Every time I hear the song “Under the Boardwalk” I’m whisked back to the steps along the water in front of the Empress hotel where the buskers seem to play this song over and over through the summers of my memories in Victoria BC as a child.
So this summer when we returned to Vancouver Island with my husband and my kids and all my family for a wedding in Ucluelet my memories of being here together as a kid made this an extremely special reunion.
We took the Bremerton Ferry from Seattle and then drove up to Port Angeles where we had a reservation on a morning ride on the Black Ball ferry to Victoria. This ferry goes right into the Victoria harbor and into all the hustle and bustle of the city so it’s pretty amazing. It also has a really neat way of unloading and loading and we uploaded a Black Ball ferry song by Bing Crosby to play while we were in the car.
We were traveling electric and had to make sure we were charged enough to get from our hotel-the Victoria Regent-a suite hotel I booked on Expedia to our next stop in Parksville and we booked our hotel because we saw on plugshare that it had an electric charging station. Because electric chargers sometimes get “ICED” we always call ahead to make sure we can get a spot and the electric charging spot here was easy to use and spacious.
The hotel was also exactly what I wanted. We had a really roomy one-bedroom suite with a kitchen (this could use a little updating but it was clean so that is all that matters) and there was a food waste/compost bin which always makes my family super happy ( because every little bit of greening up the universe helps!) I loved all the windows and the patio to the outside.
I couldn’t find much info on the free breakfast before we got there, but it was substantial and we enjoyed the breakfast bars, muffins, fruit, yogurt and hard-boiled eggs with a fantastic water view.
We also found that the hotel had a great location. We could walk to the Empress where we had their famous tea (which was so easy to book on Opentable!) but still be near a great walking and shopping area that was away from where the tour buses go.
And it was easy to catch a water taxi and go for a harbor tour. We saw many seals and even a family of otters running along the shore. We were also there in time to watch the famous water taxi ballet and our driver asked if we wanted to watch it from our boat instead of on the shore and of course we said YES!
We found we could walk to some really cute restaurants and stores like Munro’s Books where we discovered some brand new Rupert books we have never seen in bookstores in Seattle and we stopped in at a store that sells adorable stationery called the Regional Assembly of Text. We barely used our car during our visit to Victoria because of how easy it was to walk everywhere!
We made it to the Victoria Public Market and tried some pie there but wish we could have eaten more there too! And I wish we could have spent more time in MEC. It’s changed a lot since we shopped their in college and it is like a candy shop for outdoors people. (Not me. My husband and kids.)
So thankfully we can always come back and I’m so excited for the memories my guys will have of this trip when they are my age. You can read more about the rest of our Vancouver Island adventures in a post I wrote for Trekaroo. Have you been to Vancouver Island with your family? What made your trip memorable for you and your kids?