Hello spring! If you’ve been counting the days until the sun finds its way back to the Pacific Northwest, the first glorious days of warm spring weather are like a breath of fresh air. With billions of blossoms covering the city like a floral blanket combined with blue skies and lush gardens, there is no better place to embrace the season than the vibrant city of Victoria.

BOOK NOW:Seattle to Victoria Overnight Getaway for the perfect spring break escape!

Only a short, 2 hours and 45 minutes ride away from Seattle on the sleek, high-speed Victoria Clipper ferry, the city is springing back to life with a fair share of hidden gems to explore. Come out of hibernation and plan a fun family adventure with these nine ideas for spring break in Victoria, BC from Vancouver Island locals.

1. See Victoria, BC’s Gardens Blossom to Life

The Butchart Gardens' crown jewel, the Sunken Gardens are a sight to behold. Credit: The Butchart Gardens
The Butchart Gardens’ crown jewel, the Sunken Gardens are a sight to behold. Credit: The Butchart Gardens

As Mother Earth awakens from her winter’s sleep, there is no better place to get your flower fix than at The Butchart Gardens! Duck into the tranquil Spring Prelude Garden (open till March 17) to transport yourself to a tropical paradise. Then, stroll through the grounds to soak in 55-acres of swoon-worthy flowers as The Gardens shift into overdrive for the season.

Natasha Mills of Momma Mills proclaims, “The thousands of blooms at The Butchart Gardens always delight kids in spring and The Gardens have exciting attractions and a restaurant for families to enjoy.”

Put your little one’s drawing and scavenger hunting skills to work completing the free Family Discovery Walk guide from the Visitor Center. Bonus points for stopping by the Rose Carousel (the only one on the island!) for a whirl on one of the 30 hand-carved wooden animals and chariots.

The kids will love exploring the endless trails and pathways at The Butchart Gardens. Credit: Stacie-Bancroft
The kids will love exploring the endless trails and pathways at The Butchart Gardens. Credit: Stacie-Bancroft

Want more amazing blooms? Vancouver Island boasts an incredible network of gardens, almost hidden in plain sight. The type of gardens that leave you awe-struck by their beauty and diversity of design.

Rebecca Wellman, EAT Magazine Editor-at-Large, explains, “One of my very favorites is the gardens at the Horticulture Center of the Pacific (HCP). They offer a beautiful walk through the plants and flowers, special days of education and instruction. As an added bonus the fantastic restaurant Charlotte and the Quail is right on the property!”

Wellman continues on to say the gardens at Hatley Castle are also spectacular. She states, “They boast a rose garden, an Italian garden and a Japanese garden with over 15km of trails throughout the oceanfront property. Book a tour of the historic Hatley Castle and then grab lunch at the nearby Mychosen Café.”

The vast and exquisite Hatley Gardens are filled with hundreds of unique flowers and plants from all corners of the world. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria
The vast and exquisite Hatley Gardens are filled with hundreds of unique flowers and plants from all corners of the world. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

2. Stroll Along Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Now that the telltale signs of spring are starting to appear, there is something magical about wandering around town soaking in the vibe of the city. The beginnings of cherry blossom buds, the green leaves of crocuses and vibrant tulips pop out in stark contrast against roughly-hewn brick and stone buildings. It is simply spectacular.

Flowers burst to life on nearly every street corner in Victoria, BC. Credit: Scott Meis
Flowers burst to life on nearly every street corner in Victoria, BC. Credit: Scott Meis

Anna James, a local Victoria journalist, says, “I’ll go to Murchie’s on Government Street and grab a coffee or tea and stroll down to the Inner Harbour. As the weather warms up, Victoria starts to bloom, and it makes for good people-watching weather.”

3. Grab a Cup of Craft Coffee

Need to perk yourself up mid-adventure? The bright and brand-new Café 1891 is a great spot to grab an espresso or a tasty almond milk latte.

Cameron Giannotti of Rad World Travel says, “It’s a really trendy space, blending a modern aesthetic into a heritage building. The cafe also has really good coffee and a nice selection of pastries and desserts.”

Grab a chair in front of the stately Janion building and watch the world go by with your crew. Or get your beverage to go and venture over the Johnson Street Bridge for stunning, unobstructed views of the downtown core.

4. Spend the Afternoon in Beacon Hill or Cadboro-Gyro Park

Boasting a variety of vibrant plants and an amazing assortment of wildlife, Beacon Hill Park is breathtaking come spring. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria
Boasting a variety of vibrant plants and an amazing assortment of wildlife, Beacon Hill Park is breathtaking come spring. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

An oasis in the middle of the city, Beacon Hill Park is a must-visit if you want to immerse yourself in nature for an hour or two. Bursting to life with a sea of red and pink rhododendrons, purple crocuses, pale pink cherry blossoms and more, it is one of the most breathtaking spots in the city.

Laura Mitbrodt of Laura Jane Atelier recommends, “Check out the sprawling fields of Daffodils which makes for an amazing Instagram photo.”

Combined with free-roaming peacocks that call the grounds home as well as a full-on petting zoo filled with fluffy critters, the park is an animal-loving kid’s paradise.

Little ones can cuddle up with the friendly goats at Beacon Hill Park’s Children’s Farm. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria
Little ones can cuddle up with the friendly goats at Beacon Hill Park’s Children’s Farm. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

Ladena Racine of My Family Stuff adds, “My kids love visiting the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm during spring break. Petting the goats and checking out the pigs are hands-down their favorite part of the visit. After our visit at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, we usually head to the Beacon Drive-In for ice cream.”

