Victoria, BC is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in British Columbia. Being surrounded on three sides by the ocean makes Victoria the perfect spot for finding scenic beaches. Best of all, most of these great beaches are only a short drive away from downtown Victoria!
Victoria has a seemingly endless diversity of beaches just waiting to be explored. The city’s coast is a mix of gorgeous sandy shorelines, stunning pebble beaches, rugged rocky coastlines, and impressive ocean cliffs. In one day, you can go from laying on warm soft sand to exploring the miniature marine worlds captured in the rocky tide pools. Each beach is incredibly unique and there’s something for everyone to enjoy!
From the beaches in Victoria, you can often spot harbour seals floating in the waves and river otters hunting for fish. Sometimes, pods of orcas are even spotted swimming past the city! Also, the beaches have all kinds of seabirds and are great for birdwatching. Often, there will be herons posed like statues in the shallow waters, and sea birds swimming with beaks full of silvery fish. You’ll want to bring your binoculars!
You’ll never get bored exploring Victoria’s coastline. While all of Victoria’s beaches are scenic, some of the beaches are more beautiful than others. These beaches are absolute must-sees on any trip to Victoria and Southern Vancouver Island.
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Most Beautiful Beaches in Victoria, BC
I’ve picked out the beaches that I think are the most beautiful in Victoria, BC. My recommendations are based on my exploration of as many beaches in Victoria as possible. Of course, this list is subjective and based on my opinion of what makes a beach beautiful. However, I think we can all agree that these beaches are scenic and worth a visit!
In no particular order, here is a list of the 11 most beautiful beaches in Victoria, BC!
1. Spiral Beach on Dallas Road
With a long rocky beach, views of the impressive Olympic Mountains, and stunning coastal cliffs, Spiral Beach is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Victoria, BC. Large cliffs covered in vegetation loom over the pebble beach, with driftwood logs strewn across the rocks. You can walk along the top of the cliffs, with a great view of the beach below. Alternatively, walk along the rocky beach, exploring the driftwood and kelp washed up by the waves.
Often, you’ll be able to watch kite surfers and paragliders playing in the wind. The area is also a popular spot for flying massive kites! You can sunbathe at this beach, but it’s not a great spot for swimming due to the rocks.
At one end, the beach has a beautiful painted staircase. The brilliant colours of the stairs contrast beautifully against the rocky coast. Near the stairs, you’ll often spot carvings and paintings adorning the driftwood logs.
Additionally, Spiral Beach is just below the incredibly scenic Dallas Road waterfront pathway. This oceanside road leads to the beautiful gardens of Beacon Hill, Victoria’s downtown area, and the popular Ogden Point Breakwater!
2. Island View Beach Regional Park
At Island View Beach, you’ll find a never-ending sand and pebble beach that stretches along the eastern Saanich Peninsula. Here, you can walk along hundreds of meters of gorgeous beach before heading back through an inland trail featuring dunes and thickets.
From the beach, you’ll get panoramic views of the Haro Strait, Mount Baker, and the sea cliffs of James Island. The expansive beach is lined with boulders, driftwood, pebbles, and soft sand. It’s a great spot for sunbathing, quick dips in the ocean, and kayaking.
Many bird species can be found along the shore and on the inland trail. As a result, the area is very popular with birdwatchers. Additionally, marine mammals like seals and sea lions can be spotted swimming past the beach.
Island View Beach is incredibly picturesque. It’s the perfect spot to start your day by watching the sunrise turn the ocean colors of red and orange. The beach is also great for stargazing because it’s further from the light pollution of the city.
Esquimalt Lagoon is one of the more unique, beautiful beaches in Victoria, BC. This long, scenic beach stretches along the Coberg Peninsula, a spit of sand and rock that encloses the lagoon. At one end of the peninsula, there is a small channel connecting the lagoon to the ocean. You can even drive along the peninsula on Ocean Boulevard!
The lagoon has an incredibly unique beach that’s worth the visit. All kinds of driftwood sculptures of birds and mythical creatures line the beach. Over the lagoon, you’ll spot the massive Hatley Castle. Also nearby, there is a picturesque lighthouse watching over the coast and a historic military site that you can explore.
