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Jan Chernoff
Central Victoria Vacation
524 Yates Street, Victoria, BC
P: 866-932-5588
F: 1-877-208-4688

Blog on Victoria, BC 

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Sunday, June 2, 2013 - Victoria, BC - Romantic Couples Vacations, Return Visit

Romantic Couples Vacation Victoria, BC.

So you’ve decided to agree that Victoria, BC has to be one of the most romantic places in all of Canada and you and your loved one are planning another romantic getaway to the “City of Gardens.” Central Victoria’s Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) have many repeat guests, and here’s some fun ideas for couples to enjoy a romantic repeat weekend in Victoria BC.

This time I challenge you to experience Victoria by bicycle.

As I’ve stated before, I consider myself to be a travel buff and I like to get the most out of each vacation. During my last blog entry, I gave a short and sweet itinerary for first time Victoria, BC visitors, where walking hand-and-hand through the Inner Harbour and evening carriage rides were the main attraction. This time I want you to spend at least one day sightseeing and soaking up the English air with your mate by bike.

View Victoria BC - Bike Route in a larger map

Since you will be leaving from the Inner Harbour, I suggest you take Quadra St to Dallas Rd to the first destination, which is Beacon Hill Park. Here you can park your bike and walk the waterfront path and take in the majestic view of the Olympic Mountains and Strait of Juan de Fuca. The park has ponds, flowers and gardens, a cricket pitch and even a petting zoo. Summer evenings are open to live music. This is a great place for a couple to take in the beauty nature has to offer. Grab some ice cream at the Beacon Drive Inn at the corner of Douglas and Beacon Street on the west side of the park.

Next, ride your bikes east along Dallas Road to Clover Point Park to see fantastic view of the ocean.  Clover Point Park is a very popular destination in Victoria because of its stunning scenic views. Some notable things to see are the dormant volcano, Mount Baker, Sooke Hills and the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. The ocean waters, just off the Point are a hot spot to watch wind-surfing and parasailing enthusiasts. You may also see some cruise ships sailing by, but don’t get too complacent. There are few more stops I’d like you make before heading back to the Inner Harbour.

Follow Dallas Rd to the Ogden Point Breakwater and Lighthouse. Named after Peter Skene Ogden, the Breakwater is a culmination of roughly 10,000 granite blocks weighing over a million tons. Through the years, the piers at Ogden Point have been a ferry terminal, a fish processing and cold storage plant and even serviced by railway at one point. Today, horse-drawn carriages and helicopters operate from the piers.

Now loop back following Dallas Road northwest. Along the way back up to the Inner Harbour you may want to stop at one of the many public beaches to dip your feet in the sand and gentle ocean waves, take photos or steal a kiss from your traveling partner. Hopefully, you will have started working up an appetite because your next stop is the Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you’ll find numerous food kiosks and unique shops. Don’t forget to try the fish and chips! Stroll down the docks with your lunch and watch the various vessels unload their wares. Also, keep an eye out for seals. They will do cute tricks for a bit of raw fish. The retailers will sell you a bit especially for the seals. It’s a fun treat for everyone involved!

Finally, ride back towards the inner harbor towards your loft at Central Victoria’s Vacation Rental. There are quite a few places to rent bikes, like Cycle BC Rentals, located in the harbor. The visitor’s center will have simple map for you to follow on your biking adventure to experience the raw beauty of Vancouver Island’s biggest city.

Hungry after your bike riding adventure? Grab a pint and some food at the Bard & Banker Pub, with live music often and a short walk back to your VRBO accommodation. You’re sure to meet some other travelers and friendly locals to share stories with. Extra hungry? Make your way to Pagliacci’s Italian Restaurant to enjoy the always delicious food in ample portions, at reasonable prices in a vibrant atmosphere.

“Hippie Island”

If you want a really unique adventure, take a day trip on BC Ferry’s to Salt Spring Island. Weekends are best, but you’ll find this hippie island with plenty do see on any day of the week.  If you thought Victoria was on “island time”, just wait until you experience Salt Spring’s island time. With wineries, farms, local artisans, and beautiful landscapes, a couple can easily fill your day exploring this unique destination. There are options to continue your biking adventure, or rent a car and take the BC Ferry over. Ferries run every hour or two depending on the season, and you’re looking for the Swartz Bay (Victoria) departure to Salt Spring Island (southern gulf islands group). You can take the direct Ferry to Fulford Harbour to then drive through the scenic hills and giant treed island to where most of the activities are, or Long Harbour via the Pender Island route. For the best of both, go to Fulford on your way over, and return via Long Harbour departure. It costs an extra few bucks, but is always best to book your ferry online in advance to avoid the potentially long lines. 

