One of the best things to do in Victoria, British Columbia, is simple – go for a walk!
Victoria is blessed with miles of seaside paths, flower-filled parks and pretty tree-lined streets. Busy hummingbirds flit from bush to bush and eagles soar overhead.
So lace up your walking shoes and let’s head outdoors!
These are our favorite easy walks in Victoria, BC. (And if we’ve missed any of your favorite walks, please comment below and let us know!)
1) Songhees Westsong Walkway
The Westsong Walkway is a flat walking trail running along the Vic West and Esquimalt waterfront. It’s a mix of paved trail and wooden boardwalks (so accessible for strollers and wheelchairs).
There’s lots of parking on the side-streets by the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, so this is a good place to start your walk.
Winding around the scalloped coastline, the walk offers lovely views of all the action in the Inner Harbour.
Watch seaplanes take off and land and people rowing dragon boats. Herons often perch on rocks by the seashore, and near the Spinnakers pub, you might see otters and seals in the water.
Benches scattered along the way allow you sit for a while and soak in the sunshine and views.
The walk ends at the docks of the West Bay Marina, beyond which there’s a very mod public toilet, (B on the map). There’s a float home village there as well.
We often stop for coffee at the stylish Boom + Batten restaurant and café on the way back.
Perched on concrete pylons over the water, the steel-and-glass restaurant looks like the crest of a wave. From the restaurant, you can ogle some ginormous white yachts in the adjacent new marina.
2) Rockland walk
Dating back to the 1880s, Rockland is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Victoria. The equivalent of San Francisco’s Nob Hill, it was home to wealthy bankers, politicians and entrepreneurs.
During a housing shortage in the 1940s, several of the mansions were converted inside into apartments (now condos). But from the outside, they still look like grand estates today.
We live in Rockland, so this is the Victoria walk we do most often. And we never tire of it!
Rockland walking map:
See the map below for this Rockland walk.
We designed it to highlight some of the best attractions in Rockland. At some points, you do have to retrace your steps – but everything always looks different on the way back :-).
A – Government House:
Start at Government House, home of BC’s Lieutenant Governor (A on the map).
Open to the public, its sprawling gardens and grounds – one of the top gardens in Victoria – are open to the public (free).
We usually save walking around the gardens for the end of the walk.
Otherwise you could get side-tracked by all the blooming rhodos and camellias in spring and roses in summer!
B, C and D – Cardio:
Walk west along Rockland Avenue (C).
For a little cardio, deek down Lotbiniere Avenue (B) and Robleda Crescent (D), then retrace your footsteps back up these steep streets. You’ll definitely be huffing by the time you get to the top of each!
And keep an eye out for the wild deer that like to munch on the greenery there.
E – Rockland Avenue:
Continue walking along Rockland Avenue (E). Look at all the lovely homes – try not to feel house envy :-).
F – Art Gallery of Greater Victoria:
Turn right up Moss Street to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. It’s interesting to view from the outside, as it comprises an historic 1889 mansion connected to a modern low-rise concrete building (which houses seven galleries).
If you haven’t visited, put it on your to-do list for later.
G, H and I – Craigdarroch Castle:
Now turn around and go back down Moss Street and Rockland Avenue. Turn left at Royal Terrace and follow the map to Craigdarroch Castle. Then walk down Joan Crescent, named after Joan Dunsmuir, whose husband Robert, the coal baron, built Craigdarroch Castle.
J – Government House Gardens:
Now you’re back at the Government House gardens.
Smell the roses (in summer). You can open the black metal gates – they’re there to prevent deer from entering and enjoying a petal picnic.
And don’t forget to walk the woodchip Woodlands Trail! There’s a bit of an uphill incline at the end for a touch more cardio.
3) Dallas Road
Dallas Road map:
Dallas Road is a waterfront street running from St. Charles Street in the Fairfield neighborhood to Erie Street in the James Bay area. Alongside it is a flat paved walking path overlooking the ocean.
We like the stretch between Clover Point and Ogden Point. There’s lots of parking at Clover Point as well as spots along Dallas Road itself.
On clear days, you can see the snow-capped Olympic Mountains (in Washington State across the Juan de Fuca Strait), outlined clearly against the blue sky.
You can break off and walk along paths running by the pebble beaches.
And in front of Beacon Hill Park, the green space is an off-leash dog park – it’s always fun to watch our furry friends running around.
4) Ogden Point Breakwater
At Ogden Point, a long concrete pier juts out far into the sea – the Ogden Point Breakwater – protecting boats and traffic in the harbor from rough seas. And you can walk (or jog) to the end of the pier to the lighthouse and back.
Watch the ferries, sea planes and helicopters come and go. Keep an eye out for seals which sometimes pop their heads out of the water.
Fishermen and scuba divers are often seen in summer down on the large cement blocks below at the water’s edge.