The beach at Esquimalt Lagoon is perfect for a long walk, sunbathing, and swimming (if you can brave the cold water). You can stroll down the beach and then return on the lagoon path, enjoying both sides of the peninsula. Look for birds while you’re walking. Esquimalt Lagoon is designated as a migratory bird sanctuary, so it’s the perfect spot for birdwatching!
4. Willows Beach
Willows Beach is one of the best sandy beaches in Victoria, as well as one of the most popular. With a long sandy beach and an expansive grassy park, Willows Beach is perfect for spending the day outside. You can relax in the sun, play beach games, splash in the shallow water, and picnic on the grass.
You’ll usually see people playing beach volleyball on the south side of the beach or lawn games in the park. It’s also a popular event venue and is home to the annual Oak Bay Tea Party. Around Christmas, you can even watch a lighted ship parade from the shore of Willows Beach!
Almost every time I visit Willows Beach, I’ll spot wildlife. River otters like fishing along the north side of the beach. Often, harbour seals will be lazily swimming in the sun. And, motionless herons can be spotted fishing in the shallow waters. Sometimes, you’ll even spot black-tailed deer going for a dip in the ocean!
Willows Beach is just south of Cattle Point and Uplands Park. These are amazing spots for looking in tide pools and walking through purple Camas flowers in rare Gary Oak Meadows. Also, Cattle Point is a great spot to launch a kayak or boat and explore the coast around Willows Beach.
5. Mount Douglas Beach
Along the shores of Cordova Bay, you’ll find the gorgeous Mount Douglas Beach. This rocky beach is located in the 188-hectare Mount Douglas Park in Gordon Head, Victoria.
The massive park also features the stunning Mount Douglas, a 213-meter tall urban mountain. This mountain is known as Mount Doug by locals or PKOLS in SENĆOŦEN. The park also has an extensive walking trail network of varying difficulties. Most of the paths lead to the main Mount Doug peak or the smaller second summit, Little Mount Doug.
While one of the highlights of the park is the spectacular views from Mount Doug’s summit, the beach is also a must-see! The rocky beach has gorgeous views of the Haro Strait and the San Juan Islands. Towering Douglas Firs and Cedars shelter the beach, and a salmon-spawning stream runs into the ocean beside the beach entrance.
Mount Douglas Beach isn’t a great beach for swimming, but it’s a great spot to explore on foot or in a kayak. When the tide goes out, you can walk quite far along the beach. Look for crabs hiding under the rocks, clams squirting seawater into the air, and bald eagles fishing off-shore!
6. Glencoe Cove-Kwatsech Park
Glencoe Cove-Kwatsech Park in Gordon Head, Victoria, is an incredibly scenic park with a lot to offer. This park has everything from multiple beaches in rocky coves to fantastic views of the Haro Strait. At this park, short walking trails take you through meadows and shrubs to rocky viewpoints and multiple beaches. The park has three beaches, all with calm, protected water in sheltered rocky coves.
The beach on the north side of the park is the largest, surrounded by steep slopes and accessed via stairs. On the west side of the north beach, you can spot a cormorant rookery, a nesting colony of oily-black colored sea birds.
In the middle of the park, you’ll find a small rocky beach that is great for launching kayaks. This beach is accessed via a path that leads down to the water through the grass. The other beaches are more popular, so you might have this beach all to yourself!
Lastly, on the south side of the park, you’ll find another pebble beach, nestled in Glencoe Cove. During high tides, access to this beach is limited. This beach is a great spot to see river otters swimming in the water or eating fish on the rocky shore. The park is also a good spot for seeing sea lions and the occasional grey whale or humpback whale.
Also, there are shell middens hidden on the slopes of the south beach. These are remnants of past use of this area by First Nations peoples. The name of this park reflects the area’s history as a Lekwungen village site. Their word for Gordon Head point is ‘Kwatsech’, hence the name of the park.
Nestled in a sheltered bay, Gonzales Beach is a beautiful beach in Victoria with calm, clear water and gorgeous sand! It’s an incredibly picturesque beach, perfect for sunbathing on a hot summer day. The sheltered water is also great for wading and swimming. Also, Gonzales Bay is a popular spot for kayaking and paddleboarding.
On the edges of Gonzales Bay, the sandy beach turns to rock. Here, you’ll find tide pools with all kinds of intertidal marine creatures. Look for crabs hiding in the tidal pools, and starfish and urchins clinging to the rocks in the water.
