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Vancouver Tourism – Life’s a Beach on Vancouver Island

Craving a getaway, my husband and I decided to cash in our West Jet Dollars and $99 companion fare to take a quick trip to Victoria, BC. There was a tech career conference there that my husband wanted to attend. Did you know there are over 900 technology companies in Victoria, BC?

We arrived in Victoria a week ago Thursday. We stayed at  Harbour Towers, a conveniently-located, reasonably priced hotel that’s popular with families.  This hotel boasts a big gym (one of the largest I’ve ever seen in a hotel). The desk clerk told me the locals work out there for a fee. This gym had several bikes, treadmills, a full complement of both free weights and machines, a pool and a hot tub. Also of note is the well-appointed breakfast buffet. Complementary with your hotel stay, this buffet has both hot items (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns, pancakes or French toast) and cold items (bread, pastries, cereal, yogurt, granola, and fruit). We made full use of the kitchenette in our room for other meals and snacks. The cons: My husband found the bed a bit hard, the hotel could benefit from sound proofing, and the housekeeping lacked attention to detail.

Victoria was beautiful; the cherry blossoms were out, the grass was green, and the crocuses were pushing up from the soil. The gorgeous camellia bush was in bloom just outside our hotel. This bush, according to the hotel desk clerk, will bloom all winter – or what passes for winter on the Island.

Camellia Bush

Camellia Bush

We enjoyed meals at two restaurants. Nautical Nelly’s, right on Wharf Street, serves delicious local seafood. This restaurant has a non-pretentious, laid back vibe. We also enjoyed a local grass-fed burger and salad at bin 4 Burger Lounge, where as much food as possible is sourced from local ingredients and sauces are house-made. Bin 4 also has gluten free buns and other gluten free offerings.

We declared Saturday beach day. We drove to Qualicum Beach, a small town about a two hour drive one way from Victoria. Here are some other options for beaches a little closer to Victoria: 

Sunday dawned rainy and cool. We walked to Fisherman’s Wharf in the morning. There’s a collection of float homes at the Wharf. Float homes differ, I learned, from houseboats as a float home does not have a motor.

In the afternoon, we went to the Royal BC Museum to take in the 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Photography Exhibit.

We flew home this past Monday, grateful to have had a relaxing mini-break.