It’s always hard to leave at the end of a relaxing, romantic adventure together as a couple, but returning home feeling closer to your partner makes the trip worthwhile.

posted in Travel Tips at Sun, 02 Jun 2013 08:36:46 -0600

Sunday, June 2, 2013 - Victoria, BC - Romantic Couples Vacations, First Visit Must Dos

The Heart of Downtown Victoria in the Evening!

As an avid traveler, I have to say that Victoria, BC has to be one of the most romantic places in all of Canada. The spring and summer weather is amazing, with warm temperatures mixed with a fresh sea breeze and flowers that have bloomed everywhere! Victoria is a dreamy vacation destination for couples.

Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada, Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest. Also known as the “City of Gardens”, Victoria makes the perfect getaway for couples.  I’ve tallied some of the best things to see and do, places to eat and where to stay that delivers stunning views of this picturesque city on your first visit to Victoria, BC.

First thing’s first. You need to drop off your luggage. I recommend staying at one of the VRBO Victoria vacation rental properties. There are two lovely heritage-modern loft condo units that are ideally located in the heart of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. You’re within walking distance of everything, so you and your travel partner will not have to mess around with figuring out transportation.

Inner Harbour

One of the main things you’ll want to see on your first visit to Victoria is the Inner Harbour. It is such an attractively scenic place for couples to stroll along the docks and walkway, hand-and-hand and take in the sights. Some notable places you should visit while in the Inner Harbour are the art displays, the Empress (afternoon tea is a memorable experience, fancy and romantic, but pricey), Parliament Building (free tours and beautifully lit up at night), street performers, restaurants, pubs, and retail stores. Skip the Undersea Gardens, it is unfortunately quite run down now and overpriced. If you’re looking for a casual seafood lunch, a not to miss is Redfish-Bluefish. Any of the restaurants along the lower wall of the inner harbour are a great spot to enjoy the sights and sounds of the boats from all over the world docked in the harbour too.

After all that walking you may want to rest your feet while still sight-seeing. You are Horse Drawn Carriage Victoria, luck because you can catch a horse drawn carriage from the Inner Harbour that will take you through Victoria’s James Bay. Snuggle in the carriage as it takes you past the Harbour, heritage homes, Beacon Hill Park, and more sights. This is a great place to take pictures or just soak up the magical views of the Juan de Fuca Straight and Olympic Mountains. These tours usually depart near the Parliament Building and can be done either during the day or under the magical stars during the night. This is a great way to cap off the evening before you head back to your VRBO loft where you’re sweet partner makes you a lovely dinner. Don’t feel like cooking? Then head to Il Terrazzo, a hidden little gem and a romantic spot to share a bottle of wine and amazing Italian fare. Located down Waddington Alley just behind the Leiser Building where you’re staying.

Butchart Gardens

If you enjoy nature and gardening or flowers, make your way over to Butchart Gardens. Now recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada, Butchart Gardens offers 22 ha (55 acres) of beautiful floral displays for all four seasons. In the summer there are nightly firework displays too! The most unique and special way to get there is by sea plane, with a boat tour a close second. If you're planning on going whale watching while in Victoria, Prince of Whales offers a tour that combines whale watching with a trip to the Butchart Gardens. You will board a Prince of Whales boat in Victoria's inner harbour where you will go on a whale watching cruise before being dropped off at the Butchart Gardens dock in Todd Inlet. After your time at the Gardens, you will return to Victoria by Cruise Victoria bus. You can choose what time you want to leave with the benefit of multiple departure times. The cost is $145 (+tax) during the off-season, and this option can be cheaper than doing a whale watching tour and Butchart Gardens bus tour separately. Believe it or not, you can even fly to Butchart Gardens! Harbour Air Seaplanes offers a tour from downtown Victoria to Butchart Gardens. You can enjoy a scenic flight over Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula before coming in for a landing at Todd Inlet where you will get off at the Butchart Gardens dock. You will return to downtown Victoria by limousine. Harbour Air offers a variety of tours, some which include dinner.


Want a bit more history and grandeur? Other enjoyable activities for couples include touring the 19th century Craigdarroch Castle, the attractions at the Royal BC Museum and you should definitely schedule a whale watching tour. So, whether you are booking a quick weekend getaway or a full week’s vacation, Victoria BC is one of the most romantic places for couples to enjoy one another and relax in the laid back vibe of Vancouver Island.


Like shopping? All the best shops are right out your front door of Central Victoria Vacation Rentals VRBO units.  Stroll along the various Yates Street shops for clothing, unique furniture, and more set amongst the restored heritage buildings, each with its own unique history. The Leiser Building where you’re staying was a former grocer, and various other merchant and shipping services scatter the area. Look for the plaques like th one on the right. Lower Johnson Street, known as "Lo Jo", is a district of exclusive fashion and design boutiques, just a block west downs the historic Waddington Alley.

