Some of the most beautiful beaches in British Columbia are found in the city of Victoria. 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 the city’s center!
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. There’s something for everyone to enjoy!
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. In this guide, we cover the most beautiful beaches in Victoria. 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
We’ve picked out the beaches that we think are the most beautiful in Victoria, BC. Our recommendations are based on our exploration of as many beaches in Victoria as possible.
Of course, this list is subjective and based on our opinions of what makes a beach beautiful. If you disagree, that’s okay! No matter what, we probably 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. There are stairs located along the beach but the most popular access point is just south of Cook Street.
Often, you’ll be able to watch kite surfers and paragliders playing in the wind at the nearby Clover Point. 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 colors 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 Regional Park, 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 the inland Island View Beach 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. Plus, it’s not too far from the famous Butchart Gardens.
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. This beautiful beach is just off Island View Road. There’s even a regional park campground with a group fire ring that you can enjoy!
Esquimalt Lagoon is one of the more unique, beautiful beaches in Victoria. This long, scenic beach stretches along the Coberg Peninsula, a spit of sand and rock that encloses the shallow lagoon. At one end of the peninsula, there is a small tidal 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. Acros the lagoon, you’ll spot the massive Hatley Castle, part of the Royal Roads University. Also nearby, there is the picturesque Fisgard Lighthouse watching over the coast and a historic military site at Fort Rodd Hill 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!
Willows Beach is one of the best sandy beaches in Greater 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. Willows Beach is also a popular event venue and is home to the annual Oak Bay Tea Party. During summer, the city regularly hosts free yoga classes. Around Christmas, you can even watch a lighted ship parade from the shore of Willows Beach!
There’s a good chance you’ll spot wildlife at Willows Beach. River otters like fishing along the north side of the beach. Harbor seals like to swim slowly past the beach, enjoying the warm sun. 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, one of the best parks in 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. You can also drive to the top of Mount Doug on Churchill Drive.
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, just off Gordon Point Drive in Gordon Head, 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. Here, 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. If you’re lucky, 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 (for guaranteed sightings, head out on a whale-watching tour).
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! Ironically, this area used to be called Foul Bay, because the reefs made it difficult to anchor ships. However, 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 harbor seals swimming around the beach. Sometimes, a molting elephant seal can be found relaxing on the sand. Also, we’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 Bay Beach. At high tide, the beach entirely disappears underwater!
Above the beach, there are grass terraces overlooking the water near Crescent Road. 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
The beach at Cadboro-Gyro Park (named after Cadboro Bay and the non-profit Gyro Club) is another incredibly beautiful beach in Victoria. Also, we’ve rated Cadboro-Gyro Beach as one of the best sandy beaches and most accessible beaches in Victoria! Gyro Beach is definitely a must-see on any trip to the city!
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 is at Arbutus Cove Park in Gordon Head. 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 Beach 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 from Arbutus Cove Lane. The beach 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 our list is the main beach at Thetis Lake Regional Park, just off Six Mile Road in View Royal/Langford. This beach isn’t even on the ocean! However, the beach at Thetis Lake is so beautiful that we couldn’t leave it off our list. Also, Thetis is one of our favorite regional parks in Victoria.
Thetis Lake Regional Park has two gorgeous lakes, Upper and Lower Thetis Lakes, joined in one spot in the north. The main beach area 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. Dogs are allowed on the main beach during the winter, but not in the summer.
Thetis Lake is great for swimming and one of the best swimming spots in Victoria. 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 & Beachside 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 our top recommendations for the best oceanfront and beachside hotels in Victoria!
Oak Bay Beach Hotel – Top Choice
Our favorite oceanfront hotel in all of Victoria is the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Not too far from Willows Beach, this beautiful hotel is located right beside the ocean on the scenic Beach Drive. 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 the 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! You won’t regret a stay at this oceanfront hotel!
Birds of a Feather Ocean Lagoon B&B – Best Value
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. 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 for guests, 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 Esquimalt Lagoon Migratory Bird Sanctuary! Also, they serve breakfast, including delicious freshly-baked muffins. You’ll be treated well if you stay at this B&B!
The Fairmont Empress Hotel – Most Luxurious
If you’re looking for a luxurious hotel experience, The Fairmont Empress Hotel is the perfect option for you! This is the most famous hotel in all of Victoria. Many celebrities and royalty (like Queen Elizabeth) have stayed in this hotel. As well, the iconic Fairmont Empress is so popular that it’s even a tourist attraction itself, especially with its afternoon tea!
This beautiful hotel sits right on the Inner Harbour waterfront, on Government Street in downtown Victoria. This is an incredibly scenic location. You’ll have amazing views of boats in the harbor and seaplanes taking off from the water. As a bonus, you’ll be conveniently located close to many of Victoria’s other tourist attractions.
Not only is the Fairmont Empress beautiful, but you’ll have an amazing stay! The hotel staff is incredibly helpful and friendly. The modern guest rooms are very classy and comfortable, with many thoughtful details throughout. Plus, the hotel has everything you need on site, including a restaurant, spa, health club, and more!
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 many stretches of sunny days with good beach weather. However, it might be too chilly to sunbathe. Also, 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 our 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. We 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.
If you don’t mind venturing off the coast of Vancouver Island, there are also many beautiful beaches in the Southern Gulf Islands. We highly recommend visiting the beach at Sidney Spit on Sidney Island or Montague Harbour Provincial Park on Galiano Island (here’s our guide for getting to Galiano Island from Victoria).
We highly recommend checking out all of these beautiful beaches on your trip to Victoria. All of these beaches are a lot of fun to explore. However, many of these beaches are rocky. If you prefer a sandy beach for sunbathing or swimming, check out our article that covers the best sandy beaches around Victoria.
For other things to do in Victoria and around Southern Vancouver Island, check out these articles:
Top Travel Tips & Resources for Victoria, BC
- Travel Insurance – If you’re travelling internationally, travel insurance is a must for any trip. Being covered by insurance is especially important when you’re going to an adventure-filled place like British Columbia. If you injure yourself while adventuring, you want to have insurance! We recommend using SafetyWing for international travel insurance. They are affordable and have great policies for travellers, digital nomads, and remote workers. Also, SafetyWing provides COVID-19 coverage, which many other insurance companies don’t cover.
- Car Rental – We find the best deal on vehicle rental prices using RentalCars.com. They compare the prices for different car rental companies so you can find the best deals out there!
- Accommodations – We prefer booking all of our hotels, hostels, and other accommodations through Booking.com because they have a flexible cancellation policy. Also, there are lots of different options on their platform, from hotels to vacation homes. Alternatively, Expedia and Hotels.com are good for booking accommodations. For vacation home rentals, VRBO is an excellent choice (they have lower fees than Airbnb, many of the same properties, and are more ethical).
- Flights – You’ll find many good flight deals on Skyscanner or Google Flights. You can book flights through these websites and they’ll help you find the best prices and flight times. If you fly at less popular times (e.g. mid-week or red-eye flights), you can also save some money.
- Tours – Get the most out of your vacation by taking a guided tour! This is a great way to see the city, adventure to exciting new locations, and learn about the local culture. Viator or GetYourGuide are great options for booking tours.