Explore Victoria: Ocean strolls
Saanich Peninsula and the Greater Victoria waterfront is dotted with numerous beaches, the vast majority accessible by road access. This is in large part because when subdivided, road accesses were built into the plans, and so many road right-of-ways die out at the waterfront, doubling as park-like access points even if they are simply Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure road allowances with no park designation. Occasionally these are converted by lease or tenure into pocket parks.
Unlike the US, in Canada oceanfront below the highest high tide level is public land, leaving people free to stroll a beachfront even if backed by private property. Not all beaches are suitable for long walks, however. Here are a few choice locations for reaching the water. Street maps may mark additional beach entrances and features.
Coles Bay Regional Park: On the shore of Saanich Inlet, this park has a picnic area plus washrooms with wheelchair access, a short selection of trails and a beach area suitable for swimming.
Land’s End: There are no parks and not much beach on the northern tip of Saanich Peninsula, but the intertidal rock pools and views toward Satellite Channel and Saltspring Island make this a good place to visit nonetheless. Land’s End Road skirts the north end of the peninsula; beach accesses can be found at the end of Moses Point Road, Seabreeze Road, Junco Road and Shearwater Terrace (off Dawson Way). An access is directly off Land’s End Road just west of West Saanich Road opposite Woodcreek Park. Note some accesses are steep.
Sidney: A seawall runs a good extent of the waterfront through the town of Sidney, while the major local waterfront park is