Vancouver Island is situated west of Vancouver and is only accessible via ferry (you can bring your car on the ferry to help you get around once you arrive) or by air. When I first looked at heading there, I came across ferry crossing prices that were time dependant (please be aware) and as we crossed during the peak, it was quite expensive and it wouldn’t have cost much more to have travelled via sea plan which I hear is an amazing experience. Both have dog friendly travel options. The island is a little more neutral weather wise and whilst it was raining the whole time in Vancouver, we had very little rain interfere with our plans.
When I first started planning my trip to Vancouver Island, I was looking at staying in Victoria and the dog friendly accommodation that was there. At some point during my research I came across Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sooke which is a pet friendly hotel. Having stayed with Prestige Resort’s several times over the past two and a bit years, I knew they were a hotel that I could trust and that both Mya and I would be comfortable staying with them.
Sooke is about a 30 minute drive from Victoria, it’s slightly further away from the tourist crowds, but still contains all the amenities that you would need to enjoy your stay. Speaking to quite a few of the locals, they told me they used to live in Victoria, but decided to more out to Sooke to escape the crowds. That’s exactly what I felt the town was like, this little ocean side escape.
When I first arrived at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sooke I was a little wowed. When you look at the building you could be mistaken for thinking the place is a manor, not a hotel. It has a grand weatherboard architecture that fits in really well with its ocean front location.
The hotel has all the usual amenities you would expect to find including a restaurant, pool, day spa, fitness centre, a great outdoor area with a beautiful view over the water. Throughout out stay I enjoyed a meal at the restaurant and can say the service I got was fantastic (The server was an Australian and it was nice to have someone who understood how I talk) and my steak was absolutely delicious.
The resort has a beautiful view of the ocean from both the balcony and the surrounding gardens, which when we were visiting, they were setting up for a wedding.
Our room was simple, but spacious and clean. It had two queen size beds, a desk, refrigerator, TV, plenty of storage and a good size ensuite. Because I had Mya with me they also supplied a good size pet bed and a food and water bowl. I believe the hotel has a specific number of pet friendly rooms available, so if you’re looking at staying there, make sure you book ahead as early as possible and let them know to put aside one of these rooms for you.
I was told Mya was allowed to accompany me everywhere throughout the resort, except where food and beverage is served (This is as a result of British Columbia Health Regulations). The resort does charge a $40 per night pet fee to contribute towards cleaning costs, however there were no additional fees and parking was free.
Unfortunately for us, not all the activities that we wanted to do, allowed for Mya to join us and I had to source an afternoon of doggy care. There were plenty of options both in Victoria and Sooke that were easy to find on Google. I wasn’t blown away by our experience, so I won’t be mentioning who we went with but you should be able to find someone for about $25 for half a day.
We spent a morning kayaking to Sooke East from Sooke Harbour, which is located right next to the Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sooke. Unfortunately I lost my photos from this when we lost some camera gear over the side of the kayak when a fast moving boat passed us. To rent a kayak for 2 hours it will cost you $45 from the harbour
Whilst visiting Vancouver Island, we took a stroll through downtown Victoria and checked out the beautiful British inspired architecture that makes up the city. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops if you’re interested in checking them out. After a recommendation we stopped in at the Canoe Brew Pub which has a really nice outdoor patio and free parking. Unfortunately the patio isn’t dog friendly because of British Columbia’s health regulations, but you are able to tether them close by so that you can both see each other.
I’d been told one of the best places in North America to see whales in their natural environment is Vancouver Island. I was fortunate to be able to go whale watching for the first time there with Eagle Wing Tours. The tours leave from Victoria and go for about 3-4 hours. Eagle Wing Tours has three different boats that they send out with groups, one of them is completely open, whilst the other two have enclosed areas and bathrooms on board. Typically they will see either Humpback Whales or Orcas. Unfortunately these tours aren’t dog friendly, so if you do want to experience them, you will need to arrange some doggy day care.
The crew on the boat were fantastic, they had additional warm clothing for us to borrow and were very knowledgeable, providing me with information about the area and different marine animals. We were lucky enough to see a mother & her calf. All up we saw five humpback whales, which I had never seen before. It really was a great experience to see such amazing creatures, in their natural environment. One of the other great things about Eagle Wing Tours is they acknowledge the importance of the environment and conservation on their business and the rest of the community. As a result when you book a tour with them a proportion of the tour cost is donated to different conservation funds. The tours range between $85-135 per person.
Sooke Pot Holes
Whilst exploring Sooke we checked out the Sooke Pot Holes which is only about a 10-15 minute drive from the Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sooke. The area is dog friendly, however dogs must be on a leash and people should be mindful that there are black bears in the area. It’s a beautiful area & I hear a fantastic swimming spot over summer. It was a bit cold for me to go in, however Mya decided she didn’t mind having a wade & seemed to quite enjoy herself. You can view the pot holes from an overhead viewing area or there are several walking trails with varying lengths that will get you down to them for a swim.
We had a fantastic time exploring the south of Vancouver Island, but if you do make a visit I have heard some amazing things about Tofino, so I would try and add an extra couple of days to your trip and also explore there as well as Sooke and Victoria. I have also heard great things about the Zip Lining tours at Sooke.
Stay: Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sooke | @PrestigeResorts
Play: Eagle Wing Tours | @EagleWingTours