Our next journey took us 2,700 miles through the Pacific Northwest. I absolutely love this part of the Northwest, and it marks about my 15th trip to British Columbia. We jetted quickly up to our first stop: Victoria, BC.
Victoria is the capitol of British Columbia on Vancouver Island. The South East part of the island is home to the city and ferries to Port Angeles (the US side just north of Olympic National Park) and to Vancouver. The island is a gigantic 12,000 sq mi.
The city has everything from chain retail to boutiques and amazing restaurants, provincial parks and acreage homes just 30 min from downtown, and over 10 microbreweries. The fisherman's wharf is home to shops, food, and these floating homes (not to be called houseboats, which are motorized).
- Stop by one of the local taprooms like Philips for tastings and pick up a map of the island's microbreweries.
- Ferris's Oyster Bar and The Fish Store on the wharf have buck-a-shuck oysters at happy hour.
- Spinnaker's is a brewery with a view, great food, and is Canada's first brewpub.
- Check out the ropes courses in the forests in Nanaimo.
- See the surfing with snow-capped mountains as a backdrop in Tofino.
Camping: Goldstream Provincial Park
We camped 30min from the city at Goldstream Provincial Park, which contends only with Snow Canyon State Park in Utah for the best park we've ever stayed at. It has 160 campsites, each with at least 100x100ft sites separated by dense, lush trees. It has two separate kids' bike tracks through forest obstacles, a playground, and boulder complete with a how-to on climbing!
My heart belongs in the mountainous temperate rainforest like this. I feel at home walking through the underbrush full of soft needles, and no critter worse than mosquitoes. While I also love the Sierras and forests in the South, none makes me feel as calm and peaceful as the PNW.
Goldstream has a ton of hiking up to Mt. Finlayson and lower trails following the Goldstream River.
If only this were our back yard!
One of the island's best attractions is Butchart Gardens, 55 acres of flowers and botanical gardens. They completely replant the gardens 4 times a year for each season, so there's always something blooming.
You're first greeted with the Sunken Gardens, the remains of what used to be a limestone quarry. If this doesn't take your breath away, you've only seen a fraction of the gardens. Japanese, Italian, Rose, and Mediterranean gardens await, along with Butchart Cove.
I leave you now with photos to inspire. I had been noodling on a quilt design that I'm putting finishing touches on, inspired by this springtime glory! Now to choose the fabric!
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