Last Call for Beach Days – How to Enjoy the Beach in the Fall

While fall might be a beautiful season on Vancouver Island, it can be hard to say goodbye to the warm weather and all the summer activities. But here on Vancouver Island, we don’t stop doing the things we love just because it’s a little colder, and that includes going to the beach! It can seem a little unnatural to head out to the beach in warm jackets, but trust us, the beach in the fall is a pretty wonderful place to be – the key is being prepared. So put away that sunscreen and pull out your parka and get ready for a peaceful day on the beach in fall.  

Sooke

We’re big fans of Sooke, the little town on the edge of the Pacific, and even bigger fans of East Sooke Regional Park, the crowning jewel in the lower Island’s park system. With over 50 kilometers of trails and 10 kilometers of rugged coastline, this park is one that you could explore for years. But in the fall, if you are staying at Pacific Coast Beach House and Suite or Arbutus Hill and are looking for an easy fall, oceanside walk Creyke Point is going to be your best bet. It’s an easy 1.5 kilometer trail that conveniently starts right at the parking lot and loops through grassy trails and along the water’s edge to dark craggy rocks that hang over the water. 

If it’s a warm day and you’re looking for more beach time, have a picnic! There is a little secluded beach right where the Creyke Point Trail meets the Coast Trail where you can put down a blanket and watch the turquoise waters lap the sand. Before you head there though, you’ll want to make a stop at the Sea Chest for a hot drink and if you’re up for it, order one of Mouette’s incredible in-house made ice cream sandwiches. And make sure you visit TasteBuds food truck for a seriously delicious burger that you can enjoy right on the beach! 

Victoria 

While you’re staying in Victoria, you can’t go wrong with a brisk walk along Dallas Rd. The best part about this seaside trail is that it winds its way all along the waterfront to Ross Bay, giving you an easy seven to ten kilometer walk that offers an incredible unimpeded vista of the Strait and the Olympic Range the entire way. Plus there are lots of places to stop to explore the shoreline, take a moment and breathe in all that incredible sea air. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying right in James Bay at Harbourview Executive at the Reef or Reef Executive Condo, where Dallas Rd. is right on your doorstep or if you’re staying at Camden Green Mews or the Malahat Mountain House, this is incredible walk it worth the trip, especially in the fall. If you’re looking for somewhere to warm up after your walk, you can head to the Breakwater Cafe and Bistro right on Dallas Rd. for both coffee and bakery items as well as a full menu. If you find yourself near Ross Bay and you’re feeling peckish, a visit to the Ross Bay Pub is in order. Just a few minutes north, you’ll find this neighbourhood pub in the Fairfield plaza.

Saanich

In south Saanich, right nearby Prospect Lake Country Cottage, you can find some excellent walking trails around Elk and Beaver Lake. While you won’t get an oceanside walk, these parks offer a variety of trails and here, you can find the right hike for you. Plus, you’ll find many lakefront beaches and picnic areas to stop and take a load off or if you’re brave, dip your toes in the water! If you’re heading to one of the beaches for a picnic before a walk, or if you need somewhere to warm up after, head to Francelli’s Coffee House for a cup of coffee and a quick bite!

Heading up to north Saanich, just a few minutes north of Sidney and nearby Miraloma 209, Heron View Cottage and Resthaven Cottage you’ll find the tranquil Robert’s Bay beach and migratory bird sanctuary. While the summer heat brings lots of people to the oceanside, in the fall, there are some afternoons where you’ll have the beach all to yourself. Bring binoculars and check out the marine birds as they fly and fish in the bay and keep your eyes peeled for the friendly seals and frisky sea otters that are known to frequent the bay! Before you go, stop by the lovely Lone Tree Bakery, right near Robert’s Bay for some food, bakery items or something hot to warm you up! 

The Lochside Trail is one of the most beloved and well used, multi-use trails on the lower Island. Starting in Swartz Bay, the Lochside Trail meanders along the eastern coastline of Saanich, through Sidney and terminates in Victoria where it intersects with the Galloping Goose trail. For anyone staying at Oceanfront Escape, Miraloma 209, Heron View Cottage, Resthaven Cottage or Bazan Bay Beach House, this oceanside trail is on your doorstep! After a chilly walk, get out of the cold for a bit at Beacon Café or 3rd Street Café. These casual eateries are great places to warm up and fill up on amazing, fresh food.

If you’re in the mood for a beach day and the weather is cooperating, why not head to Lochside Waterfront Park just south of downtown Sidney? Stop into the Fickle Fig Farm Market coffee shop, Quince Café & Ice Cream or 10 Acres Café & Market for some hot drinks and food to-go and enjoy your snacks on the beach! You can pull up a log or lay down a blanket, watch the boats skim along the water and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of some marine life! 

What to wear and bring

Walk:

Layers: sweatshirt or fleece, windbreaker or raincoat or puffy jacket

Touque (beanie) and gloves 

Good pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty or boots if it’s drizzling

Try not to bring an umbrella! It distracts from the view, makes it tough to navigate past people and it can easily blow away with the stronger ocean breezes. 

Binoculars

Camera

Picnic:

Layers: sweatshirt or fleece, windbreaker or raincoat or puffy jacket

Touque (beanie) and gloves 

Blankets: one for you to sit on one to put on your lap

Garbage bags to put under the blanket if the sand is damp

Small bag for garbage 

Binoculars

Book

Camera

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