Victoria or Vancouver for family?

Apr 19th, 2011, 04:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 957
Victoria or Vancouver for family?

We have a day, yes, just one day to explore either city. We will be driving in from Seattle. We have not been to either Victoria or Vancouver. We are a family of 5. Our boys are 9,9 & 7. So I'm looking for something age appropriate for them.

We can either leave our vehicle in Seattle and take a day trip to Victoria, or take the car with and spend the night. Obviously we would spend the night if going to Vancouver. We are really open, but we do only have the one full day.

I think the boys would love a tour of a castle and maybe Buchart Gardens might hold their interest for awhile. They are troopers and don't complain, and they enjoy sightseeing. Anything else in Victoria?

As far as Vancouver goes, I think they would really enjoy the suspended bridge. Is the aquarium good? Ideas for our family if we choose Vancouver?

Which city would you maybe recommend? We are going to be there May 29.
vegasnative is offline  
Apr 19th, 2011, 05:26 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,456

(well, first, let me give you credit for providing all of the important details)

That is Memorial Day weekend, and as such, you should expect LOTS of traffic on the roadways.

Opting for Victoria automatically commits you to hours and hours of travel time (with no option for improvisation).

IF IT WERE ME... (and I live in Seattle and visit Vancouver often, and know the terrain on the mainland fairly well)

I would do whatever it takes to be leaving Seattle early enough to hit the border by 9am on that Sunday morning.

(do be sure that you have passports for everyone)

The Vancouver Aquarium is excellent, and surrounding Stanley Park is quite a nice chunk of nature in an urban setting.

(The Vancouver Zoo is nothing special, and perhaps overpriced, BUT since it is somewhat convenient to those driving up from Seattle, I might as well list it for consideration

You don't say where you're from... so I don't know how much everybody will get out of being/seeming in a 'foreign' land for a day.

Downtown Vancouver is exceptionally diverse, and there are zillions of things to occupy your time there... if you are so inspired, you can even drive a few minutes out of town, to the foot of a mountain, and ride a gondola car up the side of the mountain to find very cold temperatures and wintery conditions at the top. (

No matter what, and particularly on Memorial Day weekend, delay your return to the states until laaaaaaaaaaaate at night (I'd even say 10pm or later for crossing the border) rather than get there in early evening and spending as much as 2 hours in line.

The drive from the border to Seattle is 110 miles of all freeway (which, again, won't be so great on Memorial Day weekend)

I just looked at the Victoria Clipper website, and put in your data, and found the fare is $323 for your group.

Now admittedly gas is going to cost plenty no matter where one drives, but it might take 12 gallons total to get the group to and from Vancouver (add a couple more for sightseeing). The cost of the car doesn't count, since you are already renting it and would leave it doing nothing IN Seattle if you went to Victoria.

With your savings, you could take the group up to Grouse Mountain on the gondola.

In Victoria, you get 8 1/2 hours... and are committed to a sometimes dull ferry ride for 3 hours-ish each way.

Vancouver is so filled with things to see and observe, that the chance to improvise along your path is worth a great deal.

The freeway drive to Vancouver is a reasonable mixture of urban and green backdrop, and once you reach the border, you will see the North Shore Mountains in the distance as you approach Vancouver.

I'm voting for Vancouver vs. Victoria, but you should really put your mind to it to assure spending more time enjoying the surroundings vs. sitting in traffic.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Apr 20th, 2011, 04:53 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,632
I also vote for Vancouver. For one day the ferry would take up too much time. I dont know which castle you are talking about, do you mean Craigdarroch? When my son was that age and we went to visit castles in England he was just wanting all the ones with torture chambers etc. and I wanted the 'stateley homes'
Craigdarroch would be in the stateley home' crowd. Boys that age would be more interested in the Vancouver Aquarium than Buchart Gardens too IMO

The Aquarium, Stanley Park, Granville Island, Grouse mountain gondola, capialano bridge,....any or all of these would take up a day and be enjoyable for your boys and yourself.

I would leave the island for a time when you have a least a few days
live42day is offline  
Apr 21st, 2011, 01:16 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 957
Thanks for your replies. We actually live in Spokane. We are heading over to Seattle for Memorial Day weekend. We actually for it was Memorial Day weekend. We are taking our boys to the Mariners v Yankees game on Sat. When I realized it was Memorial Day weekend, and the boys have Monday off we said we would just stay until Monday. We were planning on coming home Sunday.

So, we will have our car and would plan on staying the night in Vancouver, and returning to Spokane Monday. But your making it sound like it could take awhile to cross the border? It is a 7 hour drive from Vancouver to home, with no traffic. Hmmm.

As far as being in a a different country for the day, yes our boys would love it. We just got back from Belize and they were enjoyed every second of it.

Yes I was referring to Craigdarroch, but I think your right, I think they would prefer the English castles, complete with dungeons.

Ok, so maybe I need to re think this. Maybe we will stay in Seattle. We haven't done a whale watching tour, that would be fun. Recommend any in Seattle? Is the aquarium there good? We have done the Ducks, space needle, music museum and zoo in Seattle. Looking for something we haven't done. What about Olympic National Park? Worth driving to?
vegasnative is offline  
Apr 21st, 2011, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,105
It takes 9.5 hours to get from Vancouver via Hope and Osoyoos BC and south through Omak, WA to Spokane. The border crossing would not be as busy on US97. It's only 15 miles farther but 2 hours longer drive.
tomfuller is online now  
Apr 26th, 2011, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 7
Victoria offers the wonderful Bug Zoo and Kids like Craigdarroch castle. There are alternative ways to get here. Drive to Anacortes and get early morning ferry to Sidney, see the Ocean Discovery Centre there and then come down to Victoria for aforementioned attractions. Drive to Port Angeles and take Coho ferry over. It runs frequently on the holiday weekend. You can leave your car in Anacortes/Port Angeles to save money. Use local buses in Victoria. Kids ride free if you buy a day pass, which you get at convenience stores. Bug Zoo is easy walk from Coho. Fish and chips at RedFish Blue Fish, out of a container where the sea planes come in!!! Maritime Museum--all great fun.
annemoon is offline  
May 1st, 2011, 02:52 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 117
I would vote for Victoria, way more compact - you can walk everywhere - and way more to do if it rains. Kids would like Miniature World and Undersea Gardens and there's always lots happening in the inner harbour.
madgicsh is offline  

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