Weekend Getaway: Victoria, B.C.

If you’re looking for an easy weekend get-away, Victoria on Vancouver Island is just a short jaunt from Seattle, and offers a wide variety of options for filling your weekend. Of course, if you’re going in the winter, you’ll still probably be greeted with rain, but sometimes rain in a new city is just less annoying. Sometimes.

Victoria, B.C

Getting There

You have a few options for getting to Victoria, and it depends entirely on if you want your car or not. If you do not need a car, you can take the Victoria Clipper, which is a passenger only ferry leaving 3 times daily from downtown Seattle. It drops you off in downtown Victoria, so it is actually possible to rely solely on your feet and cabs if you want to ditch the car. The ride takes around three hours.

If you want your car, you’ll need to take one of the car ferries. You can either leave on the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes, which will drop you off in Sidney B.C. (about 20 minutes away from Victoria) or you can take the Black Ball ferry from Port Angeles, which will drop you off in the heart of Victoria’s downtown.

If you want to splurge on fancy (and beautiful) transportation, you can always catch a Kenmore Air float plane straight to Victoria’s Inner Harbor.

What to Do

Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf

Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf – This tiny and colorful dock village is a cute place to check out! There are food and drink options, including seafood at Barb’s Fish and Chips and tacos from Puerto Vallarta Amigos. There are also a few souvenir shops, kayak and SUP rentals, fishing boats, and the coolest houseboats. You are allowed to walk around and admire the floating houses, but a sign reminds you that real residents live there and to keep things quiet so try to keep your commentary on the down low. Please note, Fisherman’s Wharf becomes a bit sleepy in the winter with a lot of the businesses closing down.

The sleeping moss lady at Beacon Hill Park

The sleeping moss lady at Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park – This place is by far the best of the best when it comes to city parks. The park is huge and located on the shores of the Juan de Fuca straight. It’s COVERED with numerous ponds and fountains and a pride of peacocks. Yes, real peacocks ambushing your picnic! It’s the best. There is also some pretty incredible art at the park including the sleeping moss lady, who might win for best park art of all time. Can this place be any cooler?

Inner Harbor – The harbor is where the ferry boats dock when dropping off passengers, and it includes many streets that lead into the downtown area. This part of downtown is littered with restaurants and bars, and is a perfect place for afternoon shopping and souvenir buying. You can easily stroll it on foot and make sure to plan plenty of time for shopping and pub crawling.

It might be small, but Victoria is home to Canada’s oldest Chinatown

It might be small, but Victoria is home to Canada’s oldest Chinatown

Chinatown – Also located downtown, this Chinatown is extremely tiny (really just one street!), but a fun place to checkout and take a stroll down. There is a large red arch that welcomes you to the area and an ornate and beautiful Chinese public school in addition to groceries, shops, and restaurants. Despite it’s small size, it is the oldest one in all of Canada!

Eat & Drink

Bao – Located in Chinatown next to the public school, Boa is a delicious Asian fusion restaurant with a warm vibe. Everything on the menu is amazing, so we recommend getting the truffle ramen and a mix and match of all the boa. Wash it all down with some sake and bring a friend to help you split more dishes!

La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop

La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop - It might lure you in because it has the most instagramable floor in the city, but once you taste the tacos, you’ll forget all about your Instagram feed. All of their meat tacos have delicious flavor, but they also have an awesome selection of vegetarian tacos. We loved the hongos and the rajas con cream. And for the love of God, please order one of their fantastic margaritas with the spicy rim.

Pagliacci’s – Not to be confused with Seattle’s pizza chain of the same name, Victoria’s Pagliacci’s is a cozy and fun Italian joint that has been around since 1979. They have a large menu featuring a variety of pasta dishes plus seafood and steaks and soft focaccia bread! They also have free music from 8-10pm nightly.

Victoria Public Market – While pretty small, the public market is a great place downtown to stop in for some light shopping and a snack. There are currently around 13 vendors that make up this little market, and you can get your fill on tacos, teriyaki, sandwiches, waffles, pie and more!

Big Bad John's

Big Bad John’s - No city is complete without a bonafide dive bar, and Big Bad John’s has Victoria covered. It’s a self-declared “hillbilly” bar that opened in 1962 where country music is played, stiff drinks are poured, and you can throw peanut shells on the floor. The walls are covered in dollar bills, interesting art, and the occasional bra or two. It has everything you want in a dive bar and is a great place to get your night started, people watch, or drown your sorrows in a dark corner.

What else do you love about Victoria? We feel like we have barely scratched the surface, and we can’t wait to go back and explore more!

