Victoria, British Columbia
Nature & Adventure

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Our most recommended Victoria, British Columbia Nature & Adventure

Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

1. Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

View the spectacular British Columbia coastline by land and ship, followed by a stop at Butchart Gardens en route to the British-inspired city of Victoria. Board a BC Ferries vessel at Tsawwassen terminal for a 90-minute sail through the serene beauty of the Gulf Islands. Marine wildlife sightings from the outdoor ship decks are common, especially eagles, sea lions, and whales. Arrive at Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island and continue to the enchanting botanical paradise of Butchart Gardens. Wander through a series of themed gardens, highlighted by the massive Sunken Garden complete with dancing fountain. The city of Victoria boasts many impressive architectural wonders, including the iconic Parliament Buildings and the waterfront Fairmont Empress Hotel. Visit the unique shops and cafes of Government Street and Chinatown. Stroll along the Inner Harbour for prime ocean views, and enjoy some free time to take in this culturally significant city. Return on the bus to Vancouver by ferry to conclude this diverse tour. Packed with ever-changing experiences of the Pacific Coast and Vancouver Island, this tour is a must-do for those who have not yet visited Victoria.

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Victoria, BC: 3-Hour Ultimate Whale & Marine Wildlife Tour

2. Victoria, BC: 3-Hour Ultimate Whale & Marine Wildlife Tour

The waters off Victoria, British Columbia are known as the Salish Sea. Discover its wonders and rich marine environment with this ultimate whale and marine wildlife tour! Board a brand new high speed coastal explorer boat and set sail to look for orcas (also known as killer whales), humpbacks, harbor seals, California sea lions and over 127 species of marine birds!  Take a tour of the west coast aboard a luxurious coastal explorer, with two outside viewing areas and a fully heated cabin. Enjoy complimentary coffee and hot chocolate as you set off on an adventure to learn all about the local marine wildlife and important landmarks. From playful orcas to giant humpbacks, your experience is sure to be memorable. Discover the marine wildlife in the waters off Victoria with the help of marine biologists and learn about efforts to establish Victoria as a world renowned whale watching destination. 

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From Vancouver: Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour

3. From Vancouver: Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour

Meet in central Vancouver and take a 90-minute scenic cruise aboard the ferry to Vancouver Island. Sail through the Strait of Georgia and enjoy the scenery. Be sure to visit the outside decks as it’s not uncommon to see all kinds of sea life, including porpoises and whales. Arrive on Vancouver Island and first visit the beautiful Butchart Gardens. Explore this world-renowned botanical garden which was once a quarry, featuring the Japanese Garden, the Ross Fountain, an Italian Garden, and other floral displays. Continue the trip with a ferry ride to the city of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Discover the main sights of Victoria with your guide, starting at Mile O. See Ogden Point, Fisherman’s Wharf, Empress Hotel, and historic Chinatown, including the famous Fan Tan Alley. Later, enjoy some free time to explore on your own or book an additional optional activity. Your guide will be on hand to assist you with suggestions on the best restaurants, breweries, shops, and hidden gems. Relax as you cruise back to the mainland in the evening, arriving back in Vancouver at approximately 9:30 PM.

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Victoria: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

4. Victoria: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

This 3-hour whale-watching tour boasts sighting just about everything there is to see, including groups of predatory transient orcas and breaching humpback calves. Recently, a guest proposed to his girlfriend as a pod of killer whales cavorted in the background! Get suited up in a cozy cruiser suit, ensuring your comfort and safety for the duration of the trip. The tour departs from Victoria’s beautiful inner harbor. Your ride on one of the zipping Zodiac-style boats will be nearly as exciting as seeing the whales. Each of the boats seats 12, and there are great views from every seat. On the way out of the harbor, the boat passes the historic Victoria coastline. Once out of the harbor you’ll see a variety of different species of sea life, including orcas, humpback whales, grey whales, minke whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals, otters, and bald eagles. Every tour is guided by a Transport Canada-approved skipper, who will provide information and commentary on all of the wildlife you see.

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Vancouver: Floatplane Transfer between Vancouver & Victoria

5. Vancouver: Floatplane Transfer between Vancouver & Victoria

Make your way to Coal Harbour, part of Burrard Inlet near Canada Place, and board a seaplane to take you to your next journey in Victoria, BC. Located right along Vancouver’s iconic seawall, the terminal features a passenger lounge with panoramic views of Stanley Park and the North Shore mountains, a gift shop, and the fully licensed Cockpit Café. From Burrard Inlet, ascend for bird’s-eye views of the green towers of Lion’s Gate Bridge and the Brockton Peninsula of Stanley Park. Flying south over the Salish Sea, look down on a cluster of the Gulf Islands dotted with beaches, forests, and fields of gold and green. After 35 minutes in the air, your pilot will land in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Along the harbor, visit the majestic ivy-covered Fairmont Empress hotel and pass the BC Parliament Buildings which, at night, twinkle with thousands of lightbulbs. Victoria's floating terminal boasts some of the city’s best waterfront views and is located beside The Flying Otter Grill and its new extended outdoor patio (the Otter Deck), serving fresh west coast cuisine for lunch and dinner. This journey is also available in the opposite direction, from Victoria to Vancouver.

