cultured city against a wild backdrop, so there is plenty of urban sophistication and outdoor adventure for families to choose from. I couldn’t help thinking that it would be a great destination for a romantic getaway too. Downtown Victoria is walkable and most of the attractions on this list are located within just a few blocks of each other.

10 fun things to do with (or without) kids in Victoria, British Columbia | tipsforfamilytrips.com | summer vacation | Canada | Vancouver Island | Pacific Northwest

The Butchart Gardens

If you know ANYTHING about Victoria, you have likely heard about The Butchart Gardens. They are world famous, absolutely beautiful, and you’ll probably enjoy them more than your kids.

However, there is plenty to keep kids happy. My children (ages 11 and 8) loved the carousel, gelato bar and having plenty of space to run and use outdoor voices. They thought the flowers were nice too.

The Butchart Gardens is located about 30 minutes drive from downtown Victoria and are open year-round. If you don’t have your own car, tours are available through Viator.com that include transportation and admission. Read my full post about The Butchart Gardens here.

Website: www.butchartgardens.com

10 fun things to do with (or without) kids in Victoria, British Columbia | tipsforfamilytrips.com | summer vacation | Canada | Vancouver Island | Pacific Northwest

Victoria Butterfly Gardens

Imagine an indoor garden filled with colorful butterflies in many shapes, sizes and varieties. They float through the air, practically pose for photos and occasionally land on your hat and clothing. Then add a few birds, turtles, flamingos, educational exhibits and a gift shop. That is the Butterfly Gardens experience, and it’s delightful.

Plan an hour or more to visit the Victoria Butterfly Gardens in Victoria. You’ll pass them just before you reach the entrance to The Butchart Gardens, so these two activities make a good pair.

Website: www.butterflygardens.com

10 fun things to do with (or without) kids in Victoria, British Columbia | tipsforfamilytrips.com | summer vacation | Canada | Vancouver Island | Pacific Northwest

Royal BC Museum

If you love learning about local history and culture when you travel, the Royal BC Museum is a fantastic way to spend a day in Victoria. It’s a top-notch museum that adults and children will enjoy.

I loved seeing the totems and learning about the First Peoples of British Columbia. My daughter loved exploring the life size gold rush town. My son’s favorite parts were the animal exhibits and playing the Theme from Star Wars on a 200-year-old piano.

The Royal BC Museum is located in downtown Victoria, a short walk from the waterfront. Read my full post about the Royal BC Museum here.

Website: www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

10 fun things to do with (or without) kids in Victoria, British Columbia | tipsforfamilytrips.com | summer vacation | Canada | Vancouver Island | Pacific Northwest

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf was my kids’ favorite place in Victoria. It’s a floating food court with lots of fun things to see and a playground just across the street. It’s a bit of a walk from downtown Victoria, but we managed it for dinner one evening. You can also drive or take a water taxi.

Website: www.fishermanswharfvictoria.com

10 fun things to do with (or without) kids in Victoria, British Columbia | tipsforfamilytrips.com | summer vacation | Canada | Vancouver Island | Pacific Northwest

Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park is a slam dunk if you’re visiting Victoria with kids. Its a huge urban park in downtown Victoria with playgrounds, picnic areas, gardens, beaches and a petting zoo. Look for the 4th largest totem pole in the world. It’s so big, you’ll wonder how it isn’t the tallest.

Website:www.beaconhillpark.ca

10 fun things to do with (or without) kids in Victoria, British Columbia | tipsforfamilytrips.com | summer vacation | Canada | Vancouver Island | Pacific Northwest

Go to the beach

You’ll find dozens of good beaches in Victoria and the surrounding communities. We stayed within walking distance of downtown Victoria (I think we were still in Beacon Hill Park) but found tide pools, rocks to climb on, driftwood forts, playgrounds, walking paths and a great place to fly a kite along Dallas Street.