You can also spot lots of marine mammals from Gonzales Bay. Commonly, you’ll spot harbour seals swimming around the beach. Sometimes, a moulting elephant seal can be found relaxing on the sand. Also, I’ve spotted a pod of orcas swimming past the edges of the bay. Bring binoculars, just in case!
During low tide, the sun reflects ripples of light onto the sand at Gonzales Beach. At high tide, the beach entirely disappears underwater!
Above the beach, there are grass terraces overlooking the water. Even the washroom building is beautiful, painted with colourful designs of fish and marine life!
8. Cordova Bay Beach
Cordova Bay Beach is a gorgeous sand-and-pebble beach that stretches along the edge of Cordova Bay. The beach is located just beside Cordova Bay Road. This beach is so long that it never feels too crowded. Here, you can walk for what feels like forever along the beach, enjoying views of the San Juan Islands and the Haro Strait.
If you’re looking for a good place to sunbathe, Cordova Bay Beach is a good choice. You can also swim at this beach, although expect the water to be cold!
This beach is hidden behind the cottages, restaurants, and other buildings that line Cordova Bay Road. There are a few access points along the beach, although parking is limited. Cordova Bay Park is a good spot to park and access the beach. The park also has a small playground.
If you head south on Cordova Bay Beach, the beach gets rockier. You’ll also find small rock cliffs along the edge of the beach. South of the Timber Place beach access, there is even a popular spot for rock-climbing when the tide is out. Also, at low tide, you’ll often spot clams squirting water into the air. You might even get sprayed!
9. Cadboro-Gyro Park
Cadboro-Gyro Park features a gorgeous, long sandy beach with calm, shallow ocean water. It has incredibly soft sand and amazing views of Cadboro Bay, the Chatham Islands, and the distant Olympic Mountains. It’s no surprise that this beach is one of the most popular beaches in Victoria, BC. However, the beach isn’t the only reason that this park is so popular!
At this park, you’ll find one of the best and most unique playgrounds in the entire city. It’s even been named one of the top unique playgrounds in the world by Fodor’s Travel!
What’s so unique about this playground? The oceanfront playground features huge, climbable sea creature sculptures. There is a giant octopus, a blue salmon, and the mythical Cadborosaurus (or “Caddy”). The Cadborosaurus sculpture is based on a legend of a sea serpent that was spotted in the 1930s from the shore of Cadboro Bay.
The playground makes this beach very family-friendly, and great for an entire day out by the water! The beach is great for swimming and wading. It’s also a great spot for kayaking and paddleboarding because the water is so calm.
10. Arbutus Cove Park
One of the lesser-known but still beautiful beaches in Victoria, BC, is at Arbutus Cove Park in Gordon Head, Victoria. Surrounded by steep slopes with shrubs and tall trees, this cove is quite beautiful. This gorgeous rocky beach has great views of the Haro Strait and the San Juan Islands.
The beach is quite rocky, with larger rocks at the water’s edge. However, when the tide goes out, the ocean reveals a large sand bar. The sand is wonderful to walk on with bare feet. It’s a great spot for wading, once you get past the rocks.
Arbutus Cove neighbors Hollydene Park, separated by rock when the tide is high. At low tide, you can walk over to Hollydene Park, and enjoy the sandier side of the cove.
Arbutus Cove Park is accessed via a steep set of stairs. It might be difficult for some people to access. Also, this beach isn’t as well known as some of the other beaches on this list. It tends to be more quiet and secluded, making it perfect for a peaceful beach day.
11. Thetis Lake
The last most beautiful Victoria beach on my list is the main beach at Thetis Lake Regional Park. This beach isn’t even on the ocean! However, this beach is so beautiful that I couldn’t leave it off my list.
Thetis Lake Regional Park has two gorgeous lakes, Upper and Lower Thetis Lakes, joined in one spot in the north. The main beach is located on the south side of Lower Thetis Lake, near the main parking lot. This lake also has a west beach, but it is more popular with dog owners and for launching non-motorized boats.
Thetis Lake is great for swimming and one of the best swimming spots in Victoria, BC. In the summer, the water warms up enough that you’ll feel comfortable swimming for long periods. This is unlike the other ocean beaches, which have really cold water! The lake is also an extremely popular spot for kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing.
