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Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

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Raleigh, North...
posts: 52
reviews: 83
Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

Our family of 5 (kids 9, 4, 1) will be in Victoria for the summer. We travel frequently with the kids for long periods and we generally prefer to be in a condo in the middle of everything. We like to be able to walk to parks, playgrounds, restaurants, shopping, coffee shops, etc. so that we really feel like we've lived there.

We are looking for a rental in Victoria and have been focusing on the downtown area, close to inner harbor and Empress Hotel, but I would love some advice from those with knowlege! Is there a reason why we shouldn't stay right downtown for that length of time? Some have mentioned that we should try James Bay or across the harbor. I want to be able to walk downstairs to a restaurant, market, or coffee shop with the kids and be back at the condo quickly for naps if necessary.

We will have our car if needed, but will plan to use public transit as much as possible when walking is not an option. Given all this information, please feel free to punch holes in my current theories...

Thanks!

Dallas, Oregon
posts: 4,871
reviews: 264
1. Re: Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

The Regent hotel is right on the harbor, just a short walk from the Empress and across the street from lots of shopping and restaurant options. They have spacious 2-BR units that are just like being at home -- check to see what the long-term rates would be. We've stayed there, and at about a half-dozen other hotels in Victoria and, IMHO, it has the best location and accomodations of them all (Empress, Royal Scot, Chateau Victoria and others).

On one of our visits, with friends, we rented the 3-BR unit (owned at the time by Jacques Cousteau). There was plenty of room for 4 adults and 3 teens.

Edited: 6:47 pm, January 12, 2013
Victoria, BC
posts: 237
reviews: 54
2. Re: Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

There is so much to do in "greater" Victoria that it would be hard to stay in an area that is near to everything. On this site for Victoria - click on holiday rentals and there are many that have been rated by TA travellers.

However, I would stay downtown and go from there as there is a lot to do and see right there. Most are walking distance from the downtown area - there are nice walkways taking you in many directions in the vicinity.You can use the transit - it is very good and goes a lot of places - will take time in most instances. I would tend to use the car - then you can take a picnic - go at your leisure to many more places that transit does not go.

There is an exceptional information center right downtown on the waterfront too that is a must stop for any visitors.

There are many things to do with children downtown other than walking the waterfront and watching people/boats/ferries/planes.

http://www.hellobc.com/victoria - this site has loads of info on the whole island

http://www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca - the museum isn't just your usual museum, kids love it - there is so much interaction for everyone and all ages to enjoy

www.beaconhillpark.com - has a children's petting Zoo that is entry by donation and there are many ponds to feed the ducks, birds etc

http://www.bugzoo.com - all kids, all ages love this place - names speaks for itself

www.miniatureworld.com - another downtown fun attraction if you like miniature set ups - very well done

Everyone who comes to Victoria goes to the Butchart gardens and while you are out that way- go in to the Town of Sidney and take in the aquarium - www.oceandiscovery.ca - very child interactive and very well done - there is also a mineral world - www.mineralworld.ca - too for them to play/find rocks and prizes, then they can make jewelry or keepsakes if they wish after. I live here and my kids when they were younger loved to do this. Nice area for a picnic and walkway along the water also.

I know I have gone away from your initial question re accommodations, I am sorry - there is so much to do and see in our area.

Edited: 7:27 pm, January 12, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
posts: 3,006
reviews: 42
3. Re: Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

We stay in the James Bay area when we travel to Victoria. It's about 12 - 15 minutes on foot from the main Inner Harbour/downtown area. It's a mixture of hotels and residential and quieter than downtown. We took a 2-bedroom suite at the Royal Scot for a group a couple of years ago and felt that it was quite reasonable for a 2-bedroom.

