Are you thinking about travelling to Victoria with kids?
Here are all the Best things to do in Victoria with kids to ensure you have an amazing family vacation in this British Columbian city.
Victoria, British Columbia is located on Vancouver Island in Canada. It is the capital of British Columbia and many travellers seek the warmer temperatures, ocean air, outdoor activities and history of this beautiful city in Canada. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Canada!
What You'll Find in This Post
- 1. Waterfront Harbour
- 2. Fisherman’s Wharf
- 3. Whale Watching
- 4. Butchart Gardens
- 5. Victoria Harbour Ferry Ride
- 6. Chinatown
- 7. Visit Oak Bay
- 8. Visit Craigdarroch Castle
- 9. Royal BC Museum & IMAX Victoria
- 10. Bastion Square
- Best Places to Stay in Victoria with Kids
- Map of Victoria Things to Do with Kids
- Other Ideas for Victoria Activities for Families
- Places to Eat in Victoria with Kids
- Victoria Travel Tips
1. Waterfront Harbour
The heart of Victoria is at the Waterfront and great for kids to explore as you walk around. Located close by are the Parliament buildings, which light up at night, and the beautiful Fairmont Empress Hotel. Walking around or relaxing with ice cream by the waterfront harbour is a fun way for you to get your bearing of the city and enjoy the amazing backdrop of the harbour with boats and the life of the city by the harbour.
There are many restaurants and walking paths all along the harbour. In the evening this harbour is the place to come, relax and enjoy the sunset in the city.
2. Fisherman’s Wharf
A fun place to take the kids with colourful houseboats that line the docks. This area is a short 10-15 minute walk from the Waterfront harbour along the water with great views. We loved this little area of Victoria and a must-see place with kids. Very cool!
You can check out the local boutiques, shops or walk by the ship point to see the large working fishing boats. They also have the Kelp Reef Adventures from here if you want to kayak around the harbour.
A great place to go for ice cream and sweet treats for the kids. Grab yourself a beer or wine and enjoy the outdoor patio seating on the dock and have lunch with great spots for fish and chips or fish tacos which were our favourite.
3. Whale Watching
If you are in Victoria you must go on a whale watching tour! There are a few companies that you can choose from and different options for what you feel the most comfortable with.
I highly recommend booking these before you go and in advance because these will sell out, especially on weekends or holidays. There is a limited number of boats that are able to go out so don’t be disappointed by not booking in advance!
We have been on the zodiac tour and really enjoy being out in the open to see these magnificent whales. It is definitely more of an adventure tour but good for the whole family. This is one of the main things to do in Victoria BC and it will not disappoint you.
You will also be able to get harbour views and views of Victoria from the ocean which is amazing in itself.
4. Butchart Gardens
Butchart Gardens in Victoria is a must see for families. These beautiful gardens are perfectly landscaped and offer a great way to spend part of the day. They offer great places for tranquility but also big enough that the kids can run and burn off some energy too! They have a carousel and typically kids activities going on, so check out their website for what may be happening.
Burchard Gardens is one of the things to do with kids in Victoria BC with kids that you must have on your list. It is truly amazing! Our favourite was reading all the names of the roses in in the rose garden. Even if you are not a flower person you will enjoy the views and walk through this garden.
They have a Japanese Garden as well, which we enjoyed the diversity of the gardens. They have great walking paths and good for strollers, toddlers or grandparents to come along with you too.
End your garden tour with some Italian gelato and look at these Italian gardens.
5. Victoria Harbour Ferry Ride
You can never go wrong with kids in Victoria to take them on the harbour ferry rides. These are little ferry boats which are fun for the kids to hop on and tour around the different areas and harbours. A way to criss-cross between the different areas of Victoria while getting a view from the water of the beautiful city.
There are 15 docking spots around Victoria’s Inner Harbour, which gives you all the great spots to go to in the main part of Victoria. This saved us a few steps and went from one end all the way to the other.
Our visit was during the summer of covid, so masks were needed during that time to get around. We loved the views of the harbour and if you aren’t going to take a whale watching tour this is a great way to get out on the water for a good price.
Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest one in Canada! The history is amazing in this small area and we felt like we were in another part of the world. A must visit with your family in Victoria is Fan Tan Alley. It is the narrowest street in Canada, less than a meter wide in some parts.
This is also a great idea for a free thing to do in Victoria with kids!
We also enjoyed hopping into the little shops and stores that are in the area and can be a great family activity in Victoria that lets you discover and retrace some historical steps in Victoria.
7. Visit Oak Bay
Another great free thing to do as a family in Victoria is to go spend part of the day at Oak Bay. We loved walking along the beach and the kids loved discovering all the wildlife and creatures in the ocean. We saw otters playing along the coast and little crabs in the rocks.
