Where to Stay on Vancouver Island
I am going to start where left off on my Whistler guide. We had to take an 8 pm ferry from Horseshoe Bay (near Downtown Vancouver) because all of the other times were booked when I went to buy tickets. Make sure to BOOK YOUR FERRY TICKETS AS SOON AS YOU CAN. You can always go standby if you want try to catch an earlier or later ride.
BC Ferries is huge and has a restaurant inside that you can grab snacks or full on lunch/dinner in. We also got cell service the entire time. Troy and I just grabbed some hot chocolate and stood at the front of the ship the entire time. It was a bit chilly but the view was so beautiful we didn’t want to miss it! Since it was an 8pm ferry ride in July we got to watch the sunset during the ride.
We landed on Vancouver Island at 9:50pm and were already so tired. Then we had a 2.5 hour drive in the complete dark on roads we had never been on before. So many twists and turns as we went up and down a mountain and around a few lakes. We finally got to our hotel in Ucluelet at 12:30am. It was rough guys. If you have to taken an 8pm (or later) ferry ride then I would stay the night in Nanaimo and save your sanity.
Black Rock Resort in Ucluelet
This hotel is beautiful and super romantic. We woke up to the sound of the waves hitting the rocks and the most stunning view of the ocean. It was also super bright in our room around 6 am and there was definitely some loud cawing and chirping coming from outside. I wouldn’t have minded either if we hadn’t bene up so late! Again, just stay the night in Nanaimo if you can! I booked the studio room with an ocean view. Well worth the extra $. Don’t even stay at Black Rock Resort if you are not going to spend the extra money to be on the water. Tofino also has some amazing & cheaper options for hotels!
There is NO AC at Black Rock Resort, so be prepared to leave your door cracked in the summer to get some air in the room. We were comfortable at night with the balcony door cracked. Each room also comes with a fireplace that works as a heater. The studio room was actually really big with a kitchen area and a couch/living space. The bathroom was also really big! It was kind of weird because you don’t really get much privacy in the bathroom. There is a window from the bathroom to where the bed is that isn’t sealed so you can hear everything the other person is doing when they are in the bathroom!
We had breakfast at Black Rock the first morning and it was just OK. The pancakes didn’t really have much flavor. We also didn’t get a chance to check out the spa 🙁 so I cannot give a review on that. It did have a really cool bar near the lobby and tons of places to hang out and watch the waves. I bet it is soooo fun to be at that resort during a storm!
This resort is also a great place for Bald Eagle spotting! Troy saw a couple while we were there!
We woke up pretty late, had some coffee and then walked to breakfast. After breakfast we got dresses and headed to Tofino since it was Canada Day and we wanted to see what was going on around town. Tofino is a 25-30 min drive from Ucluelet.
Tofino was pretty fun but not much was going on. We watched an event at the skate park in the middle of town, walked around a bit, and then headed to the Tofino Brewery. Fun for Troy and not so much for me since I couldn’t drink! They did have Kombucha for those that didn’t want alcohol. It was the first taste I had of it and can’t say I really cared for it! Troy really liked all of the beer at the brewery though. Definitely worth a stop!
We stopped at Long Beach and Tacofino on the way back to Ulcluelet. It was wayyyy too windy to be at Long Beach. The sand whipped us in the face and we could barely see. From what we did see, there were tons of surfers out in the water and people sitting along the beach. I couldn’t believe it since I was freezing in my Winter jacket!! Tacofino was really good but not worth the wait. We waited in line for about 15 min and then had to wait over 30 minutes for the tacos. I think it was crazy busy because of Canada Day, so I would definitely make the trip to try the tacos out for yourself. We weren’t in a rush so didn’t mind it at the time.
We then had a romantic walk on the beach near our resort back in Ucluelet and then called it a night. We were exhausted!
We woke up late (again) and headed to lunch at Cedar Grill in town in Ucluelet. We got pizza and it was just OK. Nothing special.
After lunch we hiked the Pacific Rim Trail. It was so hard to rate any of the trails we did after hiking the amazing Joffrey Lakes. The Pacific Rim Trail was super easy to walk and you basically are just on the coastline the entire time. It was pretty, but it was the same view we had from our resort. I wish we had done a couple of the other trails around town instead. If you aren’t staying at Black Rock Resort I would definitely do this trail!
We went home, cleaned up for dinner, and tried to go to Norwoods right when it opened to get a table. Even 20 minutes after opening they were full for the next three hours. I think they basically only take reservations so make sure you get one early. I heard it is definitely a MUST in Ucluelet. We were so bummed but ended up having a great time at Howler’s Family Restaurant down the street. We were able to watch the World Cup and the food was really good! They also have an arcade and bowling alley if you are going with the family.
We woke up, had a cinnamon roll at Zoe’s Bakery in Ucluelet (yummy) and got back on the road. The drive from Ucluelet to Victoria is about 4 hours. I slept the entire way- my pregnancy was catching up with me and I was so worn out!
The Fairmont Empress Hotel In Victoria
We stayed at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria. It is such a beautiful hotel, but there isn’t really any reason for you to shell out $$$ to stay there. The public is allowed to walk around inside and check it out. The rooms are nothing fancy. I would save your money and stay somewhere else close by!
Victoria is so charming, but you definitely only need one full day there if you are short on time. We checked in, walked around town for a couple of hours, and then came back to freshen up for dinner. There are so many shops near the hotel and bay area that you will want to walk into (tons of super cute boutiques!)
We went to IL Terrazzo for dinner and it was AMAZZZZINGGGGG!!! The bolognese was everything. I will probably have dreams about it forever. DEFINITELY GO if you can! We did an early dinner (5:30) since we didn’t have reservations. It is a 10 min walk from the Empress Hotel.
On Day Four we slept in, had breakfast at West Coast Waffles (soooo good!!!), and then walked around the town a little more to kill time. By then we were out of things to do until our tea reservation.
We then had afternoon tea at Empress. The tea sandwiches and deserts were to die for! So good! I was bummed that vanilla tea wasn’t offered and that you had to pay extra if you didn’t want one of the three options that was included with your $78 CAD tea! Other than that it was fun and a cool experience. Would definitely be fun with girlfriends but I probably wouldn’t recommend taking your husband (unless you both love tea!)
After tea we headed to Butchart Gardens. Another thing I would actually skip if you don’t have a lot of time in Victoria. It was really pretty but pretty expensive just to walk around to see a bunch of flowers. This was the highlight of my in-law’s trip when they came a few years ago, but Troy and I just weren’t that crazy about it! You can walk around and see everything within an hour. Up to you though! I wish we had done a whale watching excursion instead. It would be so cool to see Orcas in their natural habitat!
After the gardens we headed back to the ferry and caught an earlier ride on standby. We then dropped the rental car off, checked into our hotel (near the airport), and went to sleep.
Pacific Getaway Hotel at Vancouver Airport
It is actually super expensive to stay at a hotel near the Vancouver Airport. the Pacific Getaway Hotel was the one I ended up picking. It was really nice and we loved the 24 hour shuttle service to and from the airport.
*Make sure to give yourself AT LEAST two hours at the airport before your flight out since you will go through customs BEFORE your flight (if flying back to US.)
If you have more tips to add or any questions for us please leave a comment below!