As Seattleites, we embrace the annual, magical transition to fall. The touch of crisp, cool mornings mixed with long afternoon light and golden hues. This PNW primetime window is the perfect time to squeeze in as many fun sunny weekend getaways as possible before hunkering down. And there is no better way to savor the season than with a quick and easy ride from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria, B.C. on the Victoria Clipper fast ferry.
Squeezing in a quick escape to Canada is a no hassle affair for those who are vaccinated, possess a valid identification and have ten minutes to fill out the ArriveCAN app. Departing direct from Pier 69, you’ll be treated to a less than 3 hour scenic fast ferry ride. Reserved seats by class, locally-sourced food and drinks as well as surrounding views of the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges await as you zip across the Salish Sea.
Across the border, a unique mix of Old-world charm and contemporary flair awaits. As does Victoria’s picturesque historic waterfront and easily walkable downtown. Whether you are seeking a quick escape from Seattle or looking for a new fun family weekend adventure, here are ten ways to experience fall in beautiful Victoria, BC.
Save on your Clipper ferry with a hotel package deal
A core part of your visit to Victoria is enjoying a stay in the heart of all the action. Luckily Clipper has done all the work for you and vetted a variety of great hotel partners. You’ll also save on your Clipper ferry when you book a hotel package deal, which makes for a no brainer. Whether you’re looking for a little luxe at the Inn at Laurel Point or Hotel Grand Pacific or wanting a bit of a budget deal, Clipper offers a variety of hotel options to suit your desired travel experience.
Soak in fall colors at The Butchart Gardens
Fall’s arrival distills down to two main things: vibrant, multihued foliage, and the excuse to unapologetically jump into crunchy mounds of leaves. When it comes to spotting Vancouver Island fall color, The Butchart Gardens are likely the first place that comes to mind, and for good reason. Japanese maples awash in scarlet and burgundy as well as brilliant yellow beech trees give The Gardens a glowing radiance as Mother Nature works her magic. Overnight and day trip tour options make for flexible trip planning when packaged together with your Clipper ferry.
Shop Victoria’s vast array of boutiques
Independent boutiques is the name of the game when it comes to shopping in Victoria. And they do it right. Whether you’re seeking out new seasonal threads at Still Life or Citizen, eyeing some new bling at Little Gold or sourcing some new handcrafted goods from Smoking Lily, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the burgeoning artisan scene in Victoria.
Be ready to brunch like a local
When it comes to brunch, Victoria does not mess around. Whether it’s breakfast all day at the Blue Fox Café, gourmet breakfast tacos at The Ruby or cinnamon pancakes from Jam Café, it’s tough to go wrong exploring the plethora of options around town.
Sip tea in a setting steeped in tradition
It’s no secret Victoria is home to one of the most fabulous tea scenes around, and when it comes to sitting down for a sumptuous sip, the Pendray Teahouse delivers. Rich wood accents, stained glass windows and antique furnishings will quickly remove you from the hustle and bustle of city life to enjoy a moment of pause.
Check out Victoria’s burgeoning wine scene
Unwind Up Island as you explore the region’s flourishing wine and balsamic scene on Cowichan Valley Wine Country Tour. The perfect mini-escape in your own backyard, Clipper’s exclusive wine-tasting tour takes you up the scenic Malahat Drive for incredible vistas of the Saanich Inlet and cruise under a canopy of multicolored maple leaves before descending into the heart of Cowichan Valley. Sniff, swirl and tilt your wine glass as you savor sensational sips at three boutique vineyards. Paired together with a stay at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel and you’ve got the plans for a magical girls getaway weekend.
Discover the past at Victoria’s historic sites
Featuring streets lined with 19th-century architecture such as the elaborate Parliament Buildings and not one, but two, extravagant castles (Craigdarroch and Hatley), you can head out in practically any direction in Victoria and take a walking tour of the city’s fascinating history. Helmcken House is located on the same block as the Royal B.C. Museum and from there, Ann’s Academy is just a hop, skip and jump away.
Pedal along Dallas Road waterfront
Perhaps it’s the cool breeze warmed by the afternoon sun prompting childhood memories, but there is something special about fall that calls for a fun bike ride. Pick up your wheels at the Pedaler (located directly across from the Clipper terminal) and whiz though a kaleidoscopic blur of glowing leaves in the James Bay neighborhood before making your way past the Breakwater. From there, enjoy a leisurely ride along Dallas Road chalk full of some of the island’s most stunning waterfront vistas back towards the Olympic mountain range.
Sample cider at a local watering hole
With the return of sweater weather, you will be hard pressed to find a better beverage showcasing the flavors of the season than a crisp, sweet frothy pint of apple cider. Head up the stunning Saanich Peninsula and sample this delicious brew at the source on Sea Cider’s beautiful piece of farmland where their cider apples are grown.
A short ride away from Seattle through the Salish Sea, the unparalleled destination of Victoria, B.C. is the perfect escape in your own backyard. The friendly Canadian city includes everything from historical landmarks, to stunning architecture, trendy boutiques and award-winning restaurants, all within a 20-minute stroll from the Clipper terminal. Hello, autumn adventure.
Ready to plan your fall escape to Victoria? Book your trip today at clippervacations.com.