Ianiv and I have both been working long hours for the past few months. We’ve been juggling our work schedules with all the time spent with the kids and both of us are feeling a bit burnt out. Damien was not an easy infant and that really drained a lot of our personal reserves. Though his personality is easing up as he gains more independence, there’s always teething to deal with. Given that both of us are lucky to get an hour of break a day before attempting to get (too little) sleep, it was time we plan a vacation.
We considered Hawaii again. Mexico. A cruise. A cruise and a trip to Disneyland. None of it felt right. We knew Damien would suck on an airplane (he doesn’t exactly sit still, doesn’t nap in arms, and throws loud tantrums already). The easiest cruise would be up to Alaska and I don’t exactly want to go somewhere colder. So, after much deliberation it came to us – Kelowna!
I have never been to Kelowna, which is super surprising I know. Ianiv has been once, but as a teenager. We have always meant to go on a wine tour there, but for now we are mimicking our desire for an easy beach vacation somewhere far closer to home.
Yay, we’re going on vacation!
We are headed for a week to the amazing Cove Lakeside Resort in Kelowna, which boasts a private beach, pools and a fantastic 2-bedroom room we’ll be staying in. I am beyond excited – so, stay tuned for updates from our vacation!
Although this was not our first trip with Aiden, it was a different kind of trip to be taking as a family. Without beaches or parks integrated into our schedule, we played ‘tourist’ as best we could… with 2 kids. There are some things I learned about taking 2 kids to Victoria that I would perhaps change for our next trip.
We definitely discovered on this trip that our particular child is more into activities that involve physical activity than observation. While it may have seemed that a bug zoo would be interesting to a toddler, I think Aiden may have had a better time walking at a lighthouse or running around in a park. We tried to choose activities that had ‘a lot to see’ rather than ‘a lot to do,’ and I think our next trip would balance the two.
When we arrived in Vancouver, our hotel provided a great pamphlet on Family Friendly activities in Victoria. Our trip included visits to:
If I were to re-plan the trip, I would probably skip Butchart Gardens (until Aiden is not afraid of the carousel) and the Bug Zoo – instead, I’d find a local park for one outing and perhaps consider another outdoor-based activity that involved more walking.
Here are some other family-friendly ideas for Victoria – some we’ve done, some we want to do on a future trip!
Are there other family-friendly activities you would suggest for Victoria?
For our stay in Victoria, we stayed at the beautiful Delta Ocean Pointe Resort, just a 5 minute walk outside the city centre (across a little bridge or a water taxi trip). The resort is huge with a breathtaking view of the harbour. We had ocean view rooms with views like this in the day:
At night, the parliament building would light up, so that was even more amazing. Aiden loved to watch the float planes landing and the water taxis passing by.
We had two rooms at the hotel: one for Mom, Dad & Damien and one for Babby & Aiden. Each room came with a king size bed, two arm chairs and an ingenious desk/luggage rack. All of the rooms are very new and crisp looking after renovations earlier this year, so it felt very luxurious. Each room had some nice perks for the technology-savvy traveler including power sockets at the height of each side table, amazing wireless (we were able to stream tv from our home media server!) and an integrated section at the desk with power strip, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, audio. We were very impressed.
The beds were amazing – it made us realize we need a new mattress at home! As you can see Damien loved spending some playtime on our bed, though he slept in a crib supplied by the hotel.
When we arrived at the hotel, the kids were given gift bags, which is all a part of the family travel program they have in place. Each child was made to feel very welcome at the hotel, from the moment they arrived. In addition to the gift bags, the hotel provided a list of family activities in Victoria as well as at the hotel. We didn’t partake of the storytime at the hotel (it was too late for our little ones), but that was really neat to hear about. As you can see, Aiden also enjoyed some time in the hotel pool, which overlooks the harbour:
The only downside of the new renovations was the lack of a bathtub for the kids’ baths. As you can see, we made do; each child had his bath in the sink! And, though I often use hotel baths, I did enjoy the rain shower faucet in the extra-large walk-in shower.
