While Victoria is often thought of as the urban hub of British Columbia, it’s also the gateway to adventure. One look around and you’ll find paddle boards and kayaks in the Harbour nearby and bicycles whizzing past on Dallas Road. Whether you are on the lookout for wildlife or want to try your hand at competitive golfing, with our guide to unforgettable outdoor adventures at your fingertips, you have no excuse not to get out and enjoy your precious summer days!

Victoria, BC Getaways

1. Explore an Abandoned Railroad

Stretching from Leechtown through Victoria and up to Swartz Bay, the Galloping Goose Trail serves as a gateway to some of the island’s top sights. Formerly a railroad, the abandoned route has been converted to provide access to 55km/34mi of some of the most scenic landscapes in British Columbia.

Grab a bike (we highly recommend The Pedaler located right across from our Victoria terminal!), hop on the trail near downtown Victoria in Burnside, and follow it southwest across the picturesque Selkirk trestle. Or, wind your way north through Saanich toward Sidney for excellent farm and beachfront views.

The Galloping Goose crosses the Selkirk Trestle, connecting Victoria West to the neighborhood of Burnside. Credit: Nick Bentley
The Galloping Goose crosses the Selkirk Trestle, connecting Victoria West to the neighborhood of Burnside. Credit: Nick Bentley

2. Meet Victoria’s Local Wildlife

Surrounded by water, forests and mountains, Victoria is home to its fair share of wild animals. Stroll through the quiet and peaceful Ross Bay Cemetery to catch sight of resident deer or venture over to Beacon Hill Park to observe bald eagles, peacocks and blue herons. Looking for more feathered friends? Birders should be sure to head to Swan Lake Christmas Hill Sanctuary, where a variety of birds and small animals are often spotted in the projected marshland of lake-turned-conservation park.

If you have a soft spot for creatures of the whale? You’ve come to the right place. The island’s waters are home to gentle giants such as humpbacks, orcas and harbor porpoise. Meet these mighty beasts in person with a Five Star Whale Watching tour, which provides an intimate experience on the Salish Sea with local marine mammals of all kinds, with an emphasis on conservation and education.

An orca surfaces in the Salish Sea, showing off its underbelly to passengers aboard a Five Star cruise.
An orca surfaces in the Salish Sea, showing off its underbelly to passengers aboard a Five Star cruise.

3. Sink Some Holes

Bluebird skies, rolling greens and and stunning ocean views up your alley? Spending a gorgeous summer day putting your swing to the test on some of Vancouver Island’s finest links should do the trick. If you’re looking for the ultimate golf destination, the pair of Jack Nicklaus co-designed courses at Westin Bear Mountain Resort & Spa are among the most unique and entertaining greens in Canada. The rugged Mountain Course offers up a challenging landscape while the Valley Course meanders through lush forests and borders sparkling lakes.

As you make your way along the links, enjoy scenic vistas of Mt. Finlayson, the Strait of Juan De Fuca and the city of Victoria, all spread out below. In fall, don’t miss out when the resort plays host to the largest sporting event on Vancouver Island, the Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship, a PGA Tour Champions event.

Practice your skills on the greens while soaking up some fantastic island views at Westin Bear Mountain Resort. Credit: Westin Bear Mountain Resort
Practice your skills on the greens while soaking up some fantastic island views at Westin Bear Mountain Resort. Credit: Westin Bear Mountain Resort

4. Float to Your Next Adventure

Think you’ve seen everything in Victoria? Well, there’s a watery flip side to every landlocked vista. Experience more of the island than what meets the eye with a kayak and paddles! Soak in unique views of the Inner Harbour, Victoria West and landmarks such as the Trial Islands and the Ogden Point Breakwater as you gracefully glide through the Salish Sea. You may even make friends with a playful seal or harbor porpoise along the way!

Gather up your friends and family for a relaxing and refreshing day spent exploring Victoria by water. Credit: Ocean River Adventures
Gather up your friends and family for a relaxing and refreshing day spent exploring Victoria by water. Credit: Ocean River Adventures

5. Uncover a Northwest Oasis

With ancient old growth conifers towering overhead and gently flowing waters at your feet, pristine wilderness unfolds as you enter Goldstream Provincial Park. Wander past the park’s streams and catch a glimpse of river otters or beavers if you’re lucky, and listen to the chirp of birds as you hike upstream to the impressive Niagara Falls, so named as it’s almost the same height as its East Coast cousin.

If you are looking for more jaw-dropping views, head northward from the parking lot and through the tunnel and you’ll soon come across the impressive Goldstream Trestle, its original wood and metal beams soaring hundreds of feet overhead.

Cool waters rush underfoot as you make your way toward Goldstream’s epic Niagara Falls. Credit: Gpoo
Cool waters rush underfoot as you make your way toward Goldstream’s epic Niagara Falls. Credit: Gpoo

6. Pedal Your Way Through Victoria

On sunny days, the city takes on a bohemian vibe, with bicycles lining seaside pathways like Dallas Road. If you’re itching to get in on the action, swing by the Pedaler and pick up your own pair of wheels! Once you’re ready to roll, hop on the Lochside Regional Trail for 18 miles of beach-hugging cycling road terminating toward Sidney at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

Another seaside route, Highway 14 heads out west toward Point No Point Resort, home to beachfront cabins complete with deck hot tubs and ocean views. Or, spend a leisurely day pedaling around Victoria and seeking out the city’s hidden gems. With flat waterfront roads and country lanes mere minutes from the downtown core, there’s no limit to the things you’ll see on two wheels.

Victoria’s best sights are seen from two wheels, with a breeze in your hair! Credit: Pedaler Bicycle Tours
Victoria’s best sights are seen from two wheels, with a breeze in your hair! Credit: Pedaler Bicycle Tours

7. Scale Victoria’s Peaks

Nothing gets the blood flowing like a hike deep into the island’s pristine wilderness parks. Nearby Mount Finlayson is a steep scramble that gives a good workout. At the top, you’ll find a rocky pinnacle offering views of Bear Mountain Resort and the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

Along the coast, East Sooke Park is one of the most scenic shoreline spreads on the entire island. Head to the Aylard Farm and follow the  Coast Trail to Cabin Point, then return via the Interior Trails for a forested path back to your starting point.

The Aylard Farm trailhead leads to a breathtaking scene as you make your way to the shoreline at East Sooke Park. Credit: msanseve
The Aylard Farm trail head leads to a breathtaking scene as you make your way to the shoreline at East Sooke Park. Credit: msanseve

Once you’ve had your daily dose of the outdoors, it doesn’t have to stop! Between your daily activities, you’ll catch glimpses of a shimmering Inner Harbour, distant Olympic Mountains and maybe some local wildlife! Whether you swing by the Legislative Lawn to smell the roses or amble through Beacon Hill Park, however your stay might unfold, Victoria always delivers with unbeatable outdoor adventures.

Book Your Victoria Trip Now

Clipper Recommends:

  • Want to see the sunset from spectacular Bear Mountain? Get Twilight tickets and soak up golden hour over the golfing greens.
  • For the brave, an AdrenaLINE zipline adventure is the ultimate outdoor experience! Eight zipline crossings range from 150 to 1000 feet above the forest floor on this thrilling excursion!

 

Feature Photo: Joenevill

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