Victoria's WestShore is a region brimming with family-friendly activities and adventures, whether you're thrill-seekers or history buffs. Hop on some bikes and take the easy ride out from downtown Victoria to the WestShore (about a 30-minute, mostly flat ride on a designated bike trail) and explore all that the WestShore has to offer. Here are some ideas for great family-friendly things to do along the way.
Climb to New Heights
With a combination of adrenaline-inducing ziplines and climbing elements that weave through the trees, WildPlay Element Parks offer thrilling fun in a safe environment. Take your family on a progressively challenging adventure (there are several ‘outs' along the way if you ever feel like you've had enough) as you climb through the treetops on a series of rope courses. Don't worry - you'll be securely harnessed in!
Image: WildPlay treetop course in Victoria
Explore on two wheels
The Galloping Goose Regional Trail connects the Sooke Potholes to Victoria's core, looping through the lush forests and cultural centres of the WestShore. Cruise past Douglas fir and red cedar forest, take a short dip in Matheson Lake and stop by a small market or Fol Epi along the way for a snack and a cold drink.
Visit Canada's Oldest West Coast Lighthouse
Make sure to carve out some time on your WestShore adventure to visit Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse. This National Historic Site was a major component of the British Empire and Canada defence strategy from 1878 to 1956, and is still home to a real coastal battery gun that was built over 100 years ago. Here you'll be able to explore the grounds, take an audio tour and experience interactive exhibits that will take you back in time.
Image: Fisgard Lighthouse, photo by Reuben Krabbe
Experience the Magic of Hatley Castle
The moment you enter the majestic grounds of Hatley Castle National Historic Site, you'll feel like royalty. Overlooking the ocean, this large estate and stunning castle will keep you exploring all day as you discover glorious gardens, hidden historic secrets, a multitude of birds and old growth forests.
Image: Hatley Castle grounds & gardens
Feel Small at Goldstream Provincial Park
Massive trees, stunning waterfalls, historic sites and majestic views: all in one park. Goldstream Provincial Park is home to ancient Douglas fir and Victoria's very own version of Niagara Falls. Hike Mount Finlayson for wonderful views of the city and get your adrenaline rush as you cross the Selkirk Trestle and look down on the tree tops.
If you'd like to check out more hiking options, visit the CRD Regional Trails guide.
Sleep Under the Stars
Take your pick: tent, RV or high-end heated tent. Set up camp nestled between trees and close to the wonderful Thetis Lake or pull into a full service RV park at Fort Victoria. Alternatively, spend the night at Fort Rodd Hill at oTENTik. These heated tents feature full beds and give you a chance to camp out under the stars at a historic fort. How neat is that?
Another great option for glamping is Pedder Bay RV Resort, set right on the water in a beautiful wilderness area with a full-service marina, boat rentals and guiding fishing charters.
Image: Pedder Bay RV Resort
Enjoy a Picnic with a ViewMiles of ocean beachfront and an enclosed lagoon are the perfect setting for a day outside. Stop in at the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson on your way out of downtown Victoria to grab a great picnic lunch from Roast, then head out to Esquimalt Lagoon to enjoy lunch with a view. Look for beach glass, take a dip or grab a kayak to enjoy the water. The lagoon is also an important stopover for migratory birds, so keep an eye out for Blue Herons, soaring eagles and all sorts of aerial artists.
Take a Dip
The Westshore is home to several beautiful lakes that are great for swimming in the summertime. Check out Witty's Lagoon Regional Park for a fun family beach day in Metchosin or head to Thetis Lake Regional Park, which is a little bit closer to Victoria's downtown. It may be slightly busier on weekends as it's a favourite swimming spot with locals, but there are great hiking trails around the lake that you can take advantage of before you hop in the lake to cool off. Tip: If you're interested in camping or staying in your RV, Thetis Lake Campground is adjacent to the park and offers great proximity to adventure in the WestShore!
Image: Glen Lake in Langford
There you have it, a whole bunch of great options for family activities in the WestShore! Stay tuned for our next WestShore Community Spotlight blog, which will be all about exploring the region by bike!