5 beautiful nature spots near Victoria
I spend the majority of my free time outdoors visiting my favourite places to relax in nature and exploring the island to discover new go-to spots.
As a big nature lover, I enjoy spots that are beautiful to look at but also comfortable to spend time at. It’s no fun when you spend time driving or hiking to a scenic area and find that there’s nowhere comfortable to sit so you end up looking at the view for a moment then leaving right away.
These 5 nature spots are so beautiful and comfortable that you’ll never want to leave!
1. Dallas Road / The Breakwater
At the very bottom of the peninsula, you’ll find a long road called Dallas Road that runs from Gonzales Beach to the Fisherman’s Wharf (which are both spots you’ll want to check out!).
Along Dallas Road there are multiple beaches, parks, food stands, restaurants, and gorgeous homes to look at.
You can spend your entire day walking along the lengthy road and stop at the beautiful scenic areas along the way, or you can drive/bus down from UVic just to watch the sunset.
The Breakwater (which is on Dallas Road) is the best place in Victoria to watch the sunset. I suggest going when the clouds are high in the sky or when there are no clouds at all. That’s when the sun reflects on the water and mountains most perfectly. But, no matter the weather, this is a beautiful place to visit for a walk.
2. Mount Tolmie
This is the perfect nature spot to visit for the students who don’t have a car. Mount Tolmie is right beside UVic campus and is a short 15 minute walk if you’re living in the UVic residency dorms. Mount Tolmie is a short mountain that still provides beautiful views day and night.
From the bottom of the mountain on Cedar Hill Cross Road, it takes about 10 minutes to walk to the top of the mountain. There are multiple trails to walk up and around the mountain, and a paved road for cars/bikes to get to the top.
At the top of the mountain, you’ll find two small parking lots, a large cement deck that looks out to the ocean, and many rocky/grassy areas to sit.
This is a lovely place to visit to get some peace and quiet between classes while enjoying a beautiful view. You can walk or drive here to do your homework (without WiFi), watch the sunset, have a picnic, read a book, get some exercise, or simply sit in peace.
3. Cordova Bay Beach
A short 15-minute drive from UVic campus is a lovely quiet neighbourhood called Cordova Bay. The drive from campus is a very scenic route that takes you along the ocean, through forests, and passes big Mount Douglas (which is also a great mountain for hiking and watching the sunset).
Once in Cordova Bay, you’ll see many beautiful Victorian homes that have stunning ocean views. There are multiple beaches and coves hidden along Cordova Bay Road, but the main Cordova Bay Beach is the largest of them all.
This beach has a restaurant and café with delicious food and drinks. On weekends, this beach can be busy with families and dogs, but during the week it’s always very quiet.
Make sure to go to this beach during the summer because that’s when the sandbar appears! The sandbar is a very long stretch of soft sand that you can walk along, but you usually need to walk through some shallow water to get to it because it’s not connected to the beach. Make some time to get to this beach to watch the sunrise, it’s beautiful as you can see in the photo above!
4. Lone Tree Hill
It only takes 20-25 minutes to get to the top of the hike and there are only a few steep sections so it’s a hike that everyone can enjoy no matter the level of hiker you are!
On the way up you’ll see many unique trees like the Arbutus tree, and little lookout points that give you a sneak-peak of what the view at the top will be like.
Once you get to the top, the grassy and rocky mountain is massive with many different areas to relax and enjoy the view. There are flat grassy areas where you can lay a blanket and have a picnic, and rockier areas to just stand.
If you want to feel like you’re out of the city without going too far, this is the perfect place for you. You can drive here, do the hike, sit at the top for a while, and get back to UVic in just 2 hours. You’ll feel like you’re in another world at the top of this mountain.
5. Mystic Beach
This last nature spot is farther from UVic, but is well worth the trip. Mystic Beach is about a 90-minute drive away from UVic campus, so you definitely want to either own a car or have a friend with a car to visit this spot.
To get to this beach from the road, you can either: park in the Mystic Beach/China Beach parking lot and walk the flat trail which takes about 1-hour to walk, or you can drive a few minutes past the parking lot and park along the side of the road where there is a shorter 20-minute trail that takes you down to the beach.
Once you go down the long stair case you’ll know you’re arriving at the beach. This beach is quite rocky compared to most, but there are still areas of soft sand to enjoy.
The main attraction of this beach is the waterfall that pours off a big cliff right onto the beach. I suggest coming here in the spring or fall when there has been rain, because the waterfall dries up in the summer.
If you want to take advantage of the long drive you did to get here, I would also go to China Beach and Sombrio Beach nearby to see some beautiful and unique beaches that Victoria does not have.