Victoria, British Columbia, located on the southern end of Vancouver Island, is a charming and vibrant city that offers endless opportunities for exploration. However, beyond the city limits lie some remarkable day trip destinations that should not be missed. Here are a few of the best day trips from Victoria BC that are worth your time.
First on our list is the Butchart Gardens. A quick 30-minute drive north of Victoria, this stunning destination is one of the most picturesque gardens in Canada. With over 55 acres of fragrant flowers, pristine lawns, and tranquil water features, the Butchart Gardens is a perfect place to spend a quiet and peaceful day. From the immaculate Rose Garden to the serene Japanese Garden, there’s something for everyone in this botanical paradise.
Explore Beautiful Butchart Gardens
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Victoria city, the Butchart Gardens is the perfect day trip destination. The Gardens are a peaceful oasis located about 30 minutes from downtown Victoria. With over 55 acres of stunning floral displays, the Butchart Gardens are a true delight for the senses.
You can explore a wide range of gardens at Butchart, each with its own unique character. The Sunken Garden is the centerpiece of the Gardens and was originally a quarry that was transformed into the beautiful garden it is today. The Rose Garden is also a must-see, with over 250 different varieties of roses in full bloom during the summer months. There are also Japanese, Italian and Mediterranean gardens to explore.
Beyond the beautiful flowers, there’s also plenty of history to learn about at Butchart Gardens. In 1904, Jennie Butchart started transforming an old quarry into a sunken garden, and quickly became a popular attraction for visitors from all over. The garden has since been passed down through generations and still remains one of the most popular attractions in Victoria.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll also love visiting Butchart Gardens. The Blue Poppy Restaurant located on-site, overlooks the gardens and serves delicious seasonal cuisine prepared with fresh ingredients from the gardens.
Whether you’re a plant enthusiast, history buff, foodie, or just looking for a peaceful retreat, a trip to the Butchart Gardens is sure to satisfy. With its stunning floral displays, rich history, and tranquil atmosphere, this destination is a day trip you won’t forget.
Discover the Charm of Sidney by the Sea
Just a short 25-minute drive north of Victoria lies the charming town of Sidney by the Sea. Known for its picturesque waterfront, world-class dining, and unique boutiques, Sidney is the perfect day trip destination for visitors and locals alike.
Here are some things you can do in Sidney:
- Explore the waterfront: Take a leisurely stroll along the beautiful waterfront walkway and soak in the serene scenic views of the Salish Sea. You’ll see boaters, kayakers, and even paddle-boarders out on the water, along with plenty of gorgeous marine life.
- Discover unique boutiques: Sidney’s main street is home to a variety of independently-owned shops, boutiques, and galleries. From hand-crafted glassware to one-of-a-kind jewelry, you can find the perfect souvenir or gift to take back home.
- Indulge in world-class cuisine: Sidney has a thriving culinary scene that showcases the very best of what the region has to offer. Treat your taste buds to locally sourced seafood or enjoy a gourmet meal paired with award-winning BC wines.
- Visit the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea: Learn about the region’s marine life and ecosystems at this fascinating aquarium and conservation center. You’ll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of sea creatures and even touch some of them.
- Take a whale watching tour: Sidney is a great place to embark on a whale watching adventure. You’ll have the chance to see majestic orcas and humpback whales up close, along with other fascinating marine life.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the sea or an outdoor adventure, Sidney by the Sea has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on this charming town’s many delights during your visit to Victoria.
Visit the Historic City of Duncan
Just a short drive north of Victoria, you’ll find the charming and historic city of Duncan, also known as the “City of Totems.” As you make your way through this quaint community, you’ll find a wealth of things to see and do.
Some highlights of a day trip to Duncan include:
- Duncan Farmers Market: Open every Saturday from 9am to 2pm, this popular farmers market features over 150 vendors selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts. Take your time to browse and sample the goodies on offer.
- The BC Forest Discovery Centre: This outdoor museum is a great place to learn about the history of British Columbia’s logging industry. You can see restored logging locomotives, vintage trucks, and other historic artifacts.
- Downtown Duncan: The downtown core is a charming mix of old and new, with heritage buildings housing unique independent shops, galleries, and eateries. Make sure to snap a photo with the town’s famous totem pole, which stands over 38 feet tall.
- The Cowichan Valley Wine Region: If you’re a wine lover, be sure to visit some of the wineries in the Cowichan Valley region surrounding Duncan. This fertile valley is home to over 25 wineries and is known for producing some of Canada’s finest wines.
- The World’s Largest Hockey Stick: Okay, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this iconic attraction is worth a visit for hockey fans. The stick is over 205 feet long, making it the largest in the world.
No matter what your interests, Duncan has something for everyone. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and beautiful surroundings, a day trip to this charming city is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of Victoria and immerse yourself in the laid-back island life.
