With so much to do in the Capital Regional District, your biggest challenge will narrowing down your options! To help, here’s a list of favourites. From “star” gazing (that’s sea stars!) and chasing butterflies to cooling off at the Potholes and stretching out at Sidney Spit. Hint: no matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong!
Plan Your Escape
Victoria Escape Games is back after a brief shut-down for COVID retooling. Both the two-hour Outdoor/Indoor and the one-hour Indoor only versions of The Trinity Project are now available for booking with improved COVID-19 health and safety measures in place. Play the most exciting two-hour spy adventure in the city.
Whale Watch at RBCM
Royal BC Museum’s Orcas: Our Shared Futures continues this summer. Dive deep into the stories and science that surround the magnificent orca, spirit of BC’s wild coast and apex predator of all oceans. Reserve your tickets in advance.
Roam Around at Fort Rodd Hill
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites are open, with limited access to visitor facilities and services. Visits are self-guided only. Events and interpretive programs are suspended until further notice. 10am-5pm daily.
Miniature World, located within the Empress Hotel, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am-4pm. The Greatest Little Show on Earth features over 85 miniature scenes. No more than six guests are permitted to enter (or gather within) the exhibit at any one time. Groups must be within the same household or “bubble.”
Get Out in the Garden
Butchart Gardens is open daily 9am-4pm (with viewing until 5pm), welcoming guests to take solace from this beautiful garden. Health protocols are in place, allowing for physical distancing, capacity monitoring and sanitary precautions.
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.
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.
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 at “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).
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.
While Away the Day at Witty’s
Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park in Metchosin offers more than 5 kms of beautiful trails through woodland, past lagoon and marsh. Watch for birds as you meander down to the sandy beach. The Nature House at the trailhead has great displays. Check for opening hours. On Metchosin Road, approximately 40 minutes from downtown Victoria.
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.
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.
Make a Splash at Thetis Lake
Hike scenic trails hugging Upper and Lower Thetis lakes. The beach area 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/day, $20/season.
“Star” Gaze at Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea
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. The Centre is open and welcomes visitors on Friday though Tuesday from 10am-4:30pm. Spend a moment with calming, drifting jellies. Take a peek at invertebrates of all shapes and colours.
Fly by 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.
Take a Swing at Golf
Mattick’s Farm Mini Golf is open weekends from 11am-5:30 (last tee off time at 4:45). Covid protocols are in place. After golfing, visit Mattick’s Farm Market for an ice cream cone from Adrienne’s Ice Cream. Or grab picnic ingredients from Red Barn Market and cycle the nearby Lochside Trail to a shady spot for a picturesque lunch break.
Seek Sun & Surf
Sure the water at Gonzales Beach is freezing, but it’s a beautiful sandy beach with south-facing views and sunshine. It’s great for skim boarding and splashing about in the shallow waters. Willows Beach has all the amenities at hand: bathrooms, tea room, playground and sweeping sandy beach. There’s a grassy park for picnics and trees for shade. Gyro Beach at Cadboro Bay is home of the Cadborosaurus! The ocean is no warmer at this beach, but the stretch of sand and nearby Cadboro-Gyro Park make it a hit with families.
Bowl, Ice Skate & Golf
City Centre Park in Langford has opened some facilities. There’s Mini-Golf, now open from 9am-9pm daily, drop-in ice skating at Westhills Arena, snacks at City Centre Grille and bowling at Langford Lanes. Playzone is temporarily closed.
Scream for Ice Cream
Beacon Hill Drive Inn. Cones, cups, sundaes and avalanches! So many choices—and you can’t go wrong (
beacondrivein.ca). Cold Comfort’s Cam Camteen window is open in summer and offers cool treats ranging from scoops of Plain Jane ice cream to Choc o’Clock Sandwiches and dairy-free options (coldcomfort.ca). Parachute Ice Cream is offering “walk-thru” scoop service daily from noon-7pm. Try the strawberry rhubarb sorbet or brown butter brownie (parachuteicecream.com).
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.