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5 Places to Take a Dip This Summer

Posted on June 5, 2019

Summer is finally here! When we think of summer, we think of playing in the water, picnics at the beach, lounging in the sun and rediscovering our passion for outdoor sports. Located on Vancouver Island, Victoria has no shortage of places to cool down, so here are a few of our favorites to explore during the long days of summer.

Thetis Lake Regional Park

Open sunrise to sunset
20-30 minutes from downtown
A sandy beach awaits just a short walk from the main parking lot and it’s the ideal place to enjoy a picnic. If you're looking for a more secluded spot, follow the trail around the lake. We recommend bringing your paddle board or kayak to explore the small island in the middle of the lake, or bring a pool float and just enjoy the warm water with friends! 
Insider tip: The weather is generally a few degrees warmer here than downtown Victoria.
Thetis Lake Regional Park


Sooke Potholes Provincial and Regional Park

Open sunrise to sunset for day use | Camping available
Approximately 50 minutes drive from downtown
Pack a picnic before heading out to this stunning provincial park. Located on the banks of Sooke River, Sooke Potholes Provincial and Regional Park is the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day (we’re not kidding, the river water can be refreshing)! The unique geological rock formations found here are filled with water and provide the perfect swimming hole. Easy to moderate hiking trails run through the park, so don’t be afraid to venture beyond the parking lot for more secluded swimming holes. This is also a great place to camp with your family!
Insider Tip: There is limited cell service, but you’ll find a better connection.
Sooke Potholes Victoria BC
Image by @aidan.col via Instagram


Matheson Lake Regional Park

Open sunrise to sunset
Approximately 40-minute drive from downtown
With a sandy beach and picnic area, Matheson Lake is the perfect place to bring the family! Hike, bike, fish or swim in this lake and keep everyone occupied for hours. 
If you want to explore the trails in this area with a local, and munch on fresh local ingredients for lunch, The Natural Connection offers guided hikes through this and other CRD Regional Parks. 
Insider Tip: Grab a sandwich from Red Barn Market on your way to the lake. They’re a local favourite, and you’ll find tons of other local and fresh picnic items to take with you. 

Matheson Lake Victoria
Image @ HikeBikeTravel


Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park

Open sunrise to sunset
20 minute drive from downtown
You’ll get a two-for-one experience at these lakes! Located side by side, a 10 km trail surrounds and connects them, making it perfect for trail running or walking. Beaver Lake has a shallow, sandy beach, making it perfect for families, while Elk Lake is the spot for water sports like rowing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing and more.
Insider Tip: Stop by Ocean River Sports to rent a kayak, canoe or stand up paddle board to take on your adventure! 

Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park Paddle Board Victoria
Image @Brandonsmale via Instagram


Cadboro - Gyro Park 

8a.m. to 11a.m. daily
20 minute drive from downtown

If you love salt water, this beach is a great place to take a dip in the sea. With a grassy area, the ultimate children’s playground (we’re talking giant octopus, salmon and sea serpent play structures), plenty of picnic tables and a tennis court, this is a local hot spot! Located in a bay with relatively calm waters, it's a great spot for paddle boarding. Rent a stand-up paddleboard from South Island SUP, or if you’re not familiar with this aquatic sport, take a beginner lesson! 
Cadboro-Gyro Park
Image @devoncaldwellyoga via Instagram

Final Dip-Tip: Dive into a Dipped Cone

Cool down after a day in the sun with a dipped cone from Chocolats Favoris in downtown Victoria or Beacon Drive In beside Beacon Hill Park. A delicious dip to end your explorations! 

chocolats Favoris downtown victoria
Image @chocofavoris via Instagram
There’s a lot of ways to make a splash in Victoria, but remember that the consumption of alcohol in a CRD park may result in a hefty fine. Luckily, we have enough great patios in Victoria for your après-swim. Take your pick here.




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