5) MacAulay Point Park
MacAulay Point Map:
Walking in the park:
In the Esquimalt neighborhood, MacAulay Point Park is an idyllic park with several walking trails meandering through forests and along the coast to rocky lookouts.
Park at the Munro Road parking lot by Fleming Beach, home to the Esquimalt Anglers Association, responsible for the boat ramp, boat launch and clubhouse on site. There’s also some street parking at the end of Clifton Terrace.
The park was once used as a fort, and a couple of WW II military bunkers and lookouts still remain. In one, you can walk through a small tunnel.
Don’t miss the eagle’s nest!
Just follow the eagles soaring overhead to see where they land high up in the trees.
From MacAulay Point Park, it’s a short walk to Saxe Point Park – more beautiful water views there!
6) Beacon Hill Park
One of the best places to walk in Victoria, BC, is Beacon Hill Park.
Beacon Hill Park map:
Click on the map below to download a PDF map of Beacon Hill Park.
Walking in the park
This urban park is right in downtown Victoria. With almost 200 acres of manicured flower beds, native Garry Oak meadows, grassy lawns, picnic areas, ponds and trails, it’s popular with both locals and tourists alike.
There’s parking on Dallas Road as well as on some side streets around the park.
We often first walk through the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy (a National Historic Site), then cross Southgate Street into the park. Once in Beacon Hill Park, we just wander where we feel like.
Showy peacocks strut about, ducks waddle around various ponds and lagoons, and a blue heron’s nest always causes us to look upward to see if we can spot any baby herons.
The park is also home to the 128-foot-high Story Pole – one of the world’s tallest totem poles.
7) The Gorge Waterway
Gorge Waterway map:
The Gorge Waterway Park is a linear park that runs parallel to the Gorge waterway in Saanich.
The Gorge itself is a narrow tidal inlet that extends some 4 miles inland from the Victoria Inner Harbor. A fun activity is to explore the picturesque channel on a Victoria Harbour Ferry Gorge tour.
The 1-mile stretch of the paved Gorge Waterway Park trail runs between Tillicum Road and Admirals Road.
Perhaps start at the Gorge Park parking lot off Gorge Road. You’ll pass a children’s playground, then the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club.
The landscaping is lovely all along the path, with lots of colorful flowers, and the water views are very Zen.
8) Cattle Point to Oak Bay Marina
This seaside walk runs between Cattle Point and the Oak Bay Marina. There’s lots of free parking at both places, so you can start from either end.
Cattle Point is part of Uplands Park, where native Garry Oaks with their gnarly branches flourish. There’s a boat ramp for launching your boat or kayak; moss-covered boulders offer convenient spots for plonking yourself down and taking in the water views.
Cattle Point is also a “dark sky” oasis – meaning it has no lights at night so you can better see the stars in the sky.
From Cattle Point, walk along Esplanade, the road running alongside Willows Beach. One of the best beaches in Victoria, it’s a great place in summer to spread your blanket out on the sand and read a book. It’s our go-to beach for SUP boarding, and we also like having a picnic on the lawn on warm summer evenings.
When the beach ends, continue along Beach Drive with its lovely waterfront homes to the Oak Bay Marina.
9) Oak Bay Marina to Anderson Hill Park Loop
The last in our round-up of easy best walks in Victoria, BC, is this Insta-pretty loop.
Start at the Oak Bay Marina (A on the map), where there’s plenty of free parking.
Then walk along Beach Drive, past the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. You’ll go by the Victoria Golf Club – check out the golfers hitting balls on the manicured greens.
The walk continues to throw up gob-smacking ocean views until you hit Transit Road on McNeill Bay (B on the map), where you turn right.
About a block up Transit Road, you’ll see a footpath to the right. Take this Centennial Trail footpath. It leads through Garry Oak forests, bramble bushes and other shrubs to Anderson Hill Park.
(We couldn’t draw the map correctly on Google Maps – you’re actually going from about Point C on the map to Point D, via the footpath between two houses. If you miss the footpath, don’t worry, you can still go from Transit Road to Central Avenue and then right at Island Road to reach Anderson Hill Park.)
At Anderson Hill Park, soak in the stunning views of McNeill Bay below and Mt. Baker and the Olympic Peninsula beyond. In spring, blue camas flowers blanket the rocky terrain and Scotch broom adds bright pops of yellow color to the scenery.
Upon exiting the park, head down Island Road, and turn left on Newport Avenue. This pretty street with lovely Tudor and Craftsman-style homes takes you back to the Oak Bay Marina.
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Photo credits: 3, 5 to 10, 12 to 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 24, 30 to 32, 34 and 40 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Fort MacAulay | 11 Government House | 19 City of Victoria | 20 Art Gallery of Greater Victoria | 23 and 36 Tourism Victoria | 27 John Stanton | 33 District of Oak Bay | 37 Oak Bay Marina | 38 Victoria Golf Club | 41 Oak Bay Tourism |