The Victoria beaches come in two different types: those found along the waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait and those along the shores of an inland lake. Either kind can be a joy to visit, and there are some that are undeveloped and others that provide facilities.
The BC capital of Victoria can be found on the southern side of Vancouver Island, which is also where you will find some of the best British Columbia beaches. Near the downtown core, the beaches include those that are situated in the residential neighborhoods of Oak Bay and Ross Bay.
In Oak Bay, Willows Beach is the most popular strip of sand, and this is largely due to its playground, snack bar, and park setting. Families are especially encouraged to keep this beach in mind, and when you drop by to build a sandcastle you can take in the wonderful views of Discovery Island and Mt. Baker. The shallow and protected waters at Willows Bay Beach are great for swimming and kayaking, and it's just a fifteen minute drive east from downtown Victoria.
Other Victoria BC beaches that are found in Oak Bay include the strip of sand at Gyro Beach Park. Both long and sandy, this beach is set in a partially protected bay, which usually means excellent swimming and boating opportunities. Shade-bearing trees provide protection from the sun, and visitors can take advantage of such facilities as public washrooms, a playground, and picnic areas. As for the Ross Bay beaches, there are some dandies just below Beacon Hill Park. Many visitors to these beaches take a stroll or bike ride along the promenade that runs along the coastline.
The Victoria beaches farther from the city core are some of the best. This includes the beaches at nearby parks such as East Sooke Regional Park. At this park to the west of Victoria, a number of undeveloped pocket beaches await. Many visitors to these beaches are hikers who are taking on the coastal hiking trails, though you might just come for the beaches alone. The views of the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains in Washington State are simply divine, and it doesn't hurt that there are tide pools along the shoreline to explore. It takes about an hour to get to East Sooke Regional Park from downtown Victoria on Highway 14.
Other Victoria area parks that beach enthusiasts will want to keep in mind are French Beach Provincial Park and Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. Also found west of Victoria and accessible by Highway 14, these parks are amazing retreats for nature lovers especially. French Beach is a pebble and sand beach par excellence. It stretches quite a distance, and as is true of other Victoria BC beaches, it can make a good whale watching destination. Often times, it is possible to view the whales frolicking just offshore, with spring and fall being prime times to catch Gray wales passing by. Sea lions, seals, otters, and bald eagles are other fascinating creatures that are also commonly spotted at French Beach.
In Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, both China Beach and Mystic Beach offer similar experiences as French Beach. The setting is pristine and the wildlife viewing spectacular. You can find these beaches on either end of the popular Juan de Fuca Trail, and there are campsites near the sand for those who wish to stay overnight. Also worth nothing in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park is Botanical Beach, which is best known for its amazing tidal pools.
The Pacific Rim National Park, which courses along much of the southwestern Vancouver Island coast, offers some divine beaches too. It is also possible to visit regional lakes that provide some beaches of their own. These lakes include Shawnigan Lake, which has been a popular Victoria area vacation destination for more than a century. Closer to town, the lakes at Elk and Beaver Lake Regional Park and Thetis Lake Regional Park also provide some great recreational opportunities.