An awesome, overlooked Pacific Northwest destination that's accessible by discount carriers including Frontier and JetBlue ( JBLU) via Seattle and a $25 round-trip ferry ride across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Victoria is bustling but by no means a bank-breaker. Many of the best activities -- which include checking out architecture dating back to the 1800s, stopping to smell the flowers at Butchart Gardens, taking in the history at the Royal British Columbia Museum, tooling around the second-oldest Chinatown in North America (behind San Francisco's) or keeping an eye out for orcas in the harbor -- are either free or inexpensive. Hotel rooms start at $81 for a Travelodge or Super 8, but there are also hostels for $50. If that's too steep, try going just up the road a stretch and renting a room in Vancouver for $31 a night through iStopover. It's a much bigger, flashier city, but the price is slightly more small-town. -- Written by Jason Notte in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.