Bastion Square is a unique shopping plaza with a rich history, once the site of Victoria's Court House, Law Chambers, a brothel and several hangings. Today it’s filled with all sorts of unique items, crafts, clothing, food and more by local artists. Their Sunday markets are best, and in the Festival of the Arts in the summer is great fun. Just across Government Street you’ll find one of Victoria’s best kept shopping secrets – Trounce Alley, filled with European fashions and gifts.


View Victoria BC - Shopping in a larger map

There is so much to experience in Victoria BC for couples with various interests on a romantic getaway. Once you’ve had a taste for what Victoria has to offer, checkout our blog post for your return visit adventure by bike! Happy travels.

posted in Travel Tips at Sun, 02 Jun 2013 08:03:59 -0600

Saturday, June 1, 2013 - Victoria, BC - Family Vacation - Repeat Visit Must Dos

Discover Victoria Beaches With Your Family!

Returning to a vacation spot with the family always comes with a lot less anxiety. You already know that the kids love it and so do you! Victoria, BC, Canada is one of those spots. In a previous blog, I recommended 5 attractions that are a major hit with first time Victoria BC family visitors.

This time, I will add 5 more places that your family will enjoy on your return visit and stay at VRBO – Central Victoria’s Vacation Rental condo units (in no particular order).

1. Open your eyes to the skies.

Travel to the outer edges of the galaxy by visiting the Astronomy interpretive centre at the top of Observatory Hill in Victoria, BC. Your family will learn interesting astronomy facts through telescope tours and shows at the multimedia theatre and planetarium.

Explore Our Galaxy

2. Get a little gross while being entertained. 

The guides truly seem to be the best part of the adventure at the Victoria Bug Zoo. Their upbeat attitude and wealth of knowledge for creepy crawlers is very inviting. African millipedes, scorpions, tarantulas and exotic insects will mesmerize you, but don’t worry they won’t bite. Another great reason to visit the Bug Zoo is that it will take less than 10 minutes to walk there from Central Victoria’s Vacation Rental Loft!

3. Pan for gold!

The Mineral World and Scratch Patch in Sidney BC is perfect for children that love collecting things, like precious gemstones, shells and rocks. You can even pan for gold and fool’s gold (pyrite) in two pools! Older kids will love the gift shop and geological displays. A day of learning has never been more fun.

Gold Piece

4. Enjoy exotic butterflies in person.

Another family-friendly gem that Victoria, BC has to offer is the Victoria Butterfly Gardens. Located nearby the Harbour in Saanich, the Gardens feature an indoor display of exotic birds, fish, plant life and beautiful butterflies. Transport your family to a lush tropical paradise. Make sure you bring your camera just in case a butterfly lands on your child’s shoulder.

Victoria Butterfly Gardens

5. If the weather permits, hit the beach!

Kids are thoroughly entertained making sandcastles and splashing in the water. Willows Beach is Victoria’s most popular beach and is a hit among parents because it has a playground and playing field for outdoor activities throughout the year.  Another popular beach in Victoria is Clover Point, along Dallas Rd. This beach is fantastic for watching kite surfers and flying kites.
If your children like road trips and you’re on the island for a week or two, heading up island for a few days to Parksville and Qualicum Beach is worth the two hour trip. The tide goes out for hundreds of meters, leaving hundreds of natural tide pools all over the dark sand beaches for kids to explore. I have fond memories of this from my childhood on the island, and it’s still great fun for all ages!

Victoria Beaches are Great Fun for All Ages!

There are a tonne of family-friendly things to do in Victoria for all ages and interests. The Tourism Board has an easily downloadable app to make the most of your visit on the go, or checkout our recommended videos including some recommended itineraries, or our Victoria BC Links page. Every time you visit Victoria, it will leave your family counting down the days until you can visit again and enjoy the city full of bustling family fun!

posted in Travel Tips at Sat, 01 Jun 2013 20:10:56 -0600

Saturday, June 1, 2013 - Victoria, BC - Family First Visit - Top 5 Activities

The Heart of Downtown Victoria!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled the world. In fact, I consider myself to be somewhat of a traveling connoisseur and am happy to give advice to anyone. My friends always ask me where my favourite child-friendly destination in Canada is and I always recommend Victoria, BC. In my opinion, it is the perfect getaway for families. Victoria offers great culture, activities, nature, food and exceptionally friendly people.

