Victoria, Tofino, Vancouver & Seattle: A Two Week Pacific Northwest Travel Itinerary

I was just joking with my boyfriend that all I think about is food, clothes, sex & traveling. I spend a lot of time planning trips. Recently, it occurred to me that some of you might find it valuable if I shared successful trip itineraries. I realize not everyone has the luxury of free time; I don’t have as much of it as I’d like either, but travel planning is a passion of mine & easily shared, so here it goes…

Day 1 – Leave early & fly into Victoria on Vancouver Island. Rent a car for one week, which you’ll return in Vancouver. Spend the afternoon exploring Victoria. Stay at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouses.

Day 2 – Have brunch at Spinnakers (free if you stay), then hop in your rental car and head to Tofino. It’s a four and a half hour drive from Victoria. Plan for many stops along the way: it’s a gorgeous drive. Definitely stop in Cathedral Grove. We splurged on this little cabin on the beach in Tofino, but there are plenty of other places to choose from.

Days 3 through 6 – Unplug & explore Tofino. It was super rainy while we were there, so when we weren’t hunting down beaches and tide pools, we spent a lot of time in restaurants and bars. We really liked Wolf in the Fog, Sobo, Tofino Brewing Company, Shelter & the Tofitian Cafe. Speaking of rain, expect it. Tofino is the wettest place in Canada.

Day 7 – Drive back across Vancouver Island to Nanaimo. From here you’ll drive the car on the ferry – Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay north of Vancouver. Drive to Vancouver & return the rental. Check into a hotel. We stayed at The Burrard, which was a budget friendly option with free bike rentals downtown.

Days 8 through 11 – Check out Vancouver. Again, we got drenched while we here. The Capilano Suspension Bridge was fun. I really wanted to check out Stanley Park with the free bikes, but it was way too cold and rainy. We had great dinners at Ask for Luigi & The Naam. I wanted to eat at Bao Bei too, but we didn’t have enough time. Duchess Vintage was the shit.

Day 12 – Get up early and take the Amtrak Cascades down to Seattle. Unfortunately, a mudslide washed out the tracks while we were there and we had to take a bus instead, but the train ride is supposed to be epic.

Days 13 & 14 – Chill in Seattle. My good friend Evelyn lives there & she showed us a good time. We really loved Sun Liquor, Nacho BorrachoRistorante Machiavelli & Oddfellows Cafe & Bar. Fly out late & you’re done!

Timing is everything, so I should mention two things here:

  1. We did the trip in March. We froze & got soaked. And that might’ve been fun if we hadn’t just endured a cold, wet Northern California winter. Bad timing. If you’re coming from somewhere hot, it might be a really nice respite. The good news is that by traveling to the Pacific Northwest in March, we avoided a lot of tourist crowds.
  2. The exchange rate for USD to CAD is amazing right now, which makes it a perfect time for Americans to visit Canada.

We had quite a few snafus on this trip; it was by no means the smoothest. Along with the cold rain, a water damaged iPhone, delayed flights and the mudslide, I also realized my old Pentax K1000 doesn’t like moisture. I battled with a stuck shutter the majority of the trip before giving up on taking photos entirely. Below are the few I did get in Tofino. Don’t let my bad luck deter you. It’s a special place & I’m glad we went.

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