Visit Witty's Lagoon and the Sooke Potholes for some of the best the Westshore has to offer.

Discover Westshore’s Beaches

Tess van Straaten brings the family to explore some of the best beaches the Westshore has to offer.

Summer is my favourite time of year and to make sure we’re getting the most out of it, my kids and I started making a ‘summer fun list’ a few years ago. From biking, hiking and kayaking to beach days, local attractions and adventurous day trips, our must-do list prioritizes fun.

Almost everything on the list — which now includes more than 50 items — is within an hour’s drive of Victoria. It’s our version of a ‘be a tourist in your own hometown’ and the following day trips top the list every year.

Sooke Potholes

Sooke Potholes Regional Park is a 69-hectare gem along the Sooke River, which is the second-largest river on Southern Vancouver Island. It’s famous for deep pools, or “potholes”, that provide some of the best freshwater swimming in Greater Victoria. The unique geological formations vary in size and with rocky outcroppings lining the banks, exploring the potholes is an all-day adventure. There are also several stunning viewpoints along the river and this year, we discovered the Riverside Trail, which runs parallel to the Galloping Goose bike trail. Setting out from parking lot three, the hiking trail took us through tall trees and along the river gorge with picnic tables and swimming stops at Skipping Rock Beach and Ripple Rock Beach along the way. There’s nothing quite like cooling off in the crystal-clear water of the potholes after a hike but be sure to pick a hot day if you want to go swimming — the water is cold!

Witty’s Lagoon

We love hiking under the forest canopy as we make our way down to the beach. It’s about a 15-minute walk from the Metchosin Road parking lot with beautiful views of the lagoon along the way. Our favourite time to visit is at low tide, when the beach area stretches far into the ocean, so we can go skim-boarding along the sand bars. If you time it right, you can also go swimming and one of the best spots for that is at the entrance to the lagoon, where fresh water meets salt water and the temperature is warmer. Whitty’s Lagoon is also a popular bird-watching spot and ocean currents create an environment teeming with sea life.

Just Posted

Fiddle tunes complete farm bistro experience

Year-end recital at the Roost features Nellie Quinn’s fiddle students

Rebirth of downtown cultural festival coming to Victoria in July

Folktoria aims to pick up where Folkfest left off

Pass a pint: Great Canadian Beer Festival tickets on sale now

Over 200 brews and ciders will be featured at this year’s craft celebration

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria expansion gets $6M boost from province

Project many years in the making, but planned for current Rockland site

B2B season has rare Island line-up of shows in Qualicum Beach

Month-and-a-half of performances kicks off with Baskerville comedy July 3

VIDEO: Jazz vocalist Susannah Adams continues her Island tour Sunday at Crofton pub

Fresh off a triumphant show at Hermann’s Jazz Club, Adams set to light up Osborne Bay Pub

B.C. tourism grant helps Sooke Fine Arts Show

Grant will attract audiences from across B.C. and Washington

Sooke Arts Council hosts open house

Event takes place July 3 at 7 p.m.

Disney production filming at Victoria’s Government House today

Made-for-TV movie will feature the inside of the Rockland Avenue mansion

Duncan Has Talent performers prepping for summer show

Signups on now for crowd-pleasing series staged at Charles Hoey Park as part of The 39 Days of July.

Gabriola glass blowers Dirk Huysman, Mary Ann Richards launch first solo show

Plan a road trip: Island’s Hive Emporium hosting exhibition through June 24

PRIDE WEEK: Popularity has surged for Memorial Drag Ball game in the past 20 years

The venue has changed, but the theme of not taking one’s self too seriously remains

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Car Free YYJ, family fishing, Sooke bluegrass, walk for cancer and a mascot’s birthday

Most Read