Day Trips From Victoria

posted on Feb 27

There are many beautiful places to visit, which are close enough to Victoria that you can enjoy a round trip journey to them, by car, in a single day. Today I’m posting a trip up the west coast of Vancouver Island that I call "To Sooke and Beyond".

The south west coast of Vancouver Island is dotted with rugged beaches that are strewn with driftwood and where the waves can sometimes be large and stormy. In the summer the waters are relatively calm and at any time of the year (on a clear day) the views across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains in Washington State are unsurpassed. This is a trip you can complete quite easily in a day, providing you don’t stay too long in any one place.

Follow Douglas Street out of town and it eventually becomes Highway 1. Stay on Highway 1 until you see the signs for the exit to Sooke. Follow the Sooke Road for approximately 10 – 15 kms (it goes through the communities of Colwood and Langford and then becomes a winding road through the country).

Just before you reach the little fishing community of Sooke watch for a sign on the right that points to the Sooke Potholes Regional Park.

(Time elapsed to reach this point, approximately 1 hour).

Turn right off the Sooke Road and go about 2 kms until you reach the parking lot. Take a short walk along the trail that takes you to the lookout points where you will look down on the river, waterfalls and the potholes, it’s quite spectacular.

(Stay approximately 30 minutes)

Return to the Sooke Road and turn right. The highway goes over a bridge that crosses the Sooke River after which you will enter the village of Sooke. You could stop for a coffee here but there’s not really much more to see.

Keep following the highway north out of Sooke. In now becomes the West Coast Road. Keep going for about 30 minutes until you see a sign pointing to French Beach Provincial Park. Turn left across the highway and into the parking lot. It’s a short 2 minute walk from the parking lot down to the beach. There are picnic benches and fire pits in the grassy area just before you get to the beach so you can stop and eat a picnic if you like.

Stay approximately 1 hour-depending on weather).

Leave the parking lot and turn left onto the West Coast Road. Drive approximately 10 minutes and look for Point-No-Point Resort, it’s worth stopping for tea or a bite of lunch if you want.

Keep following the West Coast Highway for another 30 minutes or so until you reach Jordan River. On a windy day you’ll see surfers here as there’s some big west coast waves that roll in. You can pull over to the side of the highway and watch them. It makes for a nice stop along the way.

Follow the highway north out of Jordan River and drive about 10 minutes until you see a sign pointing to China Beach Provincial Park. Turn left across the highway and drive down into the parking lot (don’t go into the campground parking area on the right, keep following the road down into the day parking lot). There’s a trail down to the beach, it’s about a 15 minute walk and it’s a bit steep but not a real problem for most people. This is a beach that is definitely worth visiting.

(Stay approximately 1 hour-depending on the weather)

At the point you leave China Beach you will need to make a decision whether to carry on up the West Coast Highway to Port Renfrew, or to head back into Victoria. The drive up to Port Renfrew is about another 1.5 hours from this point along a very windy road, so the going can be slow. The main feature in Port Renfrew is Botanical Beach, which is just outside of town. In order to benefit from a visit to Botanical Beach you need to know whether the tide is “in” or “out”. If the tide is out then it’s a fantastic spot to visit in order to examine the many tidal pools and the variety of marine species therein. If the tide is “in” then there’s really not much to see there. A good stop for afternoon tea is the Port Renfrew Hotel.

Depending upon traffic conditions, time of year, how long you stay at places, the weather etc. etc. you can do most of these things in a “long” day, or just up to, and including China Beach in a “regular” day.

Don’t forget, if you’re looking for a place to stay in Victoria, please check out our web site City Life Suites.It’s a great "Hotel Alternative" in the heart of downtown Victoria.