There are lots of natural wonders to Victoria, but where to begin? Travelling with a family can often be stressful, so finding accommodations that are centrally located to all the main activities and amenities, with room enough for a family, and at a reasonable cost can be critical to making your trip a success. Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) units are an ideal answer.  Central Victoria Vacation Rentals lofts are located at the heart of the Inner Harbour within walking distance of everything at fraction of the cost of hotels in the same area. You get more room, including a full kitchen to cook some meals when you don’t feel like eating out or just want to experience living like a local. The VRBO Vacation Rental units are operated by owners who travel just like you, so they are setup perfectly. One of our past guests explains, “Can tell you're used to staying in places yourselves, as your info book in particular was really helpful.” Now that you know where to stay, what should you do as a family on your first visit to Victoria, BC?

We’ve summed up the top 5 places to visit while on vacation as a family with kids in Victoria (in no particular order):

1. Be treated like the royal family.

The world famous and historic Empress Hotel is home to the Queen when she is in town and offers royal afternoon tea. The menu has options for Prince and Princess Tea for your little prince or princess, but they must be on their best behaviour. This is a very classy treat! It’s Victoria’s most exclusive, high class family attraction, so make sure you make your reservation two weeks out.  Afternoon tea can include scones with jams, fresh berries, tea sandwiches and pastries. Due to the exclusivity of the hotel and tradition, everyone must look the part. No flip flops, torn jeans or sweatpants. Dressing up is all a part of the fun!

Afternoon Tea

2. Learn more about British Columbia’s culture and history.

The Royal BC Museum is the largest museum in British Columbia! It is a wonderful place for families to explore Canada’s past and present. Spend the day on a guided or self-guided tour letting your imagination run free, but watch out for the life-sized woolly mammoth if you have small children. It may just be a bit too real! The IMAX in the museum is a great spot for educational and fun movies too. Don’t miss the tide pool exhibits, where the kids can touch real life star fish, sea cucumbers, and more wildlife found in the region.

Royal BC Museum Wooly Mammoth

3. Visit the animals living in Beacon Hill Park.

Voted one of the best activities for families in VRBO Victoria, this park is filled with so many marvels that will keep the family smiling throughout the entire visit! Beacon Hill features awesome playgrounds, ponds full of wild ducks that love to be fed, colorful peacocks and a Children’s Farm that has a seasonal petting zoo. Here, you can find miniature goats and horses, rabbits, pot belly pigs and more. Your kids will be delighted to feed them veggies and comb the horse’s coats. Beacon Hill provides an inexpensive day of fun for the whole family.

Petting Zoo at Beacon Hill

5. See the greatest little show on earth.

Located less than six blocks from Central Victoria Vacation Rentals is one of the most popular attractions amongst families, Miniature World. When you get arrive, it’s a requirement that you leave objectivity and any form of realism at the door. Let your family step into a world of childhood dreams and fantasy. The displays truly delight the young and young at heart. See photos from one of our past guests visit here.

Miniature World

6. Explore the ocean’s wildlife.

Whale watching tours are a unique experience if you’ve never seen these majestic, massive creatures in the wild. Season runs from May to October, and talk to the guides for the best time of day to give you the best chances of seeing whales. You’ll see sea lions and other wildlife for sure, but to see whales you’re best chances are to book a few days in advance and check their social media websites for Prince of Whales or Ocean Explorations for recent photos of sightings. The best option for families is the Ocean Magic Cruiser Tour through Prince of Whales as it is a larger 62 foot covered boat. If any in your family get motion sickness, be sure to take Gravol or we love those motion sickness wristbands you can buy at most any drug store. Our guest book in the suites has locations of the closest within walking distance.
If you travel for about half an hour up the coast of Vancouver Island, past Sooke, you will find beautiful beaches rich in history and ocean life. French Beach, China Beach, Mystic Beach and Botanical Beach are the best. These beaches are great for exploring, but not for swimming due to the large waves that come in from the open Pacific Ocean. Your family can wander the beaches for various rock formations, build sandcastles, picnic, and barbeque and watch out for nature’s finest wildlife.

Whale Sighting

 Botanical Beach

“My wife and I stayed in one of the suites last August with our infant son.  Being located so close to all the attractions was really convenient.  We were able to come back to the unit to refresh between outings.  The units themselves were spacious and airy; the internet connection was super and made it easy to stay connected.  The rooftop patio was really nice. I will definitely stay there again on my next trip to Victoria.”  Louis T. from Yelp review

We’re sure you will enjoy your stay as much as our past guests have too. View all the past guests testimonials and reviews on our website with links to the airbnb, Flipkey by Tripadvisor, Yelp and Google Places. We hope that you enjoy Victoria BC as much as we do, and that when you return for another visit with your family you try some of these adventures on our blog post for families on a return trip to Victoria, BC.

posted in Travel Tips at Sat, 01 Jun 2013 17:35:00 -0600

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