Mount Douglas Park
Park your car at the entrance and take one of the many beautiful trails to the top. Or, if you’re feeling a little lazy, just drive to the top! No matter how you get there, the view on top is beautiful! Preferably go there on a clear day so you’ll be able to see Victoria and also the surrounding mountains and Gulf Islands.
With its extensive hiking trails winding through old growth rainforests and waterfalls, Goldstream is a great place to spend the day (or a few days) communing with nature. Goldstream Park has beautiful scenery, great hiking, a train trestle, a waterfall, a campground, and tons of salmon especially during spawning season
This park was established as Canada’s first nature sanctuary way back in 1958.
Feel like going for a swim, a paddle or a nice hike? Feel like meeting lots of people? Well, then Thetis Lake is the place for you! It’s actually 2 large, connected lakes with a couple little islands hanging out, and it has lots of trails to hike, tons of places to sunbathe, warm water, and young, fun people everywhere.
When Victoria residents sense that summer is here and it’s time to get into swimsuits and throw some beers in a backpack, Sooke Potholes tends to be at the top of their lists. The swimming is extraordinary and there’s some good hiking. It’s a great place to be when the city is just way too hot.The best is to go there on a really scorching day, because the water is super-cold. So you get the cutest person around to throw some sunscreen on you, and chill out on some rocks ’till you can’t stand the heat, then jump in the freezing water and swim around ’till you get a bit chilly, get out and repeat maybe… 20 or 30 times, or until you get bored. Then do some hiking! The river flows from one naturally formed pool into the next, making fun waterfalls in between! This isn’t the safest swimming environment, though, so keep your water safety in mind, and always swim with friends.
In the neighbourhood of Oak Bay, this stretch of sandy white beach is a popular hang out in the summer. To the north of the beach are Uplands Park and Cattle Point, where you can hike through a beautiful Gary Oak forest.
Witty’s Lagoon is an ideal start to getting familiar with Victoria and its surrounding area. A half hour drive from the city, there are some great beaches, trails and a sandy lagoon to entice you to enjoy your leisure time. During the off-season, you can view “Sitting Lady’s Fall”–a creek flowing over volcanic rock– in all her glory.
The Butchart Gardens, one of the biggest attractions in Victoria, has 55 acres of wonderful floral display. Throughout the seasons there is always something of interest in the various gardens: from the fragrant, winter blooming shrubs, to the fresh delights of spring, to the abundance of summer colour, to the grand finale of autumn. Be sure to check out the Saturday night fireworks in the summer!
This legendary Victorian mansion, built on a hill overlooking the City of Victoria (Craigdarroch means “rocky, oak place” in Gaelic) announced to the world that the Dunsmuir family were the richest and most important family in Western Canada. The immense fortune of the Dunsmuir family is reflected in the four floors of exquisite stained glass windows, intricate woodwork and fabulous Victorian era furnishings. Craigdarroch Castle remains today as one of the finest examples of high Victorian architecture on the West Coast.