Beat the Heat! Best Ways to Cool Down on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island in the summer is a magical place. The skies are brilliant blue, warm ocean breezes drift through the towns and cities, farmers markets abound, campers come out of hibernation and no matter where you are on this spectacular Island, you’ll find it to be one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. But summers can also be incredibly hot, with recent summer temperatures reaching record-breaking highs, it’s important to get the inside scoop on all the best ways to beat the summer heat. Whether you want to walk through cool green forest paths, indulge in icy treats, sip colourful cocktails, or prefer to dive into clear cool water – you can find all this and more during your stay on Vancouver Island! 

Take a Dip!

When the weather is warm, what better way to cool off than to go swimming? While there are no outdoor pools on Vancouver Island, there are a plethora of stunning natural swimming spots. The lakes, rivers and oceans on the Island are pristine, where locals love to spend many hot summer days and where visitors can have authentic West Coast experiences! When it comes to the best swimming spots on the Island, you can read all about our favourites here. But if you’re looking for a property to rent where you can have access to natural swimming just steps away, we have just the list for you! Whether you prefer booking an EMR property with a private pool or a stunning waterfront rental, with private or semi-private natural water access just steps from the property, you can take a swim any time of day or night!

Grab an Ice Cream

Ice cream has come a long way in recent years with many shops selling handmade, small batch ice cream made with locally sourced ingredients. At these little shops you can find imaginative flavours as well as classic standbys to ensure that everyone leaves happy! 


Cold Comfort: 1115 N Park St Unit 4, Victoria

Each delicious batch is made with only locally sourced and fair trade, organic ingredients!

Sooke & Metchosin

Sugar Shack: 4492 Happy Valley Rd, Victoria

Classic ice cream shop with milkshakes and desserts to order.


Quince Cafe: 2527 Beacon Ave #104, Sidney

Find ice cream cones, floats, affogatos and other treats in the heart of Sidney town centre.

Cowichan Valley

Udder Guys: 1765 Cowichan Bay Rd, Cowichan Bay

One of the original small batch ice cream places, you can get a cone, grab a pint to take home or browse their huge retro candy selection. 

Deep Fried Ice Cream: 122B S Shore Rd, Lake Cowichan

Local Mom & Pop ice cream shop selling deep fried ice cream, sweet treats, fish and chips, knick knacks and more!


Cold Front Gelato: 60 Commercial St #306, Nanaimo

With unique flavours and delicious plant-based options, these handmade, small batch ice creams are so good! 

Qualicum Beach & Parksville

Shore: 2831 Island Hwy W, Qualicum Beach

Choose a classic dipped cone, a Hawaiian-style Dole whip or a Typhoon mixed with your favourite candy pieces

Air Conditioned Shopping

Summer heat can be glorious but sometimes, it can get overwhelming. When that happens and you want to find an air conditioned escape why not head to a mall? With some great shopping mall options on Vancouver Island, you’re sure to have fun, find some new summer duds and beat the heat! 


The Bay Centre: 1150 Douglas St, Victoria

Downtown mall with lots of local stores, global brands and well known department stores to shop in.

Mayfair Mall: 3147 Douglas St, Victoria

Recently renovated shopping centre with an incredible array of well known stores, kiosks, department stores and food court.

Uptown: 3440 Saanich Rd, Victoria

Open air shopping plaza where you can find globally recognized chains, restaurants, coffee shops and a water park for kids.


Woodgrove Mall: 6631 Island Hwy, Nanaimo

The main mall in the Nanaimo area with lots of recognizable stores, great food court and ample parking

Mix Up a Summer Cocktail

After a day at the beach or exploring the city in the sunshine, what better day to unwind than kicking back with a summery cocktail? These two cocktails are summer in a glass and a perfect way to end a sunny day. Plus, you can use a locally distilled spirit and make it a truly west coast cocktail!

Spicy Watermelon Punch:

Fill a glass with ice add

1 or 2oz of vodka 

3 – 5 slices of jalapeño

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice 

1/2oz – 1oz of simple syrup 

Garnish with fresh mint and enjoy! 

Sunshine Bellini:

Fill a tall glass with ice and add

1 – 2oz of gin

Fill with pineapple juice

A dash of allspice

½ – 1oz of simple syrup or honey 

Squeeze of fresh lime juice 

Pour into a blender and turn on high until completely blended, pour into a glass, top with soda and garnish with a wheel of lime and pineapple slice, yum!

Go for a Summer Hike!

Hiking in the summer can be arduous but on Vancouver Island, there are many cool forest trails where nearby rivers and rushing waterfalls cool you off, even on the hottest day! 


If you’re looking for icy majestic waterfalls and lush, green forest trails near an EMR Victoria Property, Goldstream Provincial Park is where you’ll want to go. With easy to moderate trails and an incredible suspension bridge, this park is the perfect place to get some exercise without overheating! 

East Sooke Park

With 50 kilometres of forest trails from easy walks to difficult climbs, this park at the edge of the Pacific Ocean is a great place to get outside in the height of the summer heat. You can hike and swim all in one place! 

Cathedral Grove

If you’re looking for a jaw dropping, spiritual experience and a way to cool off in the outdoors, Cathedral Grove is it. With towering Douglas firs that are almost 1000 years old, a canopy as high as a skyscraper and lush, bright green mossy undergrowth, Cathedral Grove is an incredible and rare place. 

Horne Lake Park

If you love spelunking, this is the park for you! With some of the best caves to explore in Canada, Horne Lake offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore some natural caves no matter your age or ability! Plus, no matter how hot it is outside, the caves at Horne Lake are always nice and cool – it’s the perfect place to explore on a hot summer day.