• Photo: Afearonwood | Dreamstime.com

Sidney

Sidney, short for Sidney-by-the-Sea, is an inviting seaside town just 30 minutes north of Victoria. Home to the Washington State Ferry terminal (vessels travel to Anacortes via the San Juan Islands), and just five minutes south of the BC Ferries terminal, it's worth a stop or even a weekend visit. The streets are lined with independent shops, including a wealth of bookstores—so many, in fact, that Sidney has earned a place as Canada's only official Booktown (www.sidneybooktown.ca). Sidney's parklike waterfront, which houses a marine ecology center as well as cafés, restaurants, and a wheelchair-accessible waterfront path, is a launching point for kayakers, whale-watchers, and ecotour boats heading out to explore the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offshore.

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