Chasing the Shoreline: Our Favourite Beaches on the Peninsula

People come from all over the world to visit Vancouver Island for so many reasons, not least of which is our incredible shoreline. Stretching all along the Island Highway from the southern tip of the Island in Victoria all the way up to Port Hardy to the north, to the west of the Island in gorgeous Ucluelet and Tofino, our shoreline is unmatched in untamed beauty. But you don’t have to make the five-and-a-half-hour trip up the island to visit multiple beaches – right here on the Saanich Peninsula, you can find beautiful beaches to soak up the sun, take a walk, birdwatch or cast off a kayak or paddleboard. 

Cordova Bay 

The first beach on our list is the gorgeous, sprawling part pebble, part sand beach at Cordova Bay Park. This popular neighbourhood beach is a great place to set up for a beach day in the summer months. While the water is clear and often cool, it can be moderately warmer in the summer, especially as it heats up over the hot sand making it a great place for ocean swimming. Anyone who has little ones to consider will love low tide at this beach where the water is shallow and warm for kids to splash in without worry about it getting too deep too fast. After your day in the sun, it’s always nice to grab a quick bite on your way home. Right next to the beach you’ll find The Beach House Restaurant an idyllic beachfront restaurant and the perfect place to find some scrumptious seafood dishes. In the mood for Thai? Check out the Little Thai Place on West Saanich Road for some of the best Thai and Vietnamese dishes in town. For a classic pizza dinner, Q Pizza is your best local go-to to find your favourite pie. 

Island View Beach

This stunning, 48-hectare park offers visitors a combination of trails through grassy, seaside meadows and a long part pebbly, part sandy beach bestrewn with driftwood logs. This is a great place for anyone staying on the peninsula but is especially close to the gorgeous Dalmeny Farm Estate. Make your way through the trails and along the beach for a nice long walk or set up a spot on the beach to enjoy a summer day. Plus, amateur and professional ornithologists alike will love the incredible sea and shore bird watching that you can do here. If you’re an early bird out for a morning stroll, stop in at Harvest Rd. for their delicious breakfast sandwich to-go, or stop in on your way back for one of their amazing lunch items. Spice up your beach picnic with a trip to Adrianna’s The Whole Enchilada where you can find incredible, easy to take away, Mexican food made with love. 

Lochside Waterfront Park

Right on the edge of the beautiful seaside community of Sidney is the always popular, Lochside Waterfront Park. This relatively small park is a long narrow strip of beach between Lochside Drive and the Salish Sea. Walk or cycle to this easily accessible beach via the paved section of the Lochside Regional Trail or drive and park in the street parking provided. This pebbly beach offers incredible views of the Salish Sea, James Island and Sidney Island. This is a stone’s throw away from Bazan Bay Beach House and a great option for those at Heron View Cottage or farther north – it makes for a stunning cycle and a long, beautiful walk. The best thing about this beach is that it is near Sidney town center where you can find great pubs and restaurants. If you’re looking for a pub after your beach day, Boondocks Bar and Grill or Rumrunner Pub & Restaurant offer guests excellent drinks menus and casual food in a laid-back environment. For restaurants, Fresh Tandoor Indian Bistro has flavourful authentic Indian fare while the local favourite, Five and Dime Diner serves up fresh, casual, classic diner food and Mariner Pizza is a must if you need to satisfy your pizza craving.

Roberts Bay

Right near both Miraloma 209, is the beautiful beach at Roberts Bay. Here, you’ll find a mix of sand, pebbles and mudflats and this is one of the best beaches to see some of our stunning avian wildlife. This park is actually a migratory bird sanctuary and as such, you can often find blue herons, eagles, and lots of smaller shore birds. This is also an amazing beach to spot some marine mammals as sea lions love lounging on the rocks just off the shore and splashing in the water nearby. If you are looking for a great beach to launch a kayak or paddleboard from or if you want a long beach to walk along, this is a great option! For a gorgeous meal at one of the best restaurants on the peninsula, look no further than the Sea Glass Waterfront Grill. This incredible restaurant is approachable elevated cuisine inspired by the West Coast and made with outstanding local ingredients – and you can walk here from Roberts Bay! What better way to spend an evening than a beach walk followed by a marvelous meal? 

Coles Bay

On the west side of the Peninsula, you’ll find the beautiful Coles Bay beach. With plenty of parking, and a lovely, winding beach access trail through old growth trees, this well-loved beach is the perfect place to spend a stunning West Coast summer day. The water here is warmer than other places so if you’re looking for a place to swim, this is your best bet for warmer water on the peninsula – just make sure to wear water shoes or sandals as this is a pebbly beach! Coles Bay is also an ideal spot to set out on a kayak or paddleboard as the water is quite calm in the bay at most times. For the best, stress-free beach picnic, a trip to the Fickle Fig is definitely on the agenda. The Fickle Fig is a great place for farm-fresh breakfast and lunch to-go items, great coffee and pastries. It’s really the perfect one-stop, beach picnic shop!