China Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island is a beautifull day trip. A wide, gravel trail with some steep sections. The 15-20 minute hike (each way) through the first-growth forest of Sitka spruce, Douglas fir and western red cedar leads visitors to the great rolling breakers of a tumultuous sea.
The fine sand beach is exceptional to comb after tides recede.
Pack a lunch and your drinking water and enjoy the day
The main purpose of the breakwater is to protect Victoria's Inner Harbour, but it also makes for a great walkway! It is located at Ogden Point, along Dallas Road, behind the Ogden Point Cafe (a good place to stop for a light snack). On a nice day, don't get discouraged by the many "Enter at your own risk" signs and go for a walk in what feels like the middle of the sea!
My favourite thing to do in Victoria is walking along the beaches.
Anywhere you go you can find an amazing beauty with the view on the waters.
Witty's Lagoon. Excellent park for beachcombing, sunbathing, swimming, nature trails. Bird sanctuary lagoon, water fall, sandy beachs with shallow water. Great for children. Long walk to beach from parking. Take Witty's Beach Road (limited parking at the end) and you just have 90 steps down to the beach.
Near the intersection of Dock Street and Dallas Road, there is a small public park. Extending out from this park into the Straight of Juan de Fuca is a very long concrete breakwater that helps prevent the heavy waters of Juan de Fuca from damaging vessels docked in the Port of Victoria. This breakwater doesn't exactly qualify as an "off the beaten path" location, since cruise ships dock nearby. On the other hand, it also isn't in the main downtown tourist area of Victoria, and thus it seems to be overlooked as a tourist attraction.
The official name of the point of land from which the breakwater protrudes is Ogden Point, and thus the name Ogden Point Breakwater is applied to this structure.
The photographs I have of this structure really do not do it justice. It is quite a long way out to the end of this thing, and the only thing that lends some perspective are the people walking at the end by the white lighthouse monument structure. However, they appear only as tiny black specks out there, and so the sense of scale is not easy. Photo 5 features a photo of the monument at the end of the breakwater, and compare the size of that to the size you see in photo 1, and that will give you some idea of how far out into the Straight this breakwater goes.
The top of this walkway is available for walking, and it is possible to walk all the way out to the end, where there is a monument shaped lighthouse guarding the entrance to the Victoria Harbour.
The walkway has a great view in almost all directions, featuring the Olympic Mountains (or at least the parts of them that are visible depending on the weather) and ship traffic entering and leaving through the Straight, and sea planes and ship traffic entering Victoria as well.
It should be noted, however, that the top of the breakwater is closed for access at night and during "bad weather" (and just who determines if the weather is bad enough to close it is beyond me). Dogs and wheeled devices are also prohibited here, as they represent a hazard to people on the narrow pathway along the top of the breakwater. Though, it seems that many people ignore the prohibition against having dogs out there.
Be sure to take a look at the Native inspired artwork that has been painted onto the inside wall of the breakwater.
In winter, Black Turnstones tend to explore the rocks near the point where the breakwater joins the main land of Vancouver Island, so if you are into bird watching you may want to keep an eye out for them.
There are a few web sites that have photos and information about the breakwater, but to date there doesn't appear to be an official site for this feature. There is one web site that has a web site that looks promising, but unfortunately to date http://ogdenpointbreakwater.com/ only features a single photo of the breakwater, and nothing else. Thus, for a web site, I am listing a general tourist information page that at least has a little information on it.
How to Get Here:
It is only about a 15 minute walk or so from the core Victoria area. From the area around the Undersea Gardens and the Parliament Building, go southeast on Oswego or Menzies street. Government Street gets you too far away. When you reach the end of the road, you are at Dallas Road. Turn right onto Dallas, and soon you will come to the intersection of Dock Street. The breakwater is approximately across the street from Dock and Montreal streets.
Bus routes 19, 30, 31, and 33 pass very close to the land end of the breakwater.
The wind blows pretty good out at the end of the breakwater, so you will want some warm clothes out there.
Many people come here to jog, walk with their dogs...
Also it's a great walk way for romantic walk and dining out.
I enjoyed walkinga long th beach and watch the waves and view on the ocean. I could collect some interesting stones and seashells.
The Ogden Point Breakwater is a great place to go for a walk whether it's a sunny, calm day or a windy one. Use your common sense however - if the waves are too big don't venture out on to the Breakwater as we don't rescue people that are that foolish (just kidding).
The Breakwater is a popular place for strolling, jogging and diving takes place all along its length. The Sierra Club also runs nature programs here intermittently. A surprising number of people fish from the Breakwater and there are a large variety of birds to be seen in the water and shore around the Breakwater. On rare occasions brown pelicans have even been sighted here.
You can enjoy a coffee and snack or meal at the Ogden Point Cafe before or after your walk.
Victoria and Vancouver Island are great places to learn how to Kayak. You can go pravtically anywhere and visit many of the near by islands which are often crowded with seals, It's a really great time and you are guarenteed to see some wildlife!