However, the 12 - 15 minutes "on foot" estimate is really based on adult legs. I assume that you would have a stroller for the 1-year old. However, I don't think that a tired, and therefore perhaps a bit cranky, 4-year old, would want to do that walk at the end of a sightseeing day. While desirable for adults, the area would not meet the criteria you have laid out in your post - "walk downstairs to a restaurant, market, or coffee shop with the kids and be back at the condo quickly for naps if necessary".

I think that further along the Inner Harbour into the downtown area would be a better place to look. (Sorry, I cannot recommend a place since we prefer James Bay for ourselves.)

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 30,720
reviews: 38
4. Re: Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

Have you had a chance to look on www.vrbo.com for condo rentals in Victoria?

The Falls is getting some presence in Victoria. It's a new complex right downtown, on Douglas between Broughton and Courtney. Owners' Direct is a condo website as well:

www.ownerdirect.com/accommodation/victoria-bc

Raleigh, North...
posts: 52
reviews: 83
5. Re: Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

Thanks so much for all the great advice. I think we will be staying downtown and I will check out some of your suggestions that we have not already investigated.

@MuftiMixandmatch: Yes, we have looked at VRBO and others. We really like The Falls! It's one of our top choices....thanks.

@janisinbc: Thank you so much for the kiddie ideas. My oldest daughter will LOVE mineralworld.

Victoria, Canada
posts: 8
6. Re: Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

I grew up in and still live in Victoria.

Some options for out of town a bit ( about 15 minute drive) head to the West Shore. There is a place called Tumblebums which is a great indoor kinder gym for little ones. My 1 year old loves it. Right next door is Danielle's paint your own pottery where the older kids can pick a piece of pottery to paint and they will fire it in a couple of days. My 8 year old loves that. There is also the Rec centre ( on the bus route) that has a great outdoor adventure park for your older child (Wildplay).

Another 5 minutes past westshore area is a beautiful west coast walk in Coldstream park. You can take an easy the path along the river to the nature house. Not accessible by public transportation but worth the drive I think. I also agree with the other poster, don't miss the Royal BC museum and expect to be there a few hours at least.

Make sure you stop into the BC Transit building on Douglas and Gorge road or call the customer information line. They will help you get the right fare products for your stay and help you with routes for specific trips you want to take. Also if you buy day passes or a monthly bus pass (rather than using cash) up to 4 kids under 12 will travel free with you on the bus.

Hope you have a great trip

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 30,720
reviews: 38
7. Re: Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

If I may ....

I think there's a typo and should be Goldstream (Provincial Park) and it's a beauty.

goldstreampark.com/freeman_king_visitor_cent…

Victoria, Canada
posts: 8
8. Re: Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

I grew up in and still live in Victoria.

Some options for out of town a bit ( about 15 minute drive) head to the West Shore. There is a place called Tumblebums which is a great indoor kinder gym for little ones. My 1 year old loves it. Right next door is Danielle's paint your own pottery where the older kids can pick a piece of pottery to paint and they will fire it in a couple of days. My 8 year old loves that. There is also the Rec centre ( on the bus route) that has a great outdoor adventure park for your older child (Wildplay).

Another 5 minutes past westshore area is a beautiful west coast walk in Coldstream park. You can take an easy the path along the river to the nature house. Not accessible by public transportation but worth the drive I think. I also agree with the other poster, don't miss the Royal BC museum and expect to be there a few hours at least.

Make sure you stop into the BC Transit building on Douglas and Gorge road or call the customer information line. They will help you get the right fare products for your stay and help you with routes for specific trips you want to take. Also if you buy day passes or a monthly bus pass (rather than using cash) up to 4 kids under 12 will travel free with you on the bus.

Hope you have a great trip

Victoria, Canada
posts: 8
9. Re: Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

Yes autocorrect was incorrect. It is Goldstream.

Edited: 7:14 pm, January 16, 2013
Raleigh, North...
posts: 52
reviews: 83
10. Re: Summer in Victoria with 3 kids

Great information!! Thank you so much. I will check out the bus passes for sure and add these ideas to our "to do" list.

Can't thank you enough...