June is a funny month here in Victoria. Locals lovingly refer to it as June-uary because of the temperamental weather patterns but we can all agree that no matter how sporadic, the return of warmer weather and our favourite warm weather activities, is a reason to celebrate. One of the best and most relaxing ways to spend a day in Victoria is finding a great picnic spot to spend an afternoon soaking up the sun. While Victoria is abundant with 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 at the Pacific Coast Beach House and Suite in gorgeous Sooke, your best bet for stunning natural beauty is in East Sooke Park. But with over 3,500 acres of land and 50 kilometers 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!
Goldstream Park might just be the most popular park near Victoria for both locals and visitors. This gorgeous park is right near Station Villa Executive Condo and Nature’s Gate Executive Vacation Home and is known for the 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.
At the bottom of the Peninsula is the remarkable Gowlland Park Provincial Park, a perfect place not too far from Victoria and nearby Prospect Lake Country Cottage to immerse yourself in nature. It has 25 kilometers of hiking trails, 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 overlooking 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 near the lovely Ardmore Executive House, 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!
Whether you’re staying at the Oceanside Lodge or Oceanfront Escape a trip to walk on 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 flat, paved, well maintained and a very popular walkway that leads from Beacon Ave. to Tulista Park. Tulista has a large grassy area perfect for laying out a blanket in the sunshine and watching the water. 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.
Dallas Road has a spectacular seaside trail that is the perfect way to spend a sunny spring day. All along this urban trail are many parks, green spaces and little beaches all perfect for a spring picnic but our favourite spot to enjoy a little alfresco dining is Finlayson Point. Choose between a small patch of crushed shell beach, atop a smooth tide pool studded boulder or perched on a grassy outcrop and watch the sun sparkle on the ocean. If you’re coming from Burdett Executive Condo 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 at the Harbourview Executive at the Reef, the Breakwater Cafe at Ogden point is the perfect place to find something yummy to-go.
The gem of the city, Beacon Hill Park is a lovely place to enjoy a picnic on a sunny afternoon. If you’re lucky enough to stay at the Seaglass Suite or the Beacon Hill View Condo, you’ll soon discover that with so many paths to walk down and so many gardens to admire, anywhere you choose to set up is going to be picturesque. And what is a picnic in Beacon Hill Park without a trip to the iconic, retro Beacon Drive In Restaurant? With a menu chock full of burgers, gourmet hot dogs and soft serve ice cream, ordering from here is a real treat.
To the east of downtown Victoria is the beautiful, heritage neighbourhood of Oak Bay. Oak Bay boasts some of the most picturesque streets and beautiful homes in Victoria like the stunning Beach Drive Manor. 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.
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!