Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Funtastic Destinations

It's summertime and the weather is fine. Victoria is the perfect place to get out-of-doors and enjoy both urban and natural settings. I asked some home learning parents (thank you!!) about their favourite "go to" spots (many accessible year-round) and the following are their suggestions.

Anderson Hill Park

Anderson Hill Park can accessed from Central Ave and Newport Ave. It overlooks the Victoria Golf Course and Gonzales Hill, not to mention the strait and mountains! It's a beautiful spot, and you can play hide and seek in the brush by the trail. Ottavio's cafe has great gelato on Oak Bay Avenue...our family outings are usually connected to a treat!

Ogden Point

Walking the Breakwater out to the "lighthouse" is a good stroll. You can also go onto the large blocks below the walkway for a more exciting run along the ocean. You will likely see some scuba action in this area too. The cafe awaits you when you return.



Downtown

Walking downtown can't be ignored, after all it's "outdoors"! Chinatown has interesting nooks and crannies (and bubble tea!), and Market Square will sometimes have bands or entertainment in the courtyard.

Beacon Hill Park

There are bridges and great trees to climb. You can even meander down to Cook Street to follow your way to Ogden Point. At different times of year you can see anything from people with kites to windsurfers (those interesting gliding contraptions that float around the cliffs there, taking advantage of the upsurge of wind). Finish up at the Beacon Hill Drive-In for soft ice cream.



Saxe Point Park

Saxe Point Park has a trail that starts on Bewdley Avenue and leads down to a rocky beach area... you can then carry on up to the main park area for the view. By the beach area there are great rock walls to climb. Close by is Flemming Beach and at various times of year you'll see seals, rock climbers, and people putting their boats into the water. The area past the beach holds lots of hide and seek spots.

Fort Rodd Hill

Fort Rodd Hill is a beautiful area, from the manicured lawns to the ocean, with trails around the edge, to 150-year-old Fisgard Lighthouse on the point. Esquimalt Lagoon is close by for playing in the sand, bird-watching, or tide-pool exploration.



The Galloping Goose

The Galloping Goose offers loads of park and ride areas if you don't live close enough to hop on anywhere near your home. You can head out on the Lochside Trail in Saanich, starting at the parking lot beside the Cordova Bay Golf Course, and ride out to the Heritage Museum for a peek around. On your way back, you can stop in at Mattick's Farm for an ice cream and a round of mini-golf. Behind the Monkey Tree Pub is another spot to park and ride (near McKenzie/Quadra). If you plan to ride the Goose from Metchosin to Matheson Lake, you can park by the entrance to the trail at Lombard.

Witty's Lagoon Beach

This is a beloved local beach, with 3 different accesses, lots of trails around the falls, and a gorgeous, sandy beach, especially at low tide. At one of Witty's accesses, off Olympic View Drive, there is a trail leading around the point. Beautiful walk, and one I've done hundreds of times with my grandparents growing up.



Devonian Park

Taylor Beach and Devonian Park in Metchosin are nice too. Devonian Park has a trail leading down to the rocky ocean... smooth rocks, great for throwing in the water. Like a good wine pairing, MyChosin Cafe has good hot chocolate/milkshakes!

French Beach

If you feel like a drive out Sooke direction, then French Beach is one of those "must-go-to" places. It can be misty and cool early in the morning but will be warming up somewhat around 11 AM. The beach is lovely with lots of places to walk and explore. Sooke has many places to stop for a bite to eat or to pick up snacks for the road.



Sooke Potholes

If you plan to make a day of it in Sooke, be sure to stop by the Potholes. It can get very busy there on the weekends, so if you are able to check it out on a weekday, you may be able to find better parking. There are places to swim in the river (easier to access with smaller children) or you can navigate your way to the potholes at the top of the road. There is also camping at the very top. I've often wondered if it would be worth it to get a camping spot for the day, just to access the better swimming holes, and finish off the outing with a picnic or campfire (when allowed) before heading back to town.



Places for Kite Flying

There is often a good breeze blowing off the water in Victoria. Here are some suggested destinations for a delightful afternoon of flying kites.

  • Christie Point
  • Clover Point Park (Dallas Road)
  • Dallas Road field side of Beacon Hill Park
  • Esquimalt Lagoon Beach
  • Lower fields at Royal Roads
  • Queen Alexandra field off of Arbutus


There are many other wonderful places to go in Victoria. To see more suggestions, check out the "Best Beaches, Parks and Trails" box in the sidebar.

Enjoy a fabulous summer!