Hi friends!
Our summer vacation is officially over, but I haven’t gotten around to sharing the details from our summer trip to Vancouver Island, Canada!  It was a really fun trip–and it seemed to have a little bit of something for everyone–so I hope sharing the details of our trip might help someone else planning a trip to the area.  Plus it’s fun to look through all the pictures I took and pick my favorites!  I have so much to share with you!
We started our trip by flying to Victoria, Canada.  We spent the afternoon exploring Sidney Pier which is very close to the airport.   We saw the most sea life around the Sidney Pier–even jellyfish swimming in the water.  Very cool!
A few highlights from Sidney were visiting the Scratch Pad–this lovely little shop with lots of rocks and picking up some sea glass from the beach off the pier (It used to be a dump so there’s lots of glass on the beach).  There’s also a small aquarium in Sidney, but we passed on this one since we’d recently been to another aquarium). 
We started day 2 with a trip to visit the castles in Victoria.  Hatley Castle was so impressive from the outside!  We didn’t tour the inside and instead opted to tour the inside of the nearby Craigdarroch castle, which wasn’t quite as impressive as Hatley from it’s exterior.  Inside though the rooms were beautifully restored!
After the morning we spent the afternoon exploring downtown Victoria.   We visited the Parliament building and watched some street performers!
 
We also spent about an hour exploring Miniature World.  We thought the kids would love it–and they did!  We just had no idea how many displays they would have!  Totally worth the visit!
We finished our afternoon in downtown Victoria with a visit to  Chocolats Favoris.  They take soft serve ice cream and dip in in chocolate and then cover it with toppings.  So yummy and messy!
Day 3 was spent exploring Butchart Gardens and the Butterfly Gardens.  We made reservations to have tea at the Butchart gardens as well in their dining room, which was such a fun experience! 
 
Day 4 was spent exploring the BC museum and hanging out in downtown Victoria a bit more.  The BC museum had a really awesome collection–with great displays.  I highly recommend! 

On Day 5 we headed up Vancouver Island.  We visited the sand sculpture contest in Parksville.  I’ve never been to a sand sculpture competition and it was so impressive!  Such talent!

Next we headed to do some (easy) hiking.  We visited Cathedral Grove and Little Qualicum Falls.  The views were spectacular, the trails well maintained, and they were easy enough for my 5 and 7 year old to walk on their own.  Plus there were working bathrooms (and picnic tables at Little Qualicum falls–I’m just going to state that here because I wasn’t sure based off of reviews I read online).

Here are a few pictures of the falls. 
We’d hoped that we might have time to go to the Horne Lake Caves, but ended up running out of time.   It’s ok though!  We had a great time!  We finished off the day by driving up to Courtenay, BC, where we were staying. 
Day 6 was our last full day in BC.  We booked a fossil tour through the Courtenay Museum and spent the morning looking for fossils.  I can’t say enough about this tour…It was just soooo fun!  The kids absolutely loved it, and the guide was really wonderful. 

We spent a little bit of time at the beach, where the girls enjoyed looking for shells and crabs.  We’re used to California beaches, so I have to say that the beaches seemed more like lakes…so few waves!  I’m guessing that the western shore of the island would probably seem more like the beaches we are used to, but we never made it over to to that side of the island. 

That pretty much concluded our trip!  We drove back to the Victoria airport on Day 7and caught our plane back to California.  So much fun!!   Farewell Canada!  It was a fabulous time!

I hope everyone enjoyed this little peak into our family vacation!

Have a wonderful week everyone!

XOXO,

Jill

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