Parks and Beaches

Willows Beach Park

Willows Beach Park prides itself with the one of the most popular sandy beach in the Victoria District. Located in Oak Bay, northeast of Victoria, this beach measures approximately 1.2 hectares in size providing plenty of space for entertaining activities. Sunbathing, swimming, beachcombing kayaking and sightseeing are just some activities often enjoyed on this beach by both tourists and locals.

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The sights here almost look as though they’re taken from a fantasy book: Discovery Island can be seen from beachfront and Mount Baker can be seen over in Washington, U.S.A

Directions to get here: From Victoria, travel northeast on Beach Drive to Oak Bay. You will spot a parking area at the corner of Beach and Dalhousie Drive.

Photo By: Sam Vandervalk

Cadboro Bay

Cadboro Bay is located about 25 minutes outside of Victoria in Saanich and is a favourite for both tourists and locals alike. The long, sandy beach boasts views of both the Juan de Fuca Strait and Olympic Peninsula and even features a little playground to keep the kids busy. The 6-hectare Cadboro-Gyro Park has a multitude of green space for activities, as well as washrooms and picnic tables.The various areas are perfect to enjoy some quality time in the sun.

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During the winter season, many take advantage of the quiet beach to enjoy a long, ocean-side walk. In the nearby Cadboro Bay community there is a quaint area to do some boutique shopping. The bay is also within walking distance to the University of Victoria, whose campus is both bustling and beautiful to explore.

Parks with Hiking and Beaches

Photo By: Ernie Steven Dickey

Witty’s Lagoon Park

This park is a suitable destination for adventurous people who want to be challenged by nature. Being a protected area and measuring around 60 hectares, this park hosts many scenic sites including: waterfalls and golden sandy beaches, more than 5 kilometers of hiking trails, picnic sites and much more.

Numerous activities can be explored here. Among the most popular are hiking, kayaking, sunbathing, sightseeing and swimming. There is an activity for everyone.

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Lagoon Trail and Beach Trail are the two trails available and they are friendly for beginners. The routes explore a scenic forest with views of sandy beach and salt marshes. Make sure to bring your camera with you, the best sightseeing areas are the Tower Point located nearby coastline marshes, Discovery Island, Sitting Lady Falls and many ocean islets.

Directions to get here: Take the Trans Canada Hwy from Victoria to Colwood exit. Then continue on Sooke Road, take a left on Metchosin Road, and you will be welcomed by a park sign and entrance to your left.

Photo By: Jan Gates

Uplands Park

Established in 1946 as one of the first natural urban parks, Uplands Park is comprised of 30 hectares. The Victoria preserve is separated into two sections –Uplands Park and Cattle Point. Uplands Park rests on the hillside while Cattle Point is located on the waterside.

This Victoria park has many exciting sites that are enjoyed by many, such as a scenic driving route, picnic and parking area and sightseeing beaches. When you arrive, there will be trail maps available for directions and information about the different areas.

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For hiking enthusiasts, Uplands Parks provides many gravel walking trails popular for sightseeing and hiking. They are beginner-friendly and suitable for most people. Bikes are not allowed here. For swimming and sunbathing, Cattle Point provides a gorgeous beach and ocean access.

Directions to get here: From Victoria, take a ride northeast on Beach Drive to Oak Bay. The park is accessible from Beach Drive and Midland Road and Dorset Road.

Photo By: Robin Robinson

Albert Head Lagoon Park

Established in 1978, this small 7-hectare park is located on the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Metchosin, adjacent to west of Victoria.For the wildlife enthusiast, this park is a paradise. The mix of pebble and sand beaches provide birding opportunities, picnicking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing as just some of the activities enjoyed by visitors.

Since Albert Head Lagoon Park is a protected birdsanctuary and refuge, many birds stop by as a feeding and resting destination—this allows for some beautiful sightings, so make sure to bring the camera.

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Hiking and sightseeing go hand in hand—the Juan de Fuca Strait, Olympic Mountains, and the City of Victoria provide some unforgettable sights.

Directions: Travel north from the City of Victoria to the Colwood exit. Then proceed on Sooke road, take a left on Metchosin RD, then turn onto Farhill Road, and go on Delagada Road.

