Underrated Escapes: Victoria, BC with day trips to Sooke Potholes Provincial Park and Port Renfrew

Uncover hidden gems with the Rand McNally team. This week, Steve, a Sr GIS Analyst shares his Pacific Northwest escape.

✨Victoria, BC with day trips to Sooke Potholes Provincial Park and Port Renfrew

The Vibe: A cool climate and stunning scenery await on Vancouver Island. Victoria's walkable downtown boasts museums, gardens, and a vibrant inner harbor. Explore by foot or bike, then escape to nearby parks with cascading waterfalls, towering trees, and secluded beaches.

When to Go: Late summer/early fall for pleasant weather.

How to Find It: Victoria, British Columbia is on the southern tip of Vancouver Island (Road Atlas page 118, bingo M-7)

Getting There: Take a scenic 90-minute ferry ride from Port Angeles, WA, spotting whales along the way. Victoria is also accessible by ferry from Seattle.

Exploring Beyond the City: Discover true hidden gems in nearby provincial parks and villages:

  • Sooke Potholes Provincial Park (50 min. west): Hike the Sooke River and witness unique glacial rock formations
  • Port Renfrew (1.5 hrs. west): Hike the easy Harris Creek Spruce trail or embark on a more challenging adventure in the "Tall Tree Capital of Canada." “There are many more to view, including the Red Creek Fir, the largest in the world,” says Steve, “however, be warned these are longer more difficult hikes, requiring 4-wheel drive and will dust up your vehicle from all the narrow twisting logging roads that you have to drive to get to them. I’m a fan of tall, massive trees, and I wasn’t disappointed even after seeing the giant redwoods of California and Oregon.”

Why it’s Great: “This former British colony possesses a great atmosphere with interesting Victorian architecture and an inner harbor bustling with activities, says Steve. “The city is known for its gardens, so the landscape is full of colorful flowers. The waterfront attracts various street vendors and performers for good people-watching. The harbor is also home to several seaplane terminals. These seaplanes launch in and out of the harbor frequently for either destination or site-seeing tours. This was fascinating to this flatlander from Illinois to me since I had never watched planes take off from the water before.”

“The city is very walkable, especially if you stay at a downtown hotel. There was always something to see from the busy inner harbor to the landmark buildings like the Royal BC Museum and the Parliament Building. You always have your pick of fine dining restaurants, charming cafés, or street vendor food.”

Don't Miss: Witness the colorful houseboats at Fisherman's Wharf and indulge in local specialties. Keep an eye out for playful seals and otters.

Plan your escape! Spend a week exploring Victoria and its surroundings, or use it as a base for further Vancouver Island adventures.

Author: Rand McNally Publishing Team
Date:May 8th 2024