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Victoria's Best Beaches (Victoria, BC that is...)

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So here it is...my first blog on Simply Beachfront. The site is not even "live" yet, and I'm already blogging. I thought about hiring this job out, but then realized - who better could write this than someone who grew up in Victoria? I lived there until I was 19 and spent many of my teenage summers lounging on one of Victoria's only "scene" beaches...so I feel that makes me uniquely qualified to write this article.

I knew I wasn't frittering away my summers on the beach-look how handy that experience has come in now, Mom!

This is a typical Vancouver Island beach with characteristics of many of the beaches found in Victoria.

What is there to know about Victoria?

Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is a beautiful and well-kept city. Known as the "City of Gardens," it features a multitude of blooms and manicured gardens throughout the Spring until around October when the flowers wither and cooler temperatures set in.

In general, Victoria is not "hot;" however, the bonus to this is that it doesn't get too cold in the winter. If you have an image in your mind of Canada being a frozen tundra most of the winter, you can erase that image for Victoria.

Growing up, I was ecstatic the one winter there was black ice...it was the closest thing to a "white Christmas" I experienced throughout my 19 years living in Victoria.

The other thing to keep in mind about Victoria is that although it's not a frozen tundra, it's not exactly a tropical destination either. There is almost always a slight breeze, so unless it's sweltering hot, it's a good idea to carry a cardigan or hoodie along with you (especially at the beach).

If you're looking for a great swimming beach, I should mention that in general,  the ocean in Victoria is not really warm. You can swim during July and August but for the most part, you will probably not find yourself lounging in the sea for hours on end (unless hypothermia is your goal).

Although there are some intrepid souls who brave the water even in the colder months,  a "hot" day in Victoria is around around 25 degrees celsius. On days like this, a quick dip should suffice to cool you off and the kids can dabble comfortably in the shallow water with buckets and shovels, but you probably won't be going for a marathon type swim without a wetsuit.

Beachcombing in Sidney, B.C.

There are literally hundreds of beaches dotted around Victoria and the majority of them are accessible to the public through hidden beach accesses in residential areas. Some of the better known beaches that are easily accessed by the public include Island View Beach (Saanich Peninsula), Gonzales Beach (Oak Bay/Fairfield), Willows Beach, beach along Dallas Road, the Inner Harbour (ok, not really a beach per se, but merits mention here) and Witty's Lagoon. 

The places where Victoriorites (is that a word?) go to really swim (ie. for longer than 15 minutes) are the many lakes around the capital which feature warmer waters in the summer months. These lakes include Elk Lake (which also features a huge rowing centre), Beaver Lake, Thetis Lake and Prior Lake (the only official clothing-optional spot in Victoria). Besides Prior, these lakes are family-friendly and can also be a draw for the teen crowd in summers.

Check conditions in advance, as the lakes are closed periodically with algal blooms, etc...

Although not a lake and not overly warm, the Sooke potholes are another popular hidden spot for swimming in summers. Note: Safety first at the potholes, many have been injured or worse jumping from the rocks.

If you really love ocean swimming, but like your water a bit warmer, we would suggest some of the beaches further North on the Island (Parksville, Saratoga & more). More on that in another blog soon.

 

So now, without further ado, here are my votes for the best beach spots around the capital:

 

Best "Scene/Suntanning" Beaches:

 

1. Willows Beach (if you call a "scene" a few younger people suntanning mixed with elderly people walking their dogs...but hey, it's Victoria).

2. Thetis Lake (teen scene).

 

Best Beaches For a Walk/Jog:

 

1. Seawall stretching from Ogden Point Breakwater (just "the Breakwater" for those in the know) along Dallas Road - just a short jog from the Inner Harbour.

2. Sidney also features a good seawall for  a walk or jogging.

 

Best Urban Waterfront Scene:

 

1. Downtown Inner Harbour Seawall (lively scene especially in summer featuring artists, buskers, festivals and close walk to upscale downtown shopping/restaurants).

 

Best Family Beaches:

 

2-Way Tie: Island View and Cadboro Bay are both sandy (in Victoria terms) and not too overcrowded. Cadoro Bay has a fabulous playground as well.

 

Victoria Beach Activities

 

There are many water activities & wildlife viewing opportunities available in and around Victoria. Here are a few:

 

  • Whale Watching
  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Diving
  • Windsurfing

 

You will not find surfing in Victoria as most of the beaches are protected and the waves not large enough. The nearest surfing beach is Sombrio Beach up the east coast of the island near Sooke and there is also great surfing in and beachfront accommodations in Tofino on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

If your are looking for waterfront accommodation in Victoria, the majority of it is located in and around the Inner Harbour downtown although many are semi-waterfront (across the road from the water). 

Vacation rentals and B&Bs can be found on some of the smaller residential beaches around the city, but there is not really a beach that is lined with resorts as you may find in other towns. Outside of downtown, in areas such as Sidney and Brentwood, you can also find some luxurious waterfront hotels and resorts. 

Obviously, you can click here to find Victoria area waterfront accommodations on our site! Just type "Victoria" into the search bar and you will get a list of all the Victoria area beachfront hotels & resorts on our site (including Brentwood and Sidney). 

Well, what do you think? Agree with me or have other opinions/suggestions? Beach Club members, feel free to add your comments or rate this post below!

 

 

 

 

©Simply Beachfront 2015
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Graduating Cum Laude from UBC in 1995 with an Honours Degree in Languages, Sharleen took her enthusiasm and zest for excellence into tourism and international education. After over ten years of a rewarding career in tourism, which included extensive travel in Western Europe and work in Madrid, Spain she found her true passion and life's work: creating exclusive niche websites focusing on waterfront and luxury real estate and tourism markets. “Every position I had in the workplace, from sales to management, prepared me perfectly for my own business, and creating a series of niche websites dedicated to the waterfront real estate and tourism markets was the natural evolution of Waterfront West."


As the founder and owner of Waterfront West, Sharleen's visionary leadership has taken Waterfront West to the pinnacle of luxury home marketing, dominating the internet for B.C. waterfront coverage. She has been interviewed by numerous newspapers, has appeared nationwide on CBC television and is often called by journalists looking for the latest trends in the waterfront market.  Today, Waterfront West is comprised of bothwww.waterfrontwest.com and www.simplybeachfront.com. Sharleen keeps up-to-date with trends in technology and marketing to ensure Waterfront West  Real Estate continues its well-earned success.

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