Thetis Lake Regional Park

Located in Langford with 834 hectares, this park is comprised of a lake, mountain and woodland park. Its popularity lies in its multi-purpose trails, which are used for biking, hiking and horseback riding.
There are two main activity lakes here, Upper and Lower Thetis Lakes, and they both have a boat launch, sandy beach, picnic areas and change rooms.

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Even though there are no lifeguards in this park, these lakes are popular amongst swimmers, fishermen and canoeing enthusiasts.

Directions to get here: From Victoria, travel north on Trans Canada Hwy and take the exit to Colwood, then continue to Six Mile Road.

Photo By: Bill Irvine

Elk/Beaver Lake Park

Located in Saanich, BC, these lakes are very popular and are a perfect place for adventurous people.
Established in 1966, two recreational lakes, sandy beaches, the natural scenery and the multi-use trail network are the highlights of this 443-hectare park.

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These features allow for many activities such as hiking, horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, wind surfing, and fishing.

How to get to Elk Lake: From Victoria, go on the Pat Bay Hwy towards Sidney. Take left on Sayward drive and then left on Hamsterly Road. Continue going to Brookleigh Road, then take a right.

Photo By: Nadine Au-Yong

Parks with Hiking

Photo By: Kyoshi Noguchi

Bear Hill Park

Located on Saanich Peninsula, north of the City of Victoria, Bear Hill Park measures 48 hectares and serves as a sightseeing peak and summit trail.
It was established in 1970 as a popular route for birders, hikers and horseback riders. Now, the wildflower fields, birding opportunities, and the mesmerizing views of Haro Strait, San Juan Islands, The Gulf Islands, Mt. Baker and the City of Sidney attract many tourists.

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The summit can be reached through a forested trail, which can be quite challenging. Visit the Moderate Trails page for more info on the summit hike.

Directions: From Victoria, go north on Pat Bay Hwy. Go left on Sayward Drive and left again on Hamsterley Road. Then head right on Brookleigh road. Continue on Brookleigh Road till you reach Oldfield Road, then go right onto Bear Hill Road. You will find a small parking lot at the trailhead to the summit.

Francis King Park

Located in the area of Saanich, Francis King Park is a woodland and nature park comprised of 107 hectares and was established in 1979.
The 11 km of multi-purpose trails are the park’s main attraction and are used for biking, horseback riding, and hiking. However, not all of trails are authorized for all activities so it is important to look at a map and figure out which trails will suit your interests.

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Visit the Nature Centre located at the entrance of the park for a brochure of the wildlife and trails, and hiking maps. People at the centre will help you with selecting a trail suited for your fitness levels.

Directions: From Victoria, go north on TCH to Helmcken Road exit. Contine on Helmcken then take a left on Burnside RD, then a right on Prospect Lake RD, and then another left on Munn Road.

Other Parks

Photo By: Kyoshi Noguchi

Goldstream Provincial Park

Located 15 kilometers north of Victoria, this 376-hectare provincial park harbors many ecosystems such as mountain, forest and riparian environments.
The attractions of this park include a salmon spawning river, Bald Eagle and Bear migration during spawning seasons, hiking trails through beautiful forests, a trestle bridge and a couple stunning waterfalls. It is truly an amazing place to visit.

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This is a woodland-forested park created with the intention to improve the riparian river environment for the benefit of the spawning salmon.This park is also home to many proud 600-year-old Douglas Fir trees, and groves of Western Red Cedar, Hemlock, Red Alder, Dogwood, Maple, Lodgepole Pine and Western Yew.

There are more than 16 km of hiking trails to explore available for all levels of fitness. Stop by the Moderate Trails page for more info on the hikes available.

Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park, due to its popularity, has become a travel highlight for visitors in Victoria. This 81-hectare urban park is a perfect destination for people looking to break a sweat. Activities include biking, roller blading, jogging, birding, walking, relaxing and picnicking. Decorated with floral gardens, water fountains, picnic areas and green grass playing fields, Beacon Hill Park is a fantastic place for family photos and even wedding photos.

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Most of the walking trails are paved, suitable for all fitness levels, and are wheelchair and baby stroller friendly. They allow you to get lost in the mesmerizing views of Maple Trees, Arbutus, Garry Oaks, Douglas Firs. Bring your family with you as it makes for a great place to spend some quality time.

Directions: The best way is through the south end of Douglas Street. When in doubt, just ask any local.

Photo By: Gord Handford

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