Website: www.tourismvictoria.com/things-to-do/beaches-lakes

What to expect on a whale watching trip with San Juan Excursions | tipsforfamilytrips.com

Photo courtesy of San Juan Excursions

Whale Watching

Seeing orcas in the wild was on my bucket list, and on this trip we took an amazing whale watching tour where we saw two pods of whales meeting up for the first time in the season. It was such an exceptional sight, even our tour guides were beside themselves.

Three pods of orca whales, plus other species like Minke and Humpback are often seen in the summer between Victoria and the San Juan Islands. Several local companies offer whale watching tours from Victoria. Here is a list:

Website: www.tourismvictoria.com/things-to-do/whale-watching

10 fun things to do with (or without) kids in Victoria, British Columbia | tipsforfamilytrips.com | summer vacation | Canada | Vancouver Island | Pacific Northwest

Afternoon Tea

Victoria puts the “British” in British Columbia. You’ll find evidence of Canada’s British roots in many of the shops, restaurants and landmarks of downtown Victoria. Afternoon tea is served in several local restaurants, and at The Butchart Gardens, but you’ll have a hard time finding a grander experience than at the Fairmont Empress on Victoria’s waterfront.

Website: www.fairmont.com/empress-victoria/dining

10 fun things to do with (or without) kids in Victoria, British Columbia | tipsforfamilytrips.com | summer vacation | Canada | Vancouver Island | Pacific Northwest

British Columbia Parliament Buildings

Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and the British Columbia Parliament Buildings are where laws of the province are made by the Legislative Assembly. You’ll find this majestic structure on the waterfront in downtown Victoria. Free tours are available year round!

Website: www.leg.bc.ca

10 fun things to do with (or without) kids in Victoria, British Columbia | tipsforfamilytrips.com | summer vacation | Canada | Vancouver Island | Pacific Northwest

Unique dining and shopping

Victoria is a fun place for foodies and shoppers. It is packed with distinctive neighborhoods, unique shops and local restaurants. Wander through Victoria Public Market, Chinatown, or Fort Street.

We even got a kick out of shopping at the supermarket near our hotel. Though Victoria is a short distance from the U.S. border, many of the brands were new to us and it was fun to try a few.

 

These were our top activities in and around Victoria, but there are many more. Visit www.tourismvictoria.com for a full list of active, cultural, historic or natural family activities in Victoria, British Columbia.

Disclosure: Tourism Victoria assisted us with complimentary admission to several of these attractions for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

How else can we help?

Need a place to stay? We loved the huge indoor pool, full kitchens and spacious suites at Parkside Hotel and Spa in downtown Victoria. It’s located across the street from Beacon Hill Park, a block from the Royal BC Museum and within walking distance of the waterfront and Fisherman’s Wharf. Read my full review here. Check rates and reviews at TripAdvisor.

What to pack – Walking is the best way to get around downtown Victoria, and temperatures can be cool year-round. Don’t leave home without good walking shoes and jackets for the whole family! Buy at Amazon.com or Sierra Trading Post.

Do your children need passports? My children visited Victoria without passports. Find out when kids need a passport and when they don’t in this post: Does Your Child Need a Passport?

Victoria is just a ferry ride away from the San Juan Islands in Washington, U.S.A. Check out our tips for visiting the San Juan Islands:

Have a great trip!

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Allison
Hi there! I am the founder of Tips for Family Trips. I am a married mom of two children, ages 10 and 12, living near Salt Lake City, Utah. We took our first child on a two-week road trip when she was four weeks old and we have been traveling as a family ever since. We love to get out of the house to see and do fun things, both far away and in our own neighborhood.

5 Comments

  1. Victoria is such a great family and travel destination! I’m a bit biased living in Vancouver, but we love heading over to Vancouver Island for some relaxing island time, great food and the wide variety of things to do.

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  2. I was there briefly last year … really want to go back!

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  3. I wish we had time when we were in Vancouver to spend a couple of days in Victoria too. I really love this part of the world.

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  4. Love reading an outsider’s perspective on our fair island. Glad you enjoyed your time on vancouver island, victoria is a real gem!

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