Want an off the beaten path locale where the kiddos can burn off some of their excess energy? Look no further than the beachy Cadboro-Gyro Park in Saanich.

Racine mentions, “Gyro Park is always our favorite park to visit in the spring. The park is located on the water and has several classic climbing structures. My son loves to challenge himself on the large Ogopogo sea serpent.”

5. Shop the City for Vintage Gems

While it’s easy to get caught up browsing the gift shops near the Inner Harbour, there is a collection of well-stocked thrift shops and independent consignment stores a few blocks away begging to be discovered.

Score sweet finds and stumble upon hidden gem communities as you shop the streets of Victoria. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria
Score sweet finds and stumble upon hidden gem communities as you shop the streets of Victoria. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

Stop by LoJo’s Flavour Upstairs where you can find a curated selection of vintage and second-hand threads, shoes and accessories. Next, make your way to Duchess and Duke on Government Street for on-point fashion picks.

Wander down the street to Women in Need (WIN), for a treasure trove of high-quality and affordable curios. Whether you are looking for clothing, housewares, books, records or great art, you won’t be disappointed.

Looking for more vintage finds? Mitbrodt suggests, “Go to the annual Spring Vintage Fair at the Da Vinci Center. If you don’t make the one in the spring, there is also one in the summer, fall and Christmas.”

6. Kick Back on a Patio

Spring in Victoria means two things: the city coming back to life and the excuse to spend as much time outside as possible basking in the sun’s rays. Shake off your winter grogginess and soak in some much-need vitamin D at one of the city’s urban or oceanfront restaurants.

Il Covo's secluded garden patio is the perfect place to spend a quiet evening. Credit: Il Covo
Il Covo’s secluded garden patio is the perfect place to spend a quiet evening. Credit: Il Covo Trattoria

Wellman says, “It’s always a good day when patio season arrives in Victoria! Il Covo Trattoria in James Bay has the sweetest little garden patio where you can enjoy home-made Italian food and wine.”

Wellman continues, “Fort Common, in Victoria’s downtown is another great option. The spot offers a quaint brick courtyard to sit and enjoy and is surrounded by options for delicious food and drink. Keep an eye out for the new Boom and Batten, a new waterfront bistro opening spring 2019.”

7. Take a Hike

Have adventurous kiddos? Take them on a quick trek along Victoria, BC’s scenic trails. With no shortage of dense old-growth forests and accessible paths, the region is a prime spot for outdoor exploration.

Sue Fast, Editor of Island Parent Magazine states, “One Island hike that’s not only scenic but also kid-friendly is the 2km trail to Mystic Beach, just west of Sooke.”

Fast explains further, “Here, you’ll encounter small stream crossings, a suspension bridge and a descent down a felled and notched tree to the spectacular beach below. Once you’re there, cool off under a waterfall cascading from the sandstone cliffs or swing from a nearby rope swing.”

The change to soar over the sand is worth the trek to Mystic Beach. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria

Want a hike closer to the city? Racine suggests heading to the nearby Goldstream Provincial Park. Within a quick 25-minute drive outside of Victoria and home to dozens of bald eagles, it is the Northwest at its best.

She says, “One of our favorite hikes to do in the spring is at the Goldstream Trestle. This trail is 3km long and takes about 2 hours to complete round-trip. The hike up can be challenging but the views of the mountains and water from the top of the trestle on the train tracks is worth the work.”

8. Picnic at Saxe Point in Esquimalt

Nothing screams “spring!” like spending a warm day camped on a patch of green lawn at Saxe Point in Esquimalt. Get a head start on your summer tan or kick back, wiggle your toes in the grass and think of absolutely nothing.

Soak in stunning views of pennisula seafront from Saxe Point Park. Credit: Kevin Boyd
Soak in stunning views of pennisula seafront from Saxe Point Park. Credit: Kevin Boyd

Fast suggests, “Pick up delicious wrapped-and-ready sandwiches from Fol Epi for a DIY picnic. With a vast expanse of oceanside gardens, green grass and forested trails, along with access to sheltered beaches and rocky outcrops, Saxe Point is the perfect place to let off some steam. Don’t forget to bring a Frisbee to run off your lunch!”

9. Soak in Beachy Vibes in Sidney

Ever wonder where the locals go when they want to discover new and unique places in their own backyard? Your search ends here. A 30-minute drive outside of Victoria’s downtown core will land you in the charming seaside town of Sidney. Here, you’ll find the popular and family-friendly BC Aviation Museum as well as plenty of opportunities for ocean-side fun.

Fast recommends dropping by “Glass Beach.” She says, “This strip of sand and rock—and brightly-colored glass!—is at the end of Beacon Avenue, to the south and down the second flight of stairs. Bring a bucket for your treasures and be prepared to spend an hour or two sifting through the sand. At home, display your beach glass in a jar on a window ledge and let the sunshine through!”

Fast adds, “While you’re in Sidney, stop by the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea. You’ll find over 3,500 animals at the aquarium from over 150 species from the Salish Sea. If you happen to be there on the first Sunday of the month, stick around for Sea Shirt Sunday where you can create a one-of-a-kind fish printed shirt to take home. BYOT-shirt.”

Slippery anemones and bumpy sea stars at the touch pools at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea will keep the kids enthused for hours. Credit: Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea
Slippery anemones and bumpy sea stars at the touch pools at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea will keep the kids enthused for hours. Credit: Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

The return of sunny weather in Victoria allows this picturesque city to shine. Whether you’re looking to frolic through spring blooms, stroll along the tranquil Inner Harbour or indulge in some beach-time, it’s time to grab your friends, family and adventure partners to start planning some springtime fun!

Book Your Victoria Trip Now