The park also has an extensive trail network, so you can explore both lakes and the surrounding forest. For a great view of the lakes, head up Seymour Hill on the east side of the park. The climb up Seymour Hill is short and extremely rewarding!
Best Oceanfront Hotels in Victoria
After spending the day at one of Victoria’s many beautiful beaches, what’s better than returning to a hotel with an amazing ocean view? Here are a couple of my top recommendations for the best oceanfront hotels in Victoria!
Oak Bay Beach Hotel – Top Choice
My favorite beach hotel in all of Victoria is the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Not too far from Willows Beach, this beautiful hotel is right on the ocean. From your room, you’ll have amazing views of Discovery Island, Mount Baker, and Victoria’s coastline.
The best thing about this hotel is the oceanfront gardens and heated mineral pools, complete with an oceanside firepit. You can soak in these awesome mineral pools while enjoying spectacular views of the ocean. It’ll almost be like you’re swimming in the ocean – but much warmer!
This hotel has everything you need, from comfortable beds to amazing staff service. Not to mention, they have a restaurant with delicious food and a luxurious spa!
Birds of a Feather Ocean Lagoon B&B – Best Price
A close runner-up for best beach hotel is Birds of a Feather Victoria Ocean Lagoon B&B in Esquimalt. This B&B is more affordable but still has an amazing location right on Esquimalt Lagoon. If you’re looking for a beachside hotel, this is one of the closest hotels to the beach that you’ll get in the city!
With a tranquil location, a hot tub, hammocks, and amazingly comfortable rooms, you’ll spend your vacation here completely relaxed. This B&B even has a dock where you can sit and enjoy views over the lagoon. The dock is perfect for sunrises and sunsets! Also, you can borrow a kayak or bike from them to explore the lagoon waters and the city.
The rooms are quite nice and have a lot of well-thought-out details, like floor heating, a gas fireplace, and a rain showerhead. They even have a birding scope set up so you can watch the birds in the migratory bird sanctuary! They serve breakfast, including delicious freshly-baked muffins. You’ll be treated well if you stay at this B&B!
Best Time of Year to Visit the Beaches in Victoria
The summer months are the best time of year to visit Victoria’s beautiful beaches. During the summer, the weather is much warmer and less wet. The best months to visit Victoria are June, July, or August. These are the hottest months with the longest days and the least amount of rain and wind.
There are still great beach days to be found in the spring (March-May) and autumn (September-October). These months won’t be as warm, and there will be more clouds and rain. Even so, there will still be some stretches of sunny days with good beach weather. However, it might be too chilly to sunbathe, and you’ll probably want a coat or blanket on the cooler days.
The beaches in Victoria are also beautiful during the winter, although expect more clouds, rain, and wind. Usually, it won’t rain all day though, so you’ll still find good times to walk on the beach. The winter is also a good time for looking in tide pools and storm watching!
How to Get to Victoria, BC
It’s easy to get to Victoria by plane or ferry. If you fly, you can rent a car on the island to help you get around. Alternatively, if you take the ferry, you can bring your car (here are some tips to save money while traveling with BC Ferries).
Other Beautiful Beaches Around Southern Vancouver Island
Southern Vancouver Island has many beautiful beaches, so you shouldn’t just limit yourself to exploring the beaches around Victoria!
Some of my favorite beaches on the south side of the island are found along Highway 14. This highway connects Victoria to Port Renfrew. The small coastal community of Port Renfrew is home to the magical Botanical Beach. It also has the trailheads for the Juan de Fuca Trail and the famous West Coast Trail.
Highway 14 features many beaches with beautiful waterfalls that cascade right onto the beach. I recommend checking out Sandcut Beach, which has two amazing waterfalls flowing into a pool of water on the beach. Other beaches with waterfalls are Mystic Beach and Sombrio Beach, both in the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park.
There are also many beautiful beaches in the Southern Gulf Islands, such as the beaches at Sidney Spit on Sidney Island or Montague Harbour Provincial Park on Galiano Island (here’s my guide for getting to Galiano Island from Victoria).
I highly recommend checking out all of these beautiful beaches. All of these beaches are a lot of fun to explore. However, if you prefer sunbathing on the sand, check out my article that lists the best sandy beaches around Victoria.
For other things to do in Victoria and around Southern Vancouver Island, check out these articles: