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Wide Open Spaces and Places in Greater Victoria

Posted on June 4, 2020

Greater Victoria is home to seemingly endless trails to traverse, outdoor spaces, wide-open places and fewer faces. These outdoor activities enable you to soak in Greater Victoria’s beautiful sights and sounds while still allowing you to maintain physical distance. Read on to discover what outdoor activities you can partake in this season.

Please note that businesses, tours and parks are operating with enhanced safety measures in place; including limiting group sizes, increased cleaning regimens and more. Please check directly with the business for their COVID-19 safety protocols. 

 

Jump in

Take a dip at one of the many lakes and rivers in the region. From the geological wonder of Sooke Potholes to the warm water at DurranceThetis and Matheson Lakes, there is no shortage of places to cool down. Find more places to take a dip here

Image by @fire_fly_drones

 

Fun in the Sun

Have your fun in the sun or kick back and relax at one of the many beaches around Greater Victoria. Visit Saxe Point Park for an epic view of the sunset and a peek of Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse. Check out Willow’s Beach in Oak Bay for the sandy shoreline and visit Cadboro Bay for calm waters, sandy shoreline and driftwood huts. You can find more beaches around Greater Victoria here. 

Willow's Beach

 

Visit a Local Park

Greater Victoria is home to an abundance of green spaces, from regional and provincial parks to manicured gardens. Goldstream Provincial Park offers the opportunity to take in the Island's temperate rainforest and explore a diverse eco-system. Gowland Todd Park is home to endless trails from sea to sky and Abkhazi Garden is an off-the-beaten-track oasis with a royal history. Find more parks and gardens around Greater Victoria here.

Image by @wildernessisle via Instagram

 

Take a Swing 

Victoria’s mild weather means whether you’re a golfer or tennis player, there are plenty of places to play year-round. Bear Mountain Resort’s recently completed clay courts offer the opportunity to play tennis rain or shine. Henderson Park’s outdoor courts offer the opportunity to play a drop-in game. 

In the District of Saanich, visitors can enjoy a game of golf at Cedar Hill Golf Course with a panoramic view of Greater Victoria and the Olympic Mountains. There’s also a nature trail to walk or jog along that surrounds the golf course. 

Budding golfer among you? Check out the par 3 course at Henderson Park. Operating on a first-come, first-served basis, it’s a great spot for all ages and abilities.

Bear Mountain Resort
Image via Westin Bear Mountain Resort

 

Paddle Out

With amazing stretches of coast, it’s no surprise Vancouver Island has more than a few surfing hot spots. Paddle out to catch some waves at Sombrio Beach

Rent a kayak from Blue Dog Kayaking in Mill Bay and commence your day mastering a new skill or refining an old one. You may even end up with a front-row seat to our local and abundant wildlife.  

Stand-Up paddle boarding more your style? Rent a paddleboard from Ocean River Adventures and head to your spot of choice! We recommend paddling around Cadboro-Gyro Park, known for its calm bay and fun atmosphere. When you’re ready for a break, head across the street to Smuggler’s Cove for delicious comfort food and a cold brew. 

Image by Matt Shannon Photography

 

Go for a Run 

Running along Dallas Road is a favourite pastime for many local joggers. This uninterrupted 3km stretch of walkway winds along the length of Dallas Road and offers unapparelled views of the ocean and Olympic Mountain range beyond. 

A route through Beacon Hill Park rewards with beautiful sights and sounds as you jog through 200 acres of manicured gardens. Take in the ponds, cherry blossoms and break for the occasional duck or peacock crossing. 

Trail running more your pace? Bear Mountain offers access to Mount Finlayson, a challenging 6km looped trail, gaining over 400m in elevation. If you’re looking for less elevation gain on your run, we recommend the trail around Upper and Lower Thetis Lake. It’s also easily accessible via BC Transit Route #50. 

Bear Mountain Resort
Image via Westin Bear Mountain Resort

 

Explore Greater Victoria by Bike

If you’re looking for a fun and physically distant way to see Greater Victoria, we recommend renting a bike or setting out on a cycling tour. You can rent a bike in James Bay at The Pedaler which operates out of the Pendray Inn. Alternatively, join a bike tour and explore some iconic sites with a small private group and knowledgeable guide. Keen to explore beyond the city limits? Rent a bike at Trek and easily jump on the Galloping Goose or Lochside Trail to access Vancouver Island’s section of The Great Trail, a system that connects Canada from Coast to Coast.  

More of a rugged and wild rider? Bear Mountain’s Trail Network offers intermediate to advanced trails that mountain bikers can access from Westin Bear Mountain Resort. Hartland is also an easily accessible riding area in Greater Victoria, home to over 75 trails ranging from easy to proline. More comfortable having a guide show you the trails? Alex's Mountain Biking Tours are the perfect way to experience Vancouver Island's mountain biking scene like a local. 

Image by @fieldandforest

 

Take a Hike 

From coast to peak and everything in between, there’s no shortage of epic views around here. If you’re lost as to where to begin hiking in Greater Victoria, a guide can provide the perfect taste of the outdoor offerings around Greater Victoria. Mark from HikeVictoria.com can guide you through Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the fjord below. Ryan from The Natural Connection can lead you to secret waterfalls, hidden lakes and will even nourish you with some foraged fair. Rainforest Tours can ensure you have the ultimate West Coast experience as you explore parts of the Juan de Fuca. Looking to immerse yourself in the ancient practice of forest bathing? John from Mystical Rainforest Tours can guide you through this practice.

Gowlland Tod
Image by @fieldandforest