Our 5 Favorite Travel Blogs

We love to travel. We live to travel. It's a basic need that we must fulfill at this point. Today we wanted to share some of the blogs that inspire and help us with these endeavors. So, besides the obvious one, Rain or Shine Guides, the worlds best travel guide to all that is the PNW, here are our favorite travel writers! 

This American Girl

Camille Willemain is a female travel writer who has amazing travel advice for places like Costa Rica, India, and countries in Southeast Asia. She also has a pretty cool perspective on life that we can appreciate. She, like so many, used to try to find happiness through material objects. One day she realized she was done with that lifestyle, packed her bags, and moved to Costa Rica. Boss move, Camille. Respect.

One of our favorite posts? This one on how not to get food poisoning while traveling. If you are a traveler with a sensitive stomach we recommend trying out her suggestion!

The Borderless Project

This blog is great for travellors who like to travel cheap and see things off the beaten path. They specialize in South America, but go other places as well! The creators, Megan and Henry, met at The World Cup in Rio, hit it off, and have been traveling and documenting ever since. They have a fun and honest way of writing that we enjoy and their videos are great too! 

 One of our favorite posts? This packing guide to Machu Picchu! We had a million questions when we went and this post covers it all! 

Trans World Expedition

This blog is no longer maintained, but for a year in 2009 Nicholas Rapp recorded his adventure as he drove around the entire world in his 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. His trip was unique and amazing in so many ways and it's fun to get lost in his archives. He breaks down his entire budget, how he outfitted his car for living and all of his adventure and mis-adventures along the way. He is now a freelance designer.

One of our favorite posts? We love his time spent in Africa for so many reasons. 

The Wanderlust Chronicles 

These two Aussie travelers are wonderful at photographing and giving tips and details of their travels ALL over the globe. When we decide where we are headed on our next trip, we always check out their blog to see what resources they might have for that particular location. 

One of our favorite posts? This one on driving the Great Ocean Road in Australia gave us some serious travel lust! 

The Everywhereist

To say we are envious of Geraldine DeRuiter's life would be an understatement. She is hilarious, smart, and gets to travel the world as her job because she is such an amazing writer. Her posts make us laugh out loud and her brutal honesty is so refreshing. It is one we bookmark and read consistently, we recommend you do as well; it's good for the soul! 

One of our favorite posts? The German in both of us pine for everything in this ode to Bavarian food post. 

Long Beach, Washington

When you think of beach towns you might be picturing tiki bars, sand volleyball, and a bathwater temperature ocean, but the beaches of Washington are, well, a little different. They are a bit more rugged, much colder, with fewer foam parties and spring breakers. They are wonderful and charming, though, and definitely deserve a visit (of course, if you want to order a pina colada at one of the restaurants and pretend like you are on a topical beach, by all means). We headed to Long Beach, WA for a little getaway and had such a good time in this quaint little town. It’s small and easy to get around and can definitely be handled in a long weekend. Below is our guide highlighting our favorite spots.

Where to stay:

Adrift Hotel – We love this eco-friendly lodge that sits right on the beach and the boardwalk. They rent bicycles to guests for free, have a cute restaurant with live music most nights, a game room with shuffle board and ping pong, and loads of board games and DVDs for your use. Also, it's dog friendly!

What to do:

Visit the beach – Long Beach has an 8 mile boardwalk that lines the beach. It is perfect for walking or biking and there are a few geocaches hidden along the way. It’s peaceful and pretty. You can also drive your car straight on the beach, which is great because you can easily bring all your beach supplies with you (beer! frisbee!). Long Beach is actually the world’s longest beach, so you have miles and miles to explore.

Cape Disappointment State Park - There are a lot of trails of different lengths throughout this park. We chose the Cape Disappointment trail, which is easy and around 4 miles long. It takes you to the lighthouse at the mouth of the Columbia River and past Fort Canby that you can explore. It's set up to give you history about the fort, and the mouth of Columbia is crazy and insane!

Marsh’s Free Museum – This wacky shop is filled with all sorts of bizarre knick knacks, tourist gifts, antique coin operated machines, a two headed calf, and Jake the alligator man. If anything, it’s good for a laugh.

What to eat:

Cottage Bakery & Delicatessen - THE BEST DONUTS ON THE PLANET. They are so good that we may or may not have stopped here twice. They are handmade, fluffy and out of this world.

Captain Bob's Chowder - get the smoked salmon chowder because, duh.

Laurie's Homestead Breakfast House – We love this little diner. It feels like the perfect place for breakfast when visiting a beach town…huge portions, delicious food and a lot of character. Insider tip: borrow bikes from Adrift Hotel and ride the boardwalk all the way down to the restaurant!