Top Day Trips from Victoria, BC

Victoria, British Columbia is a fantastic home base for exploring all that Vancouver Island and the Pacific Northwest have to offer. It is often cheaper to stay overnight in Victoria, compared to the expensive hotels in Vancouver and Seattle luxury hotels.

victoria excursions
"Day Excursions from Victoria, Canada"
Here are the top ten days trips from Victoria that are within a reasonable driving distance:

goats on the roof
"Parksville & Coombs"

Driving two hours north of Victoria will bring you to the scenic beach community of Parksville. Families can enjoy a day of relaxation on the city's sandy beaches, which are often home to international sand-castle competitions. Parksville also boasts an array of mini-golf courses, which offer hours of fun for the entire family, and it is the home of Canada's top rated spa, The Grotto at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort. Less than thirty minutes from Parksville, take a short drive to the Coombs Country Market, home to the infamous "Goats on the Roof." Along the way, consider stopping at Englishman River Falls.

salt spring island market
"Salt Spring Island Saturday Market"


There is no better way to experience island life than a visit to Salt Spring Island. Just a thirty-five minute ferry ride away, Salt Spring is the largest of the Gulf Islands. It offers a delightful mix of farms and artisans creating a wide range of local products. It is a culinary paradise with many locally produced items including honey, apples, cheese, wine, lamb, seafood, and bread among many others. For a relaxing experience, visit one of the island's lavender farms. All of these farmers and artisans come together in the weekly Salt Spring Saturday Market, held throughout the summer at Centennial Park.   

sooke day trip
"Sooke Rotary Pier"


The lovely small community of Sooke is within an hour drive of Victoria. It is the gate way to some fantastic hikes along rugged west coast scenery such as the Juan de Fuca Trail, East Sooke Park, and the West Coast Trail, a multi-day hike that begins at Port Renfrew. There are stunning west coast beaches such as French Beach. Couples and families can also take a dip in the cool waters at Sooke Pot Holes. Sooke Basin is a fantastic place to go kayaking or you could head to the Sooke Rotary Pier for some traditional west coast crab fishing.

gulf island cruise
"Gulf Island Ferry"


Many tourists and locals are unaware that you can board a Gulf Island Day Excursion from Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. The trips generally depart in the morning and make multiple stops in the Gulf Islands. Stops may include Saturna Island, Mayne Island, Galiano Island, and Pender Island. The entire excursion is typically around 3.5 hours. It is a fantastic and incredibly affordable way (less than $20) to enjoy a relaxing coastal cruise, while viewing magnificent west coast scenery.  Service is usually provided by the Queen of Cumberland or the Mayne Queen. Be sure to bring a picnic as food service may be limited on board.

cowichan day trip
"Cowichan Valley Wineries"


A short one hour drive from Victoria will bring you into the Cowichan Valley. It is home to many of the region's wineries and cider houses. But there is so much more to explore in the region with a variety of attractions to suit all interests and ages. From learning about First Nations culture to observing birds of prey, the Cowichan Valley will not disappoint. You can even take side trips to quaint villages like Cowichan Bay for lunch or a trip to Lake Cowichan where you can go tubing down the Cowichan River. Don't forget to ride the steam train at the BC Forestry Museum.

olympic national park day trip
"Olympic National Park: Hurricane Ridge"


Visitors to Victoria rarely think to head south. But just a 1.5 ferry ride away across the scenic Strait of Juan de Fuca is the small town of Port Angeles, located at the northern tip of Washington State. It is the gateway to Olympic National Park. Hurricane Ridge is a fantastic hike that offers stunning views of Mount Olympus, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and countless wildlife. Guided tours are also available.

chemainus day tour
"Chemainus Murals"


The quaint village of Chemainus is less than a 1.5 hour drive from Victoria. Known for its enchanting theatre and beautiful murals scattered throughout the town, it is the ideal place to unwind over a leisurely lunch. There are plenty of little shops to explore before taking in a show at the Chemainus Theatre.

nanaimo day tours
"The City of Nanaimo"


Nanaimo is the second largest city on Vancouver Island. It is home to stunning harbour where visitors can dine, go for leisurely strolls, fish for crabs, or kayak. Those looking for an unforgettable experience should try snorkelling with harbour seals. Nanaimo has something for everyone including beautiful hikes and even wineries and distilleries. If you want to experience local seafood or buy souvenirs, head down to St. Jean's Cannery. Nanaimo features unique culinary experiences and casual places to eat. Take a ride on the Protection Island Ferry to Canada's only floating pub, or visit a traditional English-style pub in a lush country setting. Fine dining is also available at the infamous Mahle House. Of course, don't leave Nanaimo without trying a Nanaimo Bar!

vancouver day tours
"The City of Vancouver"


The City of Vancouver offers the finest balance of natural beauty with the modern amenities and shopping of any major city. There are many ways for visitors to travel from Victoria to Vancouver. The most economical way is the 1.5 hour ferry ride aboard BC Ferries from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen. Public bus service is available on both ends to connect tourists from the ferry terminals to the city centres. Those who want a more exhilarating experience can jump aboard a helicopter or float plane for the thirty-five minute journey from harbour to harbour. In Vancouver, there are no shortage of activities from Granville Island to Canada Place and Chinatown. For culinary lovers, the city boasts some of the best Asian cuisine found outside of Asia. Don't forget to take a ride on the Fly-Over Canada experience!

butchart gardens day tour
"The Butchart Gardens"


Naturally, it is quite easy to fill any day in Victoria without even leaving the city. From the countless walking trails and historical attractions, to the wineries, craft breweries, and distilleries, filling time in Victoria is a delight for anyone. But for those that want to experience the city's two most popular attractions, there is no better day excursion than a thrilling three-hour whale watching excursion paired with a trip to the world famous Butchart Gardens. Save time and money by booking a combined Whales & Gardens package tour.

victoria bc whale watching
"Orca Whale Watching"


Darryl Wilson

I am an avid traveller, freelance writer, and hospitality management professional. I enjoy helping people see the world through travel by sharing my own experiences and knowledge. British Columbia is an amazing place that is just waiting to be explored. #ExploreBC

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