Relaxing at the lakes and beaches of Victoria should be included in the itinerary of any visit to southern Vancouver Island. Slow down the pace of life for a while.
We can not promise you white beaches and palms but you will enjoy the natural beauty of Vancouver Island’s coastline.
Victoria is situated on the Saanich Peninsula, 20 miles (30km) north to south, almost surrounded by water:
Haro Strait to the east with distant views of Mount Baker
Juan de Fuca Strait to the south looking across to the Olympic Peninsula
Saanich Inlet to the west, a deep fjord separating the peninsula from the Malahat region of Vancouver Island.
You are merely separated from these distant views by passing boats. Victoria beaches are a mixture of sand and pebbles, along with occasional driftwood adding to their character. Here are a few suggested places where you can stroll or relax with a picnic.
Willows Beach in Oak Bay has the reputation for the best sandy beach.
Another sandy option, though more tidal, is Patricia Bay west of Victoria International Airport where sunsets can be magical.
Three other suggestions with pebbles and sand are:
– The coastline adjoining Dallas Road in SE Victoria, from Beacon Hill Park to Clover Point,
– Cordova Bay,
– Island View Beach,
– beaches in East Sooke Regional Park.
Two inland lakes on the Saanich Peninsula offer differing recreational attractions.
Most obviously, there is Elk Lake / Beaver Lake (two in one) right in the centre of the peninsula. Locals enjoy the northern Hamsterly Beach and the open area at the southern end. A 10km walk around the entire lake will take you about 2.5 hours: the western side with its wide trail through the forest at the lakeside is lovely. Look out for old rails of the old Victoria-Sidney railway of 100 years ago.
Then there’s another of Victoria’s secrets: Durrance Lake, off Willis Point Road. South of the Butchart Gardens it sits surrounded by woodland. You can walk around it in about 40 minutes or take a dip in its fresh water. You may want guidance from your bed and breakfast hosts to locate some of these lakes and beaches of Victoria.