Running the entire length of Dalals Road, from the edge of the military and port reserve at Ogden Point eastward all the way to Saint Charles Street, there is a nice paved walkway that runs along the edge of the Straight of Juan de Fuca. From here, there are many spectacular views that are possible (given the proper weather) of the Olympic Mountains to the south, and various Cascades peaks to the east. It is also possible to get glimpses of the various hills that cover Vancouver Island.
Attractions along this walkway include the Ogden Point Breakwater, Holland Point Park, Mile 0 of the Trans-Canada highway, Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point Park, and the Ross Bay Cemetary.
Dallas Road is a reasonably busy road, bus not as busy as some of the roads in downtown Victoria. Furthermore, it is possible to get reasonably far away from the traffic in a number of places. Having some bushes in places that obstruct the noise helps. There are a number of places where it is possible to access the edge of the water - though I hesitate to call these "beaches" as they are very rocky.
Wintering bird life I found here included a small number of Black Turnstone rummaging through the stones on the shore.
How to Get Here:
From downtown, just head south. It isn't that far a walk, and if you really don't want to walk it, there are a number of bus routes (#19, 30 and 33 among them on the west end, and #3 and 7 towards the eastern end) that go to various points along the walkway. Streetside parking is available in a number of locations, as well as in several of the parks.
The web site below is not an official city parks web site, but it is a tourist information site that mentions this walkway.
Along the Galloping Goose Trail, right where it passes beneath the Bay Street Bridge, there a small peninsula that sticks out into the water. When the area was being redeveloped and cleaned up an ancient propeller from an unknown craft was discovered. It was decided to put it on display in this park as a tribute to Victoria's past.
Unfortunately today it is all the more forlorn looking, as it has also been vandalized by various visitors.
However, from here it is also possible to get a view of the harbour and the various boat traffic through here.
To get here you either access the spot from the Galloping Goose Trail, or from the west end of the Bay Street bridge. The nearest road entrance to the Galloping Goose trail other than the Bay Street Bridge is at the north end of Harbour Road near the intersection with Tyee Road.
Jordan River is a little community off the south-western coast of Vancouver Island, about an hour and a half drive west of Victoria.
People don't come to Jordan River for the town, as the small town itself is nothing to write home about. If people are going to Jordan River, they're likely going to the Jordan River Recreational Site. For the most part it seems like most people don't even know about Jordan River...
... unless they're a surfer.
Jordan River is Vancouver Island's best kept secret. Due to the south-western location on the island where the Juan de Fuca Strait opens into the Pacific, Jordan River gets the prevailing westerly winds off the ocean and therefore large waves. As a result, the beaches around Jordan River, though rocky, provide surfers with excellent surfing conditions - something that the beaches closer to Victoria do not experience.
While Tofino is more famous for Vancouver Island's surf scene, when the conditions are good, Jordan River's supposed to be even better. The Jordan River Recreational Site provides surfer with free camp sites, fire pits and even a communal cabin overlooking the beach. What I found really interesting was that while half the camp sites were on the parking lot, the others were located inside a little cedar grove. Inside this little patch of forest was a fence surrounding the small cabin, and on the fence were beautiful landscape paintings of the local scenery.
While I don't know if I'd recommend going all the way to Jordan River if you don't surf, the drive on the way was pleasant and scenic after you get past Sooke. The atmosphere, though lacking in old-growth rainforest and the sandy beaches, gives you a similar feel to the vibe in Tofino.
While winter gives the region better waves for surfing, the temperatures can be absolutely frigid, although rarely below freezing. A wetsuit is mandetory for surfing in both summer and winter.
While our Ocean water is very cold, if you are an avid Diver there is still alot of good Wreck dives and Sea life to explore. Here is a picture of our Giant Octopus, the largest in the world. Although not as big as a giant squid, they still reach over 12 feet in length.
If you have or will be taking a whale watching tour while in Victoria, one of the places they bring you to see Whales and sealions is Race Rocks. I have placed the website link below to view the camera at RaceRocks Live........
There are many beautiful hiking and biking areas just outside of town. The area offers outstanding Kyaking, Sailing and Scuba Diving adventures. Please stay tuned, I will be adding more detail on Victoria's surrounding natural areas.
Things just look better taken at a slower pace. We arrived via a cruise ship, and found a variety of transportation waiting at the docks. There were many different types to choose from, but most were looking for half day fares, while we were just looking for an hour, before our daytrip began. We passed up the Elvis impersonator in a pink cadillac convertable, and the horse drawn carriage, and the horse drawn trolley, for an ambitious young man peddling a rickshaw. As we have limited mobility, we just want to see the surroundeing waterfront neighborhood, and this was the perfect mix. The young man was so pleasant, and knowledgable of his city. He would have peddled all day, but was kind to oblige us with an hour. We saw the enchanting neighborhoods at the port of Victoria, and were left with a musing of our host: "Victoria is made up of four kinds of people, Flower beds, Newly weds, Potheads, and nearly deads". An absolutely fabulous city.
If you get an opportunity, go out on the water and visit some of the bays around Vancouver Island. We were lucky enough to stay on a yacht for the weekend and go out for an all day cruise with friends. This yacht is parked at Sidney Harbour, close to the Victoria airport and about a 30 minute drive from downtown Victoria.