Roam Around at Fort Rodd Hill
Tour through secret bunkers, military command posts and original 19th century buildings at Fort Rodd Hill, a west coast artillery fortress on active duty from 1895 to 1956. Learn the personal stories of soldiers and their families. Camp overnight in a group-friendly oTENTik. Grab the wheel as a “master mariner” at Fisgard Lighthouse, the oldest on the Canadian west coast, and wander through a rare Garry Oak meadow. pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/bc/fortroddhill
Get Out in the Garden
Butchart Gardens is open daily from 9am- 5pm, welcoming guests to take solace from this beautiful garden. You’ll find a sunken garden, rose garden, Japanese Garden, and Italian Garden along with Ross Fountain and Star Pond. For information on both present and future happenings, visit butchartgardens.com.
Play in the Park
Beacon Hill Park offers 200-acres to play in, just steps from downtown Victoria. Explore the trails meandering through meadows, gardens and trees, and the 18-hole putting green (bring your own clubs and balls), spray park and playground. Stroll past the duck ponds, over bridges, through gardens, and find what was once the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole. beaconhillpark.ca
Gallop Along the Goose
The 60-km partly paved Galloping Goose Trail winds from Victoria to Sooke with access points along the way. It also intersects with the E&N Rail Trail-Humpback Connector, the 17km cycling and pedestrian trail. Start the Goose in the heart of the city or drive out to a rural access point for more of a country experience. gallopinggoosetrail.com
Lose Yourself on the Lochside Trail
The 29-km Lochside Regional Trail starts in Saanich and ends at the ferry terminal in Swartz Bay. In some places trail visitors must share paved or gravel public roads with motor vehicles and farm vehicles. Trail maps and suggested access points/day trips are available from the CRD website: crd.bc.ca/parks, then select “Find a Park.”
Loop Swan Lake
Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary features both marshy lowlands and the rocky, oak-forested highlands of Christmas Hill. The 12,000-year-old lake is home to a variety of birds and wildlife including muskrats, river otters and mink. Circle the lake along a 2.5-km trail and cross the floating walkway then stop in at the Nature House (open on a limited schedule). swanlake.bc.ca.
Stretch Out at Sidney Spit
Sidney Spit Marine Park is a great destination for a day trip. The foot-passenger ferry service has re-opened so now you can book your trip to Sidney Island (25 minutes). Explore the sandy spit at the northeast end or hike around the whole island. Walk-in camping is also available. For updates on the ferry service, visit sidneyspitferry.com.
While Away the Day at Witty’s
Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park in Metchosin offers more than 5 kms of beautiful trails run through woodland, past lagoon and marsh. Watch for birds as you meander down to the sandy beach. The Nature House at the trailhead has some great displays. Check for opening hours. On Metchosin Road, approximately 40 minutes from downtown Victoria. crd.bc.ca/parks
Retreat to Roche Cove
Roche Cove Regional Park in East Sooke. Picnic at the protected cove after an easy walk from the parking area. Wander the 7 kms of trails through cedar forest and along a cool creek or climb a mossy slope for hilltop views of Roche Cove and the Sooke Basin. Roche Cove is also a good access point for the Galloping Goose Trail. crd.bc.ca/parks
Ease into East Sooke Park
East Sooke Regional Park offers 50 kms of trails along the windswept rocky coast, over dry hilltops, through dark rainforest to sheltered coves. Aylard Farm is popular with picnickers and those looking for an easy excursion. A 5-minute walk through open fields leads to a sandy beach. Trails head inland to hilltop views, or along the rugged, more challenging Coast Trail. crd.bc.ca/parks
Make a Splash at Thetis Lake
Thetis Lake. Hike scenic trails hugging Upper and Lower Thetis lakes. The beach area of Thetis Lake is perfect for a picnic or swim, although it tends to be crowded in summer. If you have a canoe, try an early morning or evening paddle. Pay parking: $2.25 for the day or $20 for the season. crd.bc.ca/parks
“Star” Gaze at The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea
The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea in Sidney is a state-of-the-art aquarium and marine education centre focused on the ecosystem of the Salish Sea. Spend a moment with calming, drifting jellies. Take a peek at invertebrates of all shapes and colours. The Centre is open and welcomes visitors on Thursday though Tuesday from 10am-4:30pm. Masks mandatory. salishseacentre.org
Fly by Butterfly Gardens
Victoria Butterfly Gardens. See thousands of exotic butterflies (up to 70 species) flying free in their own tropical rainforest environment. Wander through the orchid exhibit or carnivorous plant section. You’ll also see colourful fish and tropical birds. Open daily from 10am-4pm with the last admission into the facility at 3pm. Group bookings are only allowed between 8-10am. butterflygardens.com
Seek Sun & Surf
Gonzales Beach. Sure the water is freezing, but this is a beautiful sandy beach with the south-facing views and sunshing. It’s a great beach for skim boarding and splashing about in the shallow waters. Willows Beach has all the amenities at hand: bathrooms, a tea room for concessions, a playground and a sweeping sandy beach. There’s a grassy park for picnics and lots of trees for shade. Gyro Beach at Cadboro Bay Beach and home of the Cadborosaurus! The ocean is no warmer at this beach than any of the other Victoria beaches, but the stretch of sand and nearby Cadboro-Gyro Park make it a hit with families.
Cool Down at Sooke Potholes
Sooke Potholes are a series of deep fresh-water pools created by water falling over boulders in the Sooke River. Enjoy the views, explore the trails, camp under the stars, or take a refreshing dip on a hot summer day. You can access the potholes at different points. crd.bc.ca
Love a Llama
Millstream Miniature Llamas offers a guided tour of the farm for families and small groups. The tour includes an explanation of why llamas are special, the history of llamas in North and South America, how llamas interact with people and with each other, a discussion of the uses of llamas today, a chance to meet several llamas, experience a “llama kiss” and feel the fibre. Phone 250-478-9969 to arrange a tour. millstream-minis.com
Behold the Bugs
Welcome to the amazing world of insects, arachnids, and their many-legged relatives. See live giant walkingsticks, alien-eyed praying mantids, hairy tarantulas and glow-in-the-dark scorpions, to name a few. Discover roughly 50 fascinating species including Canada’s largest ant farm. Masks are mandatory. To guarantee your spot at the time you’d like, book online at victoriabugzoo.ca.
At Wild Play Adventures you can soar through the air on six exhilarating zipline flights that criss-cross through the treetops. A guide will attach your harness to each zipline along the way. Just lean back and enjoy the ride. Afterwards, try your hand—and eye—at axe throwing (12+). Open Fri–Mon from 10am–7pm. wildplay.com
Visit the Farm
Beacon Hill Children’s Farm is located in Victoria’s beautiful Beacon Hill . Enjoy the farm animal experience, from alpacas to miniature goats, tropical birds and miniature pigs. The Farm is home to all kinds of fuzzy, furry, feathered creatures and features a goat petting area and the famous goat stampedes. Open seasonally. For dates and hours visit beaconhillchildrensfarm.ca.
A visit to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is a one-of-a-kind experience. The diversity of exhibits and programs is welcoming for all and there’s always something new to discover. aggv.ca
Find Out About Flying
See airplanes, seaplanes, helicopters and more at the BC Aviation Museum. Learn about BC’s aviation history from early bush planes to bombers and beyond. bcam.net