Calgary comes to life in summer! While the city is brimming with exciting things to do, its close proximity to the Rocky Mountains means Calgary is an ideal base for both outdoor enthusiasts and city lovers looking for an adventure in the outdoors.
(+ Neighbouring Sooke)
Adventure, food, sun, sea, beer, people- if you’re on Canada’s West Coast, your trip will not be complete without a stop in British Columbia’s capital, Victoria. Whether you’re on a weekend getaway from Vancouver, hopping across from Washington or flying international, Victoria is a great place to find relaxation, exhilaration or both! We recently spent some time in this awesome city and got the inside scoop from our Locals. Read on for what to do, where to go and where to stay in Victoria, BC!
What To Do In and Around Victoria
To truly experience the magic of Victoria, we recommend getting outside with a Local who can share their secret spots and hidden gems on an Adventure in and around Victoria. The city has no shortage of things to do, but it’s the outdoor culture and natural landscape that make it a must visit destination.
Take a Kayaking tour
Vancouver Island itself is a great spot for sea kayaking, with plenty of bays and coves to explore around the coastlines of Victoria. With such peaceful surroundings, you’re in for a treat and could even get lucky spotting wildlife such as seals or orcas while out kayaking! For beginners, take a relaxed tour or an introductory kayaking lesson with a qualified guide. Yervana Local Aaron will supply everything you need including gear and kayak rental. If you’re looking to step up your paddling skills, use Victoria as a training ground with a kayaking skills clinic or even head out on a multi-day Adventure!
Hike Sooke’s Coastal Trails
Experience the West Coast wilderness in East Sooke- a premier hiking destination! Hike part of the West Coast Trail, along the windswept rocky shore and into a lush green rainforest. Head out with Yervana Local, Kristyn to discover hidden gems along this stunning trail, and take in the spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains while you enjoy a picnic. If you’re visiting during her favourite cafe’s opening hours, you may even get to sample one of the best ice cream sandwiches on around!
Go Rock Climbing
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Victoria that will allow you to explore the surrounding landscape, this is the adventure for you! Whether you have never climbed before or you’re an advanced climber looking for a local guide to show you around, a rock climbing adventure in Victoria will not disappoint. Yervana Local Aaron can create tailored Adventures, and to make your trip as smooth as possible, he’ll also provide climbing equipment suitable for the Adventure. Find a climbing course or guided Adventure suited to you!
Brew Your Own Tea in The Trees
Venture further outside Victoria to enjoy a day in Sooke Potholes Park. Located on the Sooke River, this is the 2nd largest river system on Vancouver Island. If you’re visiting during summer, the crystal clear waters will be hard to resist, so remember to bring your swimmers! For one of the more unusual things to do around Victoria, learn how to identify edible plants and pick enough to brew a pot of tea. Head out on an Adventure with Yervana Local, Ryan, to learn about Sooke’s rich history and landscape while enjoying your fresh pot of steeped tea and a handmade muffin beside the river.
Local Favorites: Eating & Drinking
We wanted to give you a quick breakdown of where to go when you’re in Victoria- or Sooke, if you make the stopover. Our Locals provided us with some of their favorite spots to hang out at for food or drink!
- This Italian style restaurant serves delicious dishes in a live music atmosphere. They don’t take reservations and there is often a line-up to get in, but it’s worth it once you sit down and begin to enjoy the experience!
- The Tapa Bar
- Make sure you bring a friend or two along with you as this restaurant serves Spanish inspired food designed to share.
- Bad Dog Brewery
- A craft, micro-brewery sitting in a remote location and ran out of a two car garage. A good way to end the day post-Adventure!
- Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery
- “We help adventurous connoisseurs rediscover an ancient libation with hand crafted meads made from our own Wildflower Honey. Our carefully tended beehives are put out to forage the wild flowers in [the] hills behind Sooke for the purest honey.” What more can we say? Yum!
- Road to Sooke Cafe
- With amazing cinnamon buns and Chagga coffee (mushroom coffee) this cafe offers both local and organic choices. Perfect for a pre-Adventure stop.
Explore local Sooke breweries on Ryan’s Boots and Brews Adventure
Where to Stay
Both Victoria and Sooke offer a variety of accommodation choices. If you’re interested in camping, there are some amazing campgrounds to set-up at. There are also interesting hotels and bed and breakfast spots to look into. Make sure you do some research before booking to ensure you get the best accommodation for your needs.
Private cabin rentals near Sooke. With its own network of private trails, you can look for humpback whales while you wander and eat your lunch!
How to Get Around
Getting to Victoria is easy! If you’re travelling within Canada/North America, the drive is scenic. Take the ferry across from Tsawassen just outside of Vancouver. Services run hourly, and with approximately an hour and a half of sailing, it’s a great opportunity to spot marine life. Check BC Ferries for up to date schedules and fares. And if you’re feeling like a treat, look into taking a float plane over! If coming from elsewhere, consider flying to YVR – the Vancouver International Airport – as this may be the quickest option. Once you arrive, there are public transit options, taxi cabs and car rentals to help you get to and from the ferry.
For those of you making the trip over from Washington, foot passengers can take a high speed catamaran across from Seattle to Victoria, or board at Port Angeles with a vehicle. Check schedules and additional ferry routes to plan your trip.
There are great public transit or car hire options available on the island. Many of our Locals will also be able to advise on best transport options if you’re not bringing a car over.
GUIDED CLIMBING ADVENTURES
Learn techniques required for your future climbing adventures and get coaching on your movement on the rocks. Interested in your first multi-pitch? Find routes around Victoria that could be right for you.
SEA KAYAK GUIDED TOURS
Single Day or multi-day trips throughout the Gulf Islands, Broken Group, Deer Group and more. These tours are fully outfitted and suitable for beginner through to intermediate skill levels.