Vancouver Island, British Columbia is one of the most incredible places on Earth – especially as the weather gets warmer! In Victoria, BC one of the best and most relaxing ways to spend a day is by finding a great park to have a picnic and soak up the sun! While Greater Victoria has and abundance of pretty picnic spots, if you are looking for something a little special, we’ve got the inside scoop on how to make the most of your alfresco adventures!
There’s no doubt that when you are staying in gorgeous Sooke, your best bet for stunning Canadian natural beauty is in East Sooke Park. But with over 3,500 acres of land and 50 kilometres of trails, finding the perfect picnic spot can be a challenge. The beautiful Aylard Farm right at the end of Becher Bay Road is a lovely part of the park with a trail that meanders through grassy meadows leading right to the ocean. Here you’ll find a peaceful little cove with soft white sand that looks straight across the bay to Mechosin. If you’re looking to spice up your picnic, you can grab your lunch from the Smokin’ Tuna Cafe before you head to the beach – their calamari is to-die-for!
This incredible park might be one of the most popular places for hiking, camping and picnicking in Victoria! Known for its stunning trails, lookouts, waterfalls and the annual salmon run, it’s a great place to come for a picnic to fuel a hike or just to sit among 600 year-old trees near a rushing stream. There are picnic tables and fire pits that are perfect for a cookout on those chilly days or you can stop at 900 Degrees Wood-Fired Pizza before you go and feast on delicious hand-crafted pizza while listening to the sounds of nature.
The remarkable Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is a favourite with hikers and is the perfect place near Sidney to immerse yourself in nature. It has 25 kilometres of hiking trails, wildflowers, lookouts and pristine shoreline. While this isn’t the place to go for a quick picnic, it is a perfect place for anyone who is looking to earn a fabulous picnic by hiking up to one of the lookouts where you can have unobstructed views of the Saanich Inlet. Before you set out, a quick stop at The Market on Millstream is a great idea. At this locally owned, organic grocery store you can find an amazing assortment of both prepared foods and organic groceries to throw in your pack for a gourmet picnic on the peak.
If you are looking for a great spot for a beach picnic on the Peninsula, look no farther than Coles Bay Regional Park. Nestled in a small cove, this little beach is a beloved warm-weather spot for locals and a great place for a seaside picnic. It is rocky so it’s best to bring folding chairs for comfort and if not, there are many driftwood logs to use as seating while you visit. Need to add a little oomph to your picnic? Stop by the Fickle Fig on your way for an impressive selection of in-house made sandwiches and baked goods!
The spectacularly beautiful Lochside Trail in Sidney is a must! In total, the trail stretches all the way from Swartz Bay to downtown Victoria and winds its way along Sidney’s oceanfront. This section of the trail is a very popular walk because it is flat, paved and well maintained and leads from Beacon Avenue to Tulista Park – an incredible picnic spot for bird watching! Tulista has a large grassy area perfect for laying out a blanket in the sunshine and watching the bald eagles soar. If you want to make a change from the traditional picnic fare, head to Fish on Fifth where you’ll find exquisite fish and chips as well as burgers, salads and plenty of vegan menu items.
Cadboro-Gyro Park, just south of Sidney is an ideal spot for a picnic. The park boasts a beautiful sandy beach where you can relax and soak up the sun. Kids will love the playground with its swings, slides, and climbing structures, while adults can enjoy a picnic nearby. For adventure seekers, the park is perfect to launch kayaks and paddleboards and enjoy paddling in the calm bay waters. If you want to grab some delicious food to take with you, pop into Olive Olio’s Bistro & Espresso for coffee or tea, fresh baked goods, sandwiches, wraps and salads!
Dallas Road has a spectacular seaside trail that is the perfect way to spend a sunny spring day. Along this urban trail you can enjoy the gorgeous views of the Salish Sea and the Olympic Mountains in the distance, stop at Clover Point and watch the windsurfers soar and skate over the water and find lots of green spaces and little beaches all perfect for a spring picnic! Our favourite spot to enjoy a little alfresco dining is Finlayson Point where you can choose to picnic on the beach, atop a smooth tidepool studded boulder or perched on a grassy outcrop and watch the sun sparkle on the ocean. If you don’t want to pack a picnic, you can stroll down Cook Street Village and stop in at Bubby Rose’s to stock up on something delicious to enjoy in the sun. If you’re coming from James Bay, the Breakwater Cafe at Ogden point is the perfect place to find something yummy to-go.
With the stunning Beacon Hill Park, located on the edge of downtown Victoria, its no wonder why Victoria is known as the “City of Gardens”! This park is filled with scenic pathways, vibrant gardens, expansive green spaces and diverse picnic areas that provide a picturesque setting for a picnic. Here you can go and see the second largest, free-standing totem in the world, find red barked arbutus trees, wild Garry oak groves, playgrounds, washrooms and even a petting zoo for the kids! If you prefer to not pack a picnic, you’ll want to order lunch from the iconic Beacon Drive In Restaurant, offering mouthwatering burgers, gourmet hot dogs, and delightful soft-serve ice cream that’ll make you feel like a kid again!
To the east of downtown Victoria is the beautiful, heritage neighbourhood of Oak Bay that boasts some of the most picturesque streets and beautiful homes in Victoria. It’s in this prestigious and peaceful neighbourhood that you’ll find Willows Beach, a lovely greenspace park and beach with soft sand and calm surf. On a sunny day, this neighbourhood treasure is a wonderful place to picnic, especially if you’ve stopped at either Willows Galley for some good old fashioned fish and chips, served in the traditional newspaper wrapping or Ottavio for some exquisite imported charcuterie.
Fisherman’s Wharf Park is a fantastic picnic area when you’re staying in downtown Victoria! With its lively waterfront setting, colorful fishing boats, and charming floating homes, it captures the essence of coastal living. Whether you choose a picnic table or spread out a blanket on the grassy areas, Fisherman’s Wharf Park offers a picturesque view of the bustling harbor. One of the best things about this area is that it is a great place to visit year-round! In warmer months you can bask in the sun while watching boats sail by and during cooler months, enjoy the cozy charm and savor some of the fresh seafood dishes from the nearby floating eateries!
No matter where you decide to picnic around Victoria, you’re sure to be impressed with the natural beauty and incredible food choices! Bon Appetit!