Get Outside: Our Favourite Ways to Explore the Outdoors in Victoria, BC

Victoria is pure paradise in the summer. Not so hot you need air conditioning but warm enough to enjoy long, adventurous days in the great outdoors. From cycling and hiking to kayaking and ziplining, Victoria is surrounded by beautiful outdoor spaces. Following are some of our favourite activities and spots.

Cycling

With expanding infrastructure and many kilometres of bike paths, Victoria is a great place to explore by bicycle—see our blog from June to learn more about cycling here. We offer three main tours: the Highlights city tour, the Bikes n’ Bites tour, and the Harbour to Farm tour. You can also rent bikes from our homebase, the North 48 bike shop which offers long-distance tours.

Our favourite places to ride to, outside of our tours, are My Chosen Café in Metchosin (ride the Galloping Goose trail for about 25 kilometres, then turn left onto Happy Valley Road when the two intersect), Sea Cider in Saanichton (take the Lochside trail about 20km and turn left on Mt. Newton Cross Road, then right on Central Saanich Rd—follow the signs to the cidery), and to Thetis Lake for a swim (take the Galloping Goose trail until you get to Six Mile Rd—follow it up to the lake).

Mountain Biking

If you want to add some more adrenaline to your cycling experience, Victoria has a local mountain bike park with a variety of trails for all levels of riders. The Hartland bike park is about 25 minutes away from downtown and has washrooms, a bike wash station and lots of parking. You’ll need to bring your own bike or rent a bike in town at Oak Bay Bikes or SportsRent. You can also ride and rent bikes at Bear Mountain, about 30 minutes from downtown Victoria.

Hiking

Victoria has lots of great local hiking trails at Mount Douglas Park, Goldstream Provincial Park, and Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Hike Victoria offers guided hiking tours, a great way to learn more about the flora and fauna you see along the way.

We’re also about an hours’ drive from the Juan De Fuca Provincial Park, past Sooke and where you’ll find the multi-day Juan De Fuca Marine and West Coast trail hikes (you have to book way ahead to do the latter), as well as some really nice shorter trails (we love Mystic Beach!). East Sooke Regional Park is another great hiking spot where visitors can find Coast Salish petroglyphs.   

Head even further to the town of Port Renfrew (about 2 hours’ drive) to see the beautiful Botanical Beach and Avatar Grove, where you hike amongst gigantic old growth trees.

Swimming

You’ll see lots of people swimming in the ocean off of Willows Beach in Oak Bay or Gonzales Beach. It’s pretty cold, though! We prefer the warmer freshwater lakes: Thetis, Durrance—both of which have great hiking trails—and Elk/Beaver, which has a 10-kilometre path circling it for those into running. All three lakes have washrooms and parking (Thetis has paid parking). Another great spot is the cascading pools at Sooke Potholes.

Paddling

Whether you prefer sitting in a kayak or standing on a paddleboard, there are many great paddling spots around Victoria. You can rent a boat or board right near the water at Ocean River Sports and paddle up The Gorge, offering great views of Victoria’s working inner harbour. The aforementioned Willows and Gonzales beaches and lakes are also great paddling spots. Or, you can head up to Brentwood Bay and see Butchart Gardens from another angle.

Adventure Tours

AdrenaLine and WildPlay offer really fun zipline tours—a great way to see the surrounding rainforest! And if you want to see humpbacks, orcas, sea lions, and harbour porpoises, Eagle Wing Tours offers environmental and socially-minded whale watching tours.

That’s more than enough to keep you busy and active during your stay in Victoria!

Interested in a private cycling tour? Inquire today!