Victoria is a very family friend city. While there may not be a Disneyland or an amusement park of any kind, there is enough variety in the city to find something to suit just about every family.  

 Family Friendly Activities

  • Visit Miniature World
  • Watch the Fireworks at the Butchart Gardens
  • Visit Royal BC Museum
  • Go on a Whale Watching Excursion
  • Go on a Zipline Adventure in Sooke
  • Go Mini Golfing at Blenkinsop Mini Golf
  • Walk through the Corn Maze or Ride the Train at Galey Farms
  • Visit the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney
  • Rent a Kayak or Canoe and paddle along the Gorge Waterway
  • Rent Bicycles and go on a family adventure on the Galloping Goose Trail
  • Take one of the evening Ghostly Walk tours of downtown Victoria
  • Take a tour of the harbour aboard Victoria Harbour Ferries
  • Take a float plane tour of the city
  • Visit Beacon Hill Children's Farm in Beacon Hill Park
  • Have a picnic or feed the ducks at Beacon Hill Park
  • Visit Craigdarroch Castle or Hatley Castle
  • Visit Fort Rodd Hill
  • Spend an afternoon at Thetis Lake or Willows Beach
  • Feed the seals at Fisherman's Wharf 
  • Watch the street entertainers on the Inner Harbour Causeway
  • Go shopping on Government Street or at the Bay Centre
  • Ride in a horse drawn carriage around James Bay
  • Take a hop on hop off tour to explore the city 
  • Go Berry Picking at a farm on the Saanich Peninsula

Family Friendly Hotels

Different families have different needs and that makes it difficult to define family friendly hotels. But the majority of families typically look for accommodation that is conveniently located, reasonably priced, and offers amenities to occupy their children such as swimming pools and internet. Often suites are preferred to accommodate larger families or families that desire a kitchen to save money on eating out. Another driver for families is complimentary breakfast.

Here are some examples of family friendly hotels in the city:

  • Travelodge Victoria - On the Gorge central to parks and leisure activities in a family friendly neighbourhood. 5 minutes from downtown & lots of value added incentives including free parking and internet, swimming pool, gym, and sauna. The prices are well below what you would pay downtown and you can even ride the harbour ferry from the hotel to downtown! 
  • Best Western Carlton Plaza - Right in the heart of downtown Victoria, offers suites with pullout sofas and kitchens. Generally priced lower than other downtown hotels but excellent service and value. They offer free bicycle rentals and bottles of water. 
  • Days Inn on the Harbour - It's great value for a harbour front location. There is a swimming pool and jacuzzi for kids.
  • Best Western Inner Harbour - Although rates are higher, the location is very close to Victoria's Inner Harbour. They offer a free breakfast and a swimming pool. 
  • Royal Scot Suite Hotel - This hotel is very popular with families because of their suites, unique identity and great location.
  • Queen Victoria Hotel - Offers great prices and is walking distance to the harbour and right beside Beacon Hill Park.
  • Ramada Victoria - Located 5 minutes from downtown on the Gorge. Rates are excellent and it is close to Gorge Waterway Park. Kids will enjoy the outdoor pool and video game arcade.

 Family Friendly Restaurants

What makes Victoria unique is the diversity of restaurants in the city. For a medium sized city, Victoria has an incredible amount of choice to suit every taste and even boasts the most restaurants per capita in all of Canada! The selection of family friendly restaurants is primarily based on price and the offering of a children's menu. 

Here are some examples of family friendly restaurants:

  • The Old Spaghetti Family (Downtown)
  • Smitty's (Downtown)
  • Red Robin (Suburban)
  • Boston Pizza (Suburban)
  • Denny's (Suburban)
  • White Spot (Downtown) 
  • Waterway Cafe (Gorge)
  • John's Place (Downtown)
  • Blue Fox (Downtown)
  • Red Fish Blue Fish (Inner Harbour)

Victoria also offers the traditional fast food outlets downtown including McDonald's, Subway, Tim Horton's, and A&W to name a few. There are also numerous 99 cent pizza outlets throughout the city and a food court in the Bay Centre.  If you're looking to do it on your own for a picnic or perhaps managed to book a kitchen suite at your hotel, there is a Thrifty Foods grocery store located in James Bay if you are located at one of the James Bay or Inner Harbour hotels. If you are located downtown, The Market On Yates is likely a more convenient choice. For guests on the Gorge, Fairway Markets is nearby.  

Family Friendly Dining Activities: 

  • Walk from Beacon Hill Park and over to the Beacon Drive In to try Victoria's best ice cream - it's creamy!
  • Head over to the Waterway Cafe and sample Victoria's best cheesecake with more than 100 different flavours!
  • Ride the Harbour Ferry to Fisherman's Wharf and eat fish and chips at Barb's Place or have an ice cream!
  • Pack a picnic and enjoy a family picnic in Beacon Hill Park, Butchart Gardens, or Gorge Waterway Park. 

Families on a Budget 

It's tough enough for a lot of families to pay for accommodation and transportation but then there's activities and eating out. All of these expenses can add up very quick in Victoria.  Here are some tips to save the family some money during your vacation....

  • Choose a mid-budget ranged price hotel. They offer much better value and far more freebies. It is nice to stay at the more expensive places but remember that not only will you pay more for your room, you'll pay for everything else including parking, internet, and local calls and that does add up quickly. Those are features that are often free in the mid-range brands.
  • Reserve a room with a kitchen. You may not want to make all of your meals but even just breakfast each day will save the family a significant amount. For the extra amount you pay for the kitchen, you will save much more in the long run. 
  • Stay outside of downtown Victoria! Victoria is a very expensive tourist city and if you go right to the heart of the action, you will pay the highest prices! But remember that Victoria is not a big city! Everything is either within a 15 minute walk or a 15 minute drive. If you stay on the Gorge, you will pay $20-$40 less per night and you get free parking! It's only a 5 minute drive to the inner harbour and downtown Victoria. You'll save a lot more by staying on the Gorge and paying for parking each day downtown which is a maximum $10 per day.  Here's the secret: Not only will you pay more to stay downtown but you will also pay $10 to park your car at the hotel so you don't end up gaining anything by staying in the action! Also, keep in mind how much time you will actually spend downtown remembering that a lot of attractions including Butchart Gardens, Craigdarroch Castle, Sooke, Sidney, Hatley Castle, and Fort Rodd Hill are located out of town. 
  • Take a tour of the BC Legislature. It may not be the most exciting for kids but the tours are free, the architecture is magnificent, and it is educational. 
  • Enjoy Victoria's numerous parks including Beacon Hill Park, Gorge Waterway Park, or provincial parks. They are free to visit and offer plenty to see and do for kids. Locals love the great outdoors and that's the best part of Victoria.
  • Visit Beacon Hill Children's farm - admission is by donation so it won't cost you an arm and a leg! Feeding the ducks is cheap too!
  • Feed the seals at Fisherman's Wharf. It'll cost you $5 for some fish and you'll get plenty of fun and photo ops out of it. 
  • If your family wants to go whale watching, WildCat Adventures is the cheapest in town. They offer a fun and educational tour. They don't offer a lot of frills like the other companies but you'll still get to see the whales for the best price in town!
  • If you want to explore the city, Victoria Harbour Ferry offers a hop on hop off pass with unlimited travel for 2 days. It's $30 per adult or $65 for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids. This is tremendous value for what you get! Not only does it work out to be much cheaper than the hop on hop off bus for a family of 4 but the harbour ferries also operate longer than the buses so you get to use your pass well in to the evening as well! Also, if you're staying at a hotel on the Gorge - you now have your transportation to and from downtown that even includes a tour along the way!