Where to Explore in Greater Victoria This Summer

Staying in Greater Victoria this summer? Love spending time outdoors? Luckily Vancouver Island is a nature lover’s haven and there are endless parks, campgrounds, and trails to visit year-round.

As an avid hiker, backpacker, and camper myself, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite spots to check out, anytime of year, but especially during the warm weather of summer!

1. Juan de Fuca Provincial Park

This is a huge park, featuring a popular backpacking trail (the Juan de Fuca trail), surfing spots, day trip destinations, suspension bridges, wildlife, and more.

If you have time and are up for the adventure, try backpacking half or all of the main trail, which should take approximately 3-5 days depending on fitness level and desired pace.

For day trips, try the well-known Sombrio Beach (although it may be a bit crowded), Botanical Beach, or Mystic Beach.

Suspension bridge in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park

Sunrise from my tent while backpacking the Juan de Fuca trail.

 

2. Ruckle Provincial Park

Located on Salt Spring Island, just a 30 minute ferry ride from the town of Sidney, Ruckle Park is an amazing campground with plenty of walk-in sites.

You can explore the rest of the island from the park, as well as enjoy the oceanfront campsites where you can see the ferries to Vancouver passing by. Make sure you check on their website before you go in case you have to book a site.

View of a ferry from Ruckle Park Campground

 

3. Sooke Potholes

One of the most popular swimming holes in Greater Victoria during the summer, you’ve got to visit Sooke Potholes. Expect to see lots of people here on a warm summer day, but it’s for good reason: it’s beautiful and despite the cold water, it’s the best way to cool off on a hot day. Bring a picnic and make a day out of it!

4. East Sooke Park

Another favourite of mine is East Sooke Park. Despite being only 30-45 minutes away from Victoria by car, this is actually quite a large park! It boasts a 17km loop trail around the perimeter, rock petroglyphs which can be seen at a lower tide, an old fishing cabin to explore, and beautiful West Coast views.

I’d recommend carving out a whole day to explore this park, and even then you will have to go back to make sure you see it all.

 

A rocky outcrop at East Sooke Park.

 

5. Strathcona Provincial Park

Okay, it’s not technically in Greater Victoria but I had to add this one in there.

Growing up in the Comox Valley, which is in Northern Vancouver Island, I spent a lot of time in Strathcona Provincial Park growing up. A massive park that stretches almost 2500km squared, Strathcona has outdoor activities for everyone no matter what you like to do or your fitness level.

If you can find the time to get over to Strathcona, you will not be disappointed. Here are my top recommendations for hikes in the park:

Easy: Paradise Meadows/Lake Helen Mackenzie/Battleship Lake

Medium: Landslide Lake, Bedwell Lakes

Hard: King’s Peak, Mt. Albert Edward, Flower Ridge

 

Overall, we live in a pretty incredible place on Vancouver Island. There’s so much to explore so get out there in nature this summer!

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