Vancouver Island Beaches

Vancouver Island, by its very nature is surrounded by beaches and lakes are plentiful as well. Ocean swimming can be chilly but refreshing. The many lakes in the area are popular in the summers, and often are quite busy. A hike around the lake followed by a dip in the fresh water is a favored summer pastime of many.

Oceanside Beaches

Let’s start with the perhaps the most famous…

  • Long Beach on the West Coast It’s not a rare sight to find suffers gathering at Long Beach year round. Located between Tofino and Ucluelet makes Long Beach one of the most accessible beaches in the Pacific Rim National Park.
  • Parksville and Rathtrevor Beaches on the East Coast Parksville Beach is located adjacent to the downtown area of Parksville and boasts a kid’s waterpark with swings, slides and water cannons. Rathtrevor Beach is home to 5 km of beachfront, walking trails, picnic areas, and is one of BC’s most popular family destinations.
  • Sooke Beaches, French, China, Mystic, and Sombrio  Mystic is a skimboarders mecca, not only because clothing is optional, but it has a great shore break. Sombrio is the BC version of Hawaii’s north shore. Storms out at sea can produce some huge waves. Area surfers are well aware of this fact.
  • Willows Beach Located in Oak Bay in Victoria This beach is one of the more popular of the local beaches.
  • Gonzales Beach in Victoria Below Gonzales Hill this beach is often quiet and a great spot for some beach combing. Gonzales Hill has the observatory and weather station. It is possible to climb to the top of the hill for a great lookout.
  • Gyro Park in Cadboro Bay in Victoria. The park has a replica of the legendary Cadborosaurus. This creature is said to be a relative of the Loch Ness Monster and lives in the waters of Cadboro Bay. Caddy as he is known usually allows himself to be seen once or twice a year.

Popular Lake Beaches

  •  Beaver Lake / Elk Lake  Located along Hwy. 17, these two lakes are ideal for swimming. Highlights of the lakes include sandy beaches and forest trails.
  • Thetis Lake Park Located on Thetis Lake in Victoria is a local favourite featuring deep clean water and cliffs for jumping, this lake is adjacent to Highland Pacific Golf, about 1/2 hour from downtown. There are sandy beaches and spots for picnics.
  • Sooke Pot Holes The Sooke River has formed huge holes in the rocks making for several little swimming holes. There are hiking trails along the river bank with many places to stop for a picnic.
  • Shawnigan Lake Several beaches and small day-use areas are scattered around Shawnigan Lake make it a fantastic place to explore.
  • Cowichan Lake Cowichan Lake is about 30 km long and runs into Cowichan River; a very popular river for tubing down.
  • Cameron Lake Just east of Port Alberni, Cameron Lake is situated between Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Wesley
  • Horne Lake Home to great caving, canoeing, and camping.