Aiden slept on a little cot in the other room. He was very excited about his little bed and thankfully does not seem to remember that he fell out of it on his first night! He did well sleeping there the next night – without a nap, he didn’t toss enough to loosen his blankets.
We greatly enjoyed our trip to the Delta Ocean Pointe – it was the perfect location for us. The walk was completely doable and we even took the water taxi back one afternoon, so that was a nice extra adventure. Being on the other side of the harbour also made it possible to take a beautiful ocean-side walk to Spinnakers for dinner! We dined at the hotel restaurant for 2 breakfasts and 1 dinner – review of that to come.
Check out all our photos of the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort here.
Disclosure: we received a discount on both rooms; reviews are my own.
A little over a week ago now we took our first family-of-four trip to Victoria. It was a wonderful trip; it all began with a ride on BC Ferries. I have been riding ferries my whole life and quite actively too. We took many family vacations to Vancouver Island and Hornby Island; I also lived on Vancouver Island for many years (for Junior High / High School), so there were many ferry trips in my history. As many parents know, experiences are much different through the eyes of a child.
For Aiden, going on a ferry is the adventure; it’s not simply a means from point A to point B. We tried to approach our experience in that way. He was somewhat familiar with BC Ferries from his Sounds of the Ferry book, so he was very excited about the trip as soon as we told him what we were doing.
Aiden had fun playing on the playground at Tsawwassen before our trip (so nice that they have playgrounds at the terminals!) and was keen to visit the kids area on board the ship. We were one of the first to arrive in the area, so he had a few fun slides before it was swamped with kids. Unfortunately, I think he found the tv in the kids area distracting, as it kept him from playing further.
After a little picnic lunch, we explored the exterior of the ship and got some fun photos before the chilly day drew us back inside. All in all, the trip seemed faster with kids, which was unexpected. Aiden definitely considered the ferry a highlight of the whole trip!
Check out more of our BC Ferries photos here.
Disclosure: we received two one-way adult passenger fares from BC Ferries. Reviews are my own.
While enjoying our weekend away at Rockwater Secret Cove Resort, we were as much looking forward to our dining experiences as we were to the time spent relaxing in our tenthouse suite. Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time eating at White Spot as parents. We don’t often go out for dinner dates, so this was a real treat for us.
Wild mushroom & mascarpone ravioli with duck confit / Seafood chowder / Braised lamb shank / French toast with side of sausage
Though the menu at the Rockwater Secret Cove Resort restaurant is small, it offers the gourmet many choices for a wonderful experience. We took our time with both dinners, enjoying our way through 2 or 3 courses and most of the menu over our 2 night stay. I was most impressed by the seafood chowder, which was both generous with seafood as it was with flavour – love the addition of more vegetables. The ravioli was likewise melt-in-your-mouth amazing. I wish they had a second pasta on the menu, this one was so good.
All of our meals were cooked to perfection, even if I did have to order my steak well done (darn pregnancy!). The asparagus, so often overcooked, was the perfect crispness. The food all had a lot of flavour and came in quite decent portions. The chocolate torte we enjoyed for dessert was definitely both large and rich – I’m glad we decided to share dessert.
Our breakfasts were both great. Though the breakfast menu does not appear online, it offers a variety from the general variety plate to eggs benedicts to french toast. We’re quite grateful that breakfast was served until 11am – and that room service was available. I do quite admire the server who carried our breakfast, in the rain, all along the long path to our tenthouse – it arrived warm and delicious.
My most stellar recommendation for our dining experience was the staff – by far the best service I’ve had at a restaurant in many many months. Our servers were all very observant and attentive but without being overbearing. As with the rest of the staff at Rockwater, they talked with us about our stay and took a genuine interest in us. It was lovely.
Most of the other restaurants we looked into on the Sunshine Coast seemed to offer either a too-broad menu or just general dining options. Even if you don’t stay at the Rockwater Secret Cove Resort, we think you’ll find it your best dining experience in the area. There’s a reason we only ate one lunch off property in our 2 night stay!
Check out all our photos from our dining experiences and our stay here.
Disclosure: our first dinner at Rockwater was complimentary. We paid for our subsequent dinner the next night.