It is a great family thing to do in Victoria, and you can also go snorkelling, rent SUP boards or just relax on the beach. We also spent hours just watching the sail boats and fisherman come in to dock.
8. Visit Craigdarroch Castle
If you are looking for a bit of history go checkout and explore Craigdarroch Castle. Yes, they have a castle in the middle of the city and even driving by this place is really cool because it’s dropped in the middle of a family neighbourhood. Or should I say the neighbourhood was built around it!
This attraction also get very busy and only limited number of people in at a time, so book your tickets in advance at Craigdarroch Castle.
9. Royal BC Museum & IMAX Victoria
A great family thing to do in Victoria is to visit the Royal BC Museum & IMAX. They always have some great collections and displays on that are amazing for kids.
This is another activity that you should book in advance to ensure you get tickets. Check what is available and purchase through the Royal BC Museum.
10. Bastion Square
Bastion Square is an area that is pedestrian-friendly walkways and lets you explore the downtown by foot. Walk around, go around corners and you’ll be surprised by what you find. This is also a great place for some outdoor patio dining with usually live music or entertainment from street buskers.
They also have some local breweries in the area that are kid-friendly. A helpful tip, we usually bring some kids games or playing cards for time spent in at the restaurants.
Best Places to Stay in Victoria with Kids
There are some great options for staying in Victoria with kids, I would suggest on your first stay to try and stay close to the Victoria harbour if possible. It is a great place for easy walking and easily able to get to places.
- Fairmont Empress is amazing if you are looking for luxury and a taste of history.
- We stayed at the Embassy Inn, which is a great hotel located close to the parliament buildings.
You can also find some great options for VRBO located in the harbour areas too.
You can also consider camping in the Victoria area as well. These are some regional campgrounds in the area. During the busy peak season, I would highly recommend booking these in advance.
- Island View Beach Regional Park
- Jordan River Regional Park
- Sooke Potholes Regional Park
Map of Victoria Things to Do with Kids
Other Ideas for Victoria Activities for Families
Looking for other things for kids to do in Victoria?
- Hop On Hop Off bus is an easy way to get around and see Victoria if you only have a day and want to not drive anywhere. You can get your tickets here in advance and save yourself the wait.
- Rent bikes (or bring your own) and bike along the waterfront. A great family-friendly activity to do in Victoria.
- Go shopping around Johnson Street – there are fun little stores along the way. Our kid’s go-to shopping was Oscars & Libby’s for fun kid stuff. We grab them some games and then headed over to Market Square for some local brewery beer.
- Miniature World – Miniature world Victoria is a cool spot for kids with 85 miniature displaces of castles, circus, and more! Children love this place and a great place for indoor play.
- Butterfly Gardens Victoria – Victoria butterfly gardens are a jungle-like experience with flamingos, tropical fish, ducks, turtles, birds, and butterflies. If you have kids that love animals this would be a great family fun place to visit.
- Victoria’s Bug Zoo – BC zoo with over 50 species of live tropical bugs this is a great place for a family to visit if you have kids that love bugs!
- Beacon’s Hill Children’s Farm
- Horse Drawn Carriage Rides – Located by the Victoria harbour this is a nice activity to do as a family and get to enjoy riding through the city.
- Victoria Children’s Museum – Children’s Discovery Museum is a great spot for an indoor activity with kids on a rainy day.
- Victoria Aquarium – So many fun things for kids to do at this aquarium.
When we visited we had fantastic weather and could be outside for the entire time, so next time we will visit some of these places that would work great with kids for rainy or colder days. We always try to leave some flexibility with our activities to accommodate for weather.
Places to Eat in Victoria with Kids
All the restaurants in Victoria are kid friendly so my suggestion would be to try different places with different types of cuisine. Try a roof top restaurant to get views of the harbour, try pick up fish and chips and go sit on a bench and picnic style while you watch the boats in the harbour.
- Red Fish Blue Fish
- Barb’s Fish & Chips
- Nautical Nellies
- Il Terrazzo
Victoria Travel Tips
- Check out the Tourism Victoria website for the latest details on events, festivals and local activities.
- You can either fly into Victoria or travel by ferry. All ferry details can be found at the BC Ferries, you will arrive at Swartz Bay and then need to travel approx. 1 hour to get to downtown Victoria. They have bus services and shuttle services if you are not driving.
- You can book car rentals to be able to drive around the city and area too. If you are going to be making a road trip and exploring Vancouver Island I highly recommend booking your car rentals in advance.
- If you are travelling from out of the country be sure to have your Travel Insurance in order. You can find out who we always use for international travel and our review here.