Experience the Wild at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Looking to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Vancouver Island’s westernmost coastline? Then look no further than the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Located approximately three hours from Victoria, this spectacular destination offers rugged mountain scenery, pristine hiking trails and some of the most incredible coastal views anywhere in the world.
Here are a few reasons why the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is a must-see attraction:
- Spectacular Beaches and Hiking Trails – The Long Beach Unit of the park offers more than 16 kilometers of sandy beaches, perfect for walking, beachcombing, surfing, and picnics. The West Coast Trail is a 75-kilometer trek that takes you through a fascinating rainforest, along countless miles of rugged shoreline. Ideal for explorer-types and nature lovers, this journey offers up stunning scenery, wildlife, and marine vistas.
- Unlimited Outdoor Activities – Visitors to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve can enjoy a variety of recreational activities including kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, bird watching, and whale watching. Guided tours are available to help visitors learn about the abundance of flora and fauna that live in and around the park.
- Rich Cultural and Historical Significance – The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is steeped in rich cultural and historical significance. The land has long been the home of indigenous communities, and visitors can learn about the cultural traditions, beliefs, and stories of these First Nations through interpretive tours and exhibits.
- Opportunities for Relaxation – If you’re simply looking to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is perfect for you. Whether you prefer luxury beachfront resorts or cozy cabins, there are many accommodation options available to cater to your needs.
No matter your reason for visiting, you’ll find beauty, adventure, and relaxation at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Don’t miss out on this world-renowned destination.
Admire the Native Art at the Royal BC Museum
If you’re a lover of art and history, then you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to the Royal BC Museum during your day trip to Victoria, BC. One of the main highlights of the museum is its stunning collection of Native art.
The museum has been collecting and preserving Indigenous art since the early days of its establishment in 1886. Today, the collection spans thousands of years and includes everything from ceremonial masks to intricate carvings and stunning textiles.
As you wander through the museum’s Native art galleries, you’ll see works from many different Indigenous cultures, including the Haida, Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, and many others. You’ll learn about the symbolic meanings behind different pieces and get a better understanding of the role that art plays in Indigenous cultures.
One of the most impressive pieces in the collection is the Raven and the First Men sculpture, which was created by acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid. The piece tells the story of how the Raven created the first humans from a clamshell.
Overall, a trip to the Royal BC Museum is a must-do activity during your day trip to Victoria, especially if you have an interest in history or art. The museum is open seven days a week and is easily accessible by public transportation or car.
Here are some additional details about visiting the museum:
- Admission prices: Adults: $26.95, Seniors/Students: $18.95, Youth (6-18): $16.95, Family (2 adults, up to 3 children/youth): $69.95
- Operating hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm
- Address: 675 Belleville St, Victoria, BC V8W 9W2, Canada
Make sure to carve out a few hours to spend at the museum and fully immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of British Columbia.
Hike the Trails at West Coast Trail
One of the most thrilling adventures you can embark on while on a day trip from Victoria, BC is hiking the trails of West Coast Trail. This rugged and secluded area is located along the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island and offers some of the most stunning views of the Pacific Northwest.
The West Coast Trail is a challenging hike that covers 75 kilometers of rugged terrain and requires multiple days to complete. This hike is not for the faint of heart as it involves scaling ladders, navigating beach boulders, and crossing rivers. However, if you are an experienced hiker and up for the challenge, the rewards of this hike are numerous.
During your hike, you’ll have the opportunity to see magnificent sandstone cliffs, lush rainforests, and secluded beaches. You’ll also encounter an array of unique marine life and wildlife, including sea lions, otters, and bears.
While on the trail, you will stay in designated campsites along the way. These campsites offer basic facilities such as water, pit toilets, and food lockers. Due to the rough terrain and challenging conditions, it’s recommended that you pack for all weather conditions and bring plenty of food and water.
The West Coast Trail is popular among hikers from all over the world, and permits are required to hike the trail. The number of permits is limited, so it’s essential to plan ahead of time and secure your permit in advance.
In conclusion, if you’re an experienced hiker looking for a challenging adventure and breathtaking views, the West Coast Trail is one of the best day trips you can make from Victoria, BC. Just remember to plan ahead, pack appropriately, and be prepared to push yourself to your limits.
Relax and Rejuvenate at Sooke
If you’re craving some peace and quiet, head to Sooke, a picturesque coastal community about 40 minutes from Victoria. Here, you’ll find a range of activities to help you unwind, from beaches and hiking trails to spas and wellness centers.
Sooke is home to several stunning beaches, including Whiffin Spit Beach Park, a long, narrow sandbar that juts out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The beach offers plenty of opportunities for strolling, picnicking, and birdwatching. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a seal or sea lion lounging on the shore.