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Victoria: Carriage Tour by the Sea

6. Victoria: Carriage Tour by the Sea

Relax as you glide through the tranquil streets of James Bay, a diverse neighborhood that is host to unique shops and community. Feel a burst of fresh air before meeting the stretch of coastline along the Dallas Road waterfront. While following the coast, take in views of the Salish Sea and the magnificent Olympic Mountain range. Clip-clop back through the historical district of James Bay and enjoy an unforgettable horse-drawn carriage experience.

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Telegraph Cove: Half-Day Whale Watching Tour

7. Telegraph Cove: Half-Day Whale Watching Tour

After gathering at the Telegraph Cove Resort, you will embark on your 3-hour, fully-guided whale watching and wildlife viewing adventure. In true comfort and style, your crew will be excited to take you to Johnstone Strait, in search of the majestic wildlife that floods the local waters here in the summer months. You can take advantage of the opportunity to view killer whales and humpback whales in the wild, as well as an assortment of seabirds and other species of marine wildlife. The Ocean Magic II is a custom designed marine marvel, which combines the practicality of a semi-covered vessel with the speed and maneuverability of a Zodiac. With three naturalists on board and two different viewing elevations, this is the only purpose-built whale watching vessel of its size in the industry. Sip your coffee, feel the wind in your hair or keep cozy under cover while you explore the pacific northwest.

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Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

8. Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

Enjoy an extended 13-hour tour of Vancouver Island and Victoria, with return transfers from Vancouver or drop off in Victoria if you prefer. Once at Vancouver Island’s Swartz Bay on the Saanich Peninsula, drive by air-conditioned coach to Butchart Gardens and walk among the 50 acres of magnificent foliage. Then head to downtown Victoria, traveling through quaint Chinatown and the Inner Harbour. Take free time to explore the Inner Harbour, admiring heritage sites such as the Empress Hotel, the Royal BC Museum, and BC Legislature. Depart from downtown Victoria for your return journey to Vancouver in the late afternoon. Your return journey to the mainland will be on board a BC Ferry, where you can watch for whales, dolphins, sea lions, and other magnificent marine mammals. Arrival in Vancouver is scheduled for approximately 21:30, where you can be dropped off at your downtown hotel or disembark at the terminal.

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Family-Friendly Cheakamus Splash

9. Family-Friendly Cheakamus Splash

Enjoy a half-day rafting trip that features small splashy rapids, outstanding scenery and lots of laughs. It’s an ideal outdoor activity for families, children, seniors, and anyone looking for a gentle and fun scenic rafting adventure. As you raft down the glacier-fed Cheakamus River between old growth forests, you’ll experience the excitement of gentle rapids and see a variety of birds, wildlife, waterfalls, and the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains. Learn about the intriguing Squamish First Nations history, a key part of the history of the area. There will also be a water fight for the kids. Perfect the art of splashing others and get a chance to cool off with a quick dip in the pure, glacier-fed water. When your river journey ends, you will be taken back to the fully equipped rafting base where you can change back into your own clothes and enjoy the facilities at the resort including a full service restaurant and awesome fully-licensed outdoor patio area. Relax with your family and friends in the beautiful sunshine and comfort of the resort, and check out the photos and videos shot on your trip.

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Victoria Panoramic Seaplane Tour

10. Victoria Panoramic Seaplane Tour

Fly high above scenic Victoria BC and explore its beautiful scenery by seaplane. This thrill-a-minute tour will reveal a spectacular landscape and unforgettable aerial views. The Panoramic Seaplane Tour of Victoria will glide over the Olympic Mountains and along the Victoria waterfront to the white sand beaches of James and Sydney Islands. From here the tour heads north to the Saanich Peninsular and over the famous Butchart Gardens before returning back to Victoria Harbor. It is an experience not to be missed, especially if time is limited in Victoria and the photo opportunities just cannot be bettered. A fantastic day out for aviation lovers.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Victoria, British Columbia

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What people are saying about Victoria, British Columbia

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 434 reviews

The crew had clearly told us that the chances of seeing whales were very small, as they had hardly seen any animals in the past 14 days. But luck drove with us, after a few minutes 3 humpback whales appeared. Later other conspecifics came and even orcas, which came up to the boat. The crew always kept their distance to the animals. We received a lot of information and the crew took photos that we could download after the trip. So you didn't have the stress of taking great photos and you could just enjoy the sight.

Great experience, great driver with sense of humour but gray line west coast sightseeing tour is short staff and we could not contact them the day before departure. Overall excellent!

Very nice staff and expert driver Andre We managed to see the Whale Recommended

We enjoyed our driver, Hanna and the lovely Tommy. It was a special adventure.

Our tour guide Alex was fantastic. So friendly, funny and informative!