By Allison Tibaldi, Taking the Kids Correspondent
My family likes vacations with plenty of active outdoor adventures, such as biking and hiking. As a family of foodies, we’ve hit the jackpot when outdoor pursuits coincide with edible pleasures.
A recent trip to beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, hit the outdoor foodie sweet spot. We participated in casual outdoor adventures by day and dined on delicious cuisine each evening.
We enjoyed Victoria’s manageable size and backdrop of dramatic mountains and seascapes. Its natural beauty is joined by a wealth of gardens, perfectly manicured and lush with flowers that thrive in the temperate Pacific climate.
We stayed at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa. It is located just two blocks from the Inner Harbour, close to major attractions. Spacious rooms are loaded with luxurious amenities. We appreciated the big soaking tubs and yummy nighttime chocolates left on our pillows.
The public areas are equally inviting, thanks to extras like hot coffee and fresh pastries in the morning.
The enthusiastic staff is engaging, ready to help with whatever we needed.
The vibe is upscale yet it’s comfortable enough for parents to let their kids act like kids.
Complimentary Bikes and Curated Trail Maps
One of the best perks at the Magnolia Hotel are the brand new bikes available for guests to explore Victoria on two-wheels. With its network of paths and stunning views, Victoria is a Canadian cycling capital.
The Magnolia takes it a step further, providing guests with curated trail maps to help them discover specific aspects of the city by bike. We followed the Bikes, Beans & Blooms map and were guided to independent coffee shops and stunning gardens lush with flora. If you crave an immersive experience, these detailed maps are full of insider tips. We got caffeinated at Serious Coffee and explored the rose garden at Beacon Hill Park, with its resident peacocks strutting the grounds. The map made it easy to cruise around town feeling like a local.
Discover Tea’s Place in Victoria’s History
The Tea-riffic Trail map is another curated map that the Magnolia offers guests. Victoria’s tea culture is robust and deeply rooted in its history. Vancouver Island’s First Nations people traditionally used native plants and berries to brew medicinal teas. European settlers, many from the UK, brought their cherished teatime customs across land and sea.
Today, you can indulge in traditional English tea, sip trendy Matcha green tea or enjoy a cup in one of the island’s prolific gardens. The curated map guides you to the best teashops, so you may sip your way around town.
The hotel helped us book a guided hike with Hike Victoria. Friendly owner Mark Vukobrat will pick you up at the hotel and escort you to world-class scenery. We hiked one of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park’s trails. The moss-covered knolls, seasonal wildflowers, Douglas firs, grassy meadows and old-growth forest will nourish those in need of a visual infusion of nature’s bounty. Mark knows Victoria like the back of his hand and will select a hike that suits your family to a tee.
Victoria’s seafront location and proximity to prolific farmland provides a windfall of fresh ingredients and plenty of options for those who gravitate towards the fresh food scene.
We enjoyed our meal at OLO, where the menu overflows with Vancouver Island-raised beef, fish from local waters and just-picked produce from British Columbia farms. If you have not yet tried Vancouver Island wines, this is the place to do it.
To end each day, we sampled our favorite sweet treat, chocolate. We indulged in chocolate-covered ginger at Chocolatiere de Victoria and toffee-infused Empress Squares at venerable Rogers’ Chocolates. There are many chocolate shops scattered around Victoria so spin the wheel and get ready for a delicious bite.
For more information, go to http://www.tourismvictoria.com