Another popular spot is French Beach Provincial Park, which boasts long stretches of sand and pebble beaches, moss-covered rocks, and towering evergreen trees. The beach is perfect for relaxing, sunbathing, or exploring the many tidal pools.
Sooke is surrounded by some of the most beautiful wilderness areas on Vancouver Island, making it a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. Some of the top hiking trails include the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, a rugged 47-kilometer trail that winds through rainforests, rocky headlands, and deserted beaches. The trail is divided into several sections, ranging from easy to challenging.
Another favorite among hikers is the East Sooke Regional Park, a sprawling wilderness area with over 50 kilometers of trails. The park features craggy cliffs, dense forests, and secluded coves, as well as breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
If you’re in the mood for pampering, Sooke offers a number of spas and wellness centers, where you can unwind with a massage, facial, or other soothing treatment. One of the top spots is the Sooke Harbour Resort & Marina, which offers a range of spa services, as well as access to a heated pool, sauna, and hot tub.
Another option is the Le Sooke Spa, which specializes in holistic treatments, such as aromatherapy, reflexology, and reiki. The spa is located in a peaceful forest setting, making it the perfect place to disconnect and rejuvenate.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach, a challenging hike through the wilderness, or a soothing spa treatment, Sooke has something for everyone.
Take a Ferry to the Gulf Islands
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of British Columbia is by taking a ferry ride to the Gulf Islands. With over a dozen accessible islands to choose from, it’s easy to find a perfect day trip destination or even an entire weekend getaway.
Each Gulf Island has its own unique charms, from pristine beaches to quaint artisan shops and galleries. Here are a few notable islands to consider:
- Salt Spring Island: Known for its vibrant arts community, farm-to-table cuisine, and outdoor markets, Salt Spring Island is a must-visit destination for any traveler to the Gulf Islands.
- Pender Island: This island is a popular destination for hiking, cycling, and kayaking, thanks to its rugged coastline and miles of picturesque trails.
- Mayne Island: With its lighthouse and picturesque village, Mayne Island is a favorite among history buffs and nature enthusiasts alike.
- Galiano Island: The closest island to Victoria, Galiano is a great choice for a quick day trip. Explore its secluded beaches, stunning ocean views, and scenic hiking trails.
Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, the Gulf Islands are the perfect destination for a day trip from Victoria. With frequent ferry departures and a range of activities to choose from, it’s easy to plan a trip that fits your interests and schedule. Make sure to pack comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and a camera, and get ready to experience the natural beauty of British Columbia!
Indulge in Wine Tasting in Cowichan Valley
If you’re a wine enthusiast and looking to indulge in some wine tasting, Cowichan Valley should be on your list of day trips from Victoria BC. Just a 45-minute drive away, Cowichan Valley is home to several wineries that offer wine tasting tours and breathtaking views of the valley’s rolling hills and vineyards.
One of the popular wineries in Cowichan Valley is the Unsworth Vineyards. You can experience their award-winning wines and farm-to-table cuisine in their tasting room and enjoy the view of the vines and surrounding countryside. You can also take a guided tour of the winery and learn about their wine-making process.
Another amazing winery is the Blue Grouse Estate Winery, known for its Pinot Noir and Ortega wines. You can enjoy their exquisite wines in their tasting room or out on their terrace, which overlooks the vineyards. They also offer guided tours that include a walk through their vineyards and a visit to their barrel room.
For those who prefer a more intimate and exclusive wine tasting experience, the Averill Creek Vineyard offers private tastings of their award-winning wines. You can also explore their vineyards on a guided tour and enjoy a picnic lunch in their beautiful outdoor picnic area.
Other notable wineries in Cowichan Valley include the Merridale Cidery & Distillery, Rocky Creek Winery, and Cherry Point Estate Wines, all offering unique experiences and some amazing wines.
So if you want to spend a day sipping wine in a beautiful valley, Cowichan Valley is the perfect destination for you. With its stunning scenery and great wineries, it’s a day trip you won’t forget!
You’ve explored several exciting day trip options in and around Victoria, BC, from galloping on horseback along vast coastlines to immersing yourself in nature’s beauty at Butchart Gardens. Whatever adventure you choose, you’re sure to have a memorable experience.
Here are some key takeaways from this guide:
- Victoria is an excellent destination for day trips, offering a range of activities to suit all interests.
- Some of the best day trip options include visiting Butchart Gardens, exploring the Gulf Islands, hiking in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, and whale watching.
- Horseback riding is a unique way to experience the stunning natural beauty of Victoria’s coast.
- If you’re more inclined towards cultural or historical experiences, Victoria offers several options such as the Royal BC Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, and the renowned Parliament Buildings.
- Finally, don’t forget to indulge in Victoria’s culinary scene, from the savory seafood to the locally-produced wine and beer.
With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to have an unforgettable day trip from Victoria.
Featured Image Credit: kavram