Victoria is truly one of the best places to live in Canada during the summer. With the average temperature in the low 20C’s, and the sun (almost) always shining, the island is the perfect place to spend the dog days of summer with your kids.
Below are some of the top spots in Victoria that our local experts at ChatterBlock recommend taking the kids.
We promise you won’t be disappointed!
Summer Bucket List: 29 Things to Do Before Summer Ends
1- Without a doubt BEACON HILL PARK is a must for all families to experience. Equipped with numerous playgrounds, duck ponds, gardens, and even a petting zoo, families will have no problem spending the entire day here. If you are looking to discover something new why not try to find the Moss Lady (a giant 36 foot sculpture)? It is pretty much a giant chia pet!
Photo Credit: www.victoria.ca
2- WILLOWS BEACH is also an awesome option for parents with young children to go on a hot day. With the cool ocean breeze and the shallow sandy shores you will be at ease to know your kids will be safe splashing around in the water. There is also a playground and grassy area nearby to keep your little balls of energy entertained.
3- If you are already in the area the OAK BAY MARINA is a great place to take your kids if they want to see the seals. Although you can't feed the seals anymore, they still spend most of their time at the docks so there's a good chance you'll catch them!
4- Visit the SIDNEY STREET MARKET, every Thursday night, until September 6th to grab some local produce, handmade gifts, or just to sample some sweets. The Sidney Street Market is located on the charming main street in Sidney which is closed to traffic for the weekly festivities.
Photo Credit: www.sidneystreetmarket.com
5- Camp in your own backyard! You don't always have to go far to enjoy a night under the stars. When I was little, I didn't care whether I was in my yard or in a forest, just a night changing up the routine was so exciting!
6- Everyone hits up Mount Doug Park for panoramic views of the city, but an often overlooked spot in Victoria is MOUNT TOLMIE. Our favourite time to come here is right before sunset. Drive or walk to the top to join a herd of happy families relaxing and watching the day end. The views are majestic and the summit is easy to access.
Photo Credit: www.flickr.com
7- Celebrate love at the Pride Parade, the most colourful event of the year!
8- Watch a free movie under the stars at one of the OUTDOOR MOVIE SCREENINGS. This summer is 10+ movies at either Bullen Park, Beacon Hill Park, or the Legislative Lawn. Grab your blankets and snacks for this fun and unique summer experience.
9- One of our go-to family parks in Victoria is obviously CADBORO GYRO PARK. What kid wouldn’t want to climb through the giant octopus eye or take a turn on the kid friendly mini zip line. A perk of Cadboro Gyro Park is its proximity to the ocean, so you can visit the beach all at the same time.
Photo Credit: recmanagement.com
10- Take your kids on a ride on an H2O WATER TAXI. We suggest getting on at the inner harbour and riding the taxi into the Fisherman’s Wharf. The ride is relatively cheap and will give your kids a different perspective of the wharf from the water.
11- MINI ROAD TRIP to the many beaches out past Sooke. For only a one hour drive, you can sure find some hidden gems. Two great options to add a little excitement for the kids would be Sandcut Beach or Mystic Beach. Sandcut Beach is rocky, but features 3 good sized waterfalls next to each other that fall right onto the beach. The cliff has created a cave, so you can actually go under the waterfall without getting wet! Mystic Beach is great because there is a giant rope swing you can play on and swing over the ocean. Other pit stops that you won't regret are French Beach, China Beach, the Sheringham Lighthouse walk, Botanical Beach (lots of tide pools to keep the kids busy) and Sombrio.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Blaikie
12- Stargaze in your PJs at CATTLE POINT. This is one of the best places in Victoria to get a good view of the stars, as it is one of the only two Urban Star Parks in Canada where artificial lighting is controlled to reduce light pollution.
13- Watch a FREE CONCERT on weekend afternoons in Beacon Hill Park at the Cameron Bandshell, or FREE FOLK CONCERTS on Tuesday evenings. A wonderful setting to sit and listen to music, from folk to jazz and lots of different styles.
14- Cool off at one of GREATER VICTORIA'S 10 SPLASH PARKS. Whether you're downtown, on the Peninsula, or in West Shore, you've got options! All are free admission making them a wonderful option for parents on a hot summers day.
15- Visit CHINATOWN and try authentic bubble tea while you walk around and explore the quirky shops. Make sure you walk down Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest alley in Canada.
16- Just west of Victoria is a pocket of water known as WITTY’S LAGOON. Although it is a little bit of a drive this is the perfect spot for older kids who are interested in skimboarding. For the wee ones Witty’s is also a great place to build sand castles or to explore the tide pools.
17- Go to a HARBOUR CATS baseball game and cheer on our home team!
18- Find the PAINTED PIANOS in Oak Bay. Each year, Oak Bay scatters 3-4 beautifully painted pianos. Some are right on the water along Beach Drive, some throughout the residential streets. Part of the fun is finding them each year!
19- If you want your kids to get active and burn off some energy why not bring them the GALLOPING GOOSE TRAIL. Here you will be able to enjoy up to 55 km of bike trails. Many parks are perfectly shaded which makes this an activities the kids can do all year long. Just remember to wear your helmet and bring water.
20- Go for a float at DURRANCE LAKE. Take your floaties and a picnic and enjoy the warm water once mid-summer hits. Durrance is super popular with the Peninsula locals but not on the radar of many others. It has multiple beach access points along a trail, has nice and clean water for a swim, and is perfect for floating!
21- Attend the famous SYMPHONY SPLASH at the inner harbour, a spectacular concert from the Victoria Symphony as they play from the water, ending in a fireworks show. Take your kids to the Splash Family Zone in front of the Empress for face painting, crafts, games, and bouncy fun.
22- Pick WILD BLACKBERRIES and bake a pie or crumble with them!
Photo Credit: Flickr
23- Get ice cream cones at BEACON DRIVE IN. Any local will be able to tell you that they have the best soft serve in town!
24- Have a BBQ at one of our REGIONAL PARKS. You can reserve picnic shelters for $40 and then have tons of space for the kids to run around and play in the park. Go in together with a few other families and have a big BBQ.
25- Many people are unaware that there is actually a mini golf course on Blenkinsop. Bring the family over to BLENKINSOP VALLEY MINI GOLF CENTRE for a fun filled 24 holes. The course is equipped with an adorable castle and even a fountain.
26- Watch VICTORIA'S LARGEST LITTLE AIRSHOW at the Michell Airpark near Island View Rd. It's free (or by donation) and you can watch over 30 pilots fly their planes and perform stunts.
27- Watch free entertainment downtown during the THE DOWNTOWN VICTORIA BUSKERS FESTIVAL from August 30th - September 6th. While the performances are all free, it is customary to reward the talented individuals with an amount you think the show was worth and what you can afford :^)
28- Mark the end of summer at the SAANICH FAIR. Yes, all good things come to an end! Labour Day weekend is the Saanich Fair each and every year which is a perfect way to take in those last days. Rides, shows, petting zoo, tasty treats, and lots of other quirky additions!
29- Go on a nature walk collecting wild flowers, leaves, shells, rocks and make COOL CRAFT PROJECTS with them. Whether you press flowers and make beautiful hand made cards, or add them to a designated "kids zone" in your garden, it's a fun way to get crafty. One of our favourite projects is sunprinting (photo below). You can pick up this special paper at stores like Walmart, Michaels, or order them online from their website Sunprint Kits.
What do you think? Can you get through them all?
Overall, these are just a drop in the bucket of 100’s of awesome places we would recommend taking your kids this summer.
If your go-to place did not make the list please, please, please post it in the comment section below. We love adventure and would be keen on visiting somewhere new!