The beaches, ice cream, and restaurant patios are calling this summer in Victoria. Read on for ideas to make the most of the summer, whether your idea of the perfect day is lounging on the beach, ziplining through the woods, or something in between.
1. Camping is a must
Sleeping outside epitomizes summertime, and in Victoria, you may set up a tent by a lake, an ocean, or, better yet, a west coast rainforest. Within a two-hour drive of the city, picturesque places like Sooke, Goldstream Provincial Park, and Port Renfrew offer several choices for camping.
2. Cool down with something cool
Ice cream and gelato taste even better in the summer for some reason. Especially when it is taken in a while outside in the warmth of the company at Beacon Hill Park, pick up a cone of the renowned soft-serve from the Beacon Drive-In, treat yourself to a decadently rich cookie ice cream sandwich from The Cookie Guy, or indulge in real gelato at Mosi Gelato.
3. Go to the beach
You’re in luck since Victoria is surrounded by breathtaking beaches that are just waiting to be discovered. Try Willows Beach in Oak Bay or Cadboro-Gyro Park in Gordon Head for a sandy, kid-friendly beach with lots of area for activities. Visit the frequently captured Mystic Beach, Sombrio Beach, Sandcut Beach, and Botanical Beach along the Pacific Marine Circle Route for a genuine west coast beach trip.
4. Travel by Harbour Ferry
The Victoria Harbour Ferry, a fleet of “pickle boats” that speed across the Inner Harbour between famous sites like the Fairmont Empress, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Spinnaker’s Gastro Brewpub, is one of the most unusual ways to move about Victoria. You have a choice of taking a gorgeous harbour mini-cruise or using the ferry for transit.
5. Eat outdoor
This is the time of year for outdoor dining. Pick up picnic supplies at the Victoria Public Market, or get a sandwich to go at Agrius Restaurant or Chorizo & Co. Take advantage of Victoria’s numerous parks and beaches to enjoy your meal, such as Gonzales Beach in Fairfield or Beacon Hill Park (only 15 minutes away from the Inner Harbour).
Saanichton’s Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse provides a wonderful outdoor dining experience. Check out our Victoria Patio Dining Guide for a complete list of eateries that provide outdoor service for more ideas.
6. Get on a bike
Getting on a bike while you’re visiting is a terrific way to see the city and experience life as a local. Victorians are proud of the city’s cycling culture. With new, divided bike lanes in the downtown area and two-way, concrete routes that meander around Greater Victoria, it’s simple to travel around without worrying about traffic.
Try the Galloping Goose Regional Trail or the Lochside Trail. Take a trip with The Pedaler or Bike Tours Victoria, or rent an e-bike from Pedego. Plan a guided ride with North 48 Bicycles if you want to try road riding.
7. Appreciate the summer blooms
Spend some time admiring the local gardens and floral displays when you visit the City of Gardens. There are several opportunities to petal peep everywhere you go, from well-known landscaped gardens like The Butchart Gardens and The Abkhazi Garden to the distinctive hanging baskets adorning the Inner Harbour causeways and city centre.
Take a stroll or bike ride through the communities of James Bay and Fairfield, where locals are renowned for their imaginative and vibrant displays, to see magnificent private gardens. Even better, you can reserve a guided trip with Victorian Garden Tours to see both public and private gardens in the city up close.
8. Have an outdoor adventure
Do you feel like trying something new? For a difficult circuit, a thrilling zip line through the trees, or an axe-throwing session, stop by WildPlay Victoria. Without a whale-watching expedition, a trip to Victoria would be incomplete. Discover the wonder of a naturalist-led whale viewing and marine wildlife excursion. Be ready for an unforgettable adventure by packing your camera. From three hours to a half-day, tours are available.
9. Discovery Island via kayak
On a personalized and distinctive kayaking excursion, discover the wild and untamed West Coast of Vancouver Island. Take in the magnificent vistas of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the San Juan Islands, and the Olympic Mountains as you paddle through the Discovery Island archipelago. The excursion also includes a picnic lunch, and a narrated nature walk along the expansive, driftwood-strewn shore of the island.
10. Check out Victoria Butterfly Gardens
The Victoria Butterfly Gardens & Insectarium, a tropical jungle about 30 minutes north of Victoria, is home to thousands of butterflies of about 70 different kinds. Along with magnificent gardens filled with carnivorous plants, frogs, koi fish, tortoises, giant iguanas, and soaring birds, inside, you’ll also discover them. Visit the insectarium to observe how a leaf-cutter ant colony manages its habitat through cooperative behaviour.