Across Canada there are few locations that offer as many choices for outdoor activities and the opportunity to pursue them year-round as you will find in the Greater Victoria area. Our proximity to lakes, rivers, the ocean, and mountains as well as urban, suburban, country and wilderness locations is hard to beat! And with our temperate climate you can participate in outdoor sports and recreation pretty much anytime!
Of course, living on an island means that we are surrounded by the ocean, and there are dozens of ways to enjoy it. Fishing, of course is probably the first outdoor activity many people think of, but what about sailing, kayaking, canoeing, or just boating for pleasure? You might want to get right in the water – swimming (for the cold hardy), or scuba diving. The waters around Vancouver Island offer some of the most spectacular diving opportunities worldwide, with an amazing undersea biodiversity.
If you prefer freshwater to brine, there are numerous lakes within 30 minutes of downtown Victoria where you may fish, swim, canoe, waterski, or just relax on an air mattress, cold beverage in hand! There’s almost no end to the variety of outdoor activities on the water.
Camping is one of the most popular outdoor activities and there are many options within or near Greater Victoria. You can pitch your tent (or your r.v.) at private campsites or visit our local provincial campsites at Goldstream, French Beach and in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park at China Beach, Sombrio Beach and Parkinson Beach. Some Provincial Parks feature trails where you can enjoy multi-day hiking and wilderness camping. Just check with BC Parks about registration, rules and closures to avoid disappointment.
If you would rather “rough it” there are numerous recreation sites; public campgrounds located on Crown land outside of parks and settled areas. These sites are generally located in remote areas accessed by gravel roads and provide only basic facilities. You can find out more about recreation sites at Recreation Sites and Trails BC through their website.
Other popular outdoor wilderness activities include mountain biking, rock climbing, spelunking (caving), orienteering, hunting, and for the truly brave, mushroom hunting! During the winter, a short drive north to Mt. Washington takes you to an amazing ski resort; it’s relatively uncrowded and frequently boasts the deepest snowpack in North America.
Closer to civilization there are still any number of entertaining outdoor activities a person can participate in. Undoubtedly one of the most popular is golf. The Greater Victoria area boasts an incredible number of golf courses, both public and private, offering tee-times year round. Few communities across Canada can claim as many potential golf-worthy days!
Other urban outdoor activities include walking (there are extensive urban trail systems around Victoria), bicycling, skateboarding, and the relatively new athletic pursuit known as parkour. If you don’t know what it is – check this out!
We haven’t even touched on the plethora of outdoor sports available to people who are living in Victoria! There are opportunities for you and your family members to participate in almost anyoutdoor sport that exists!
Year round access to outdoor activities is one of the many benefits of living in Victoria, and because of this Victorians are healthier and happier. It’s an integral part of the overall quality of life offered in the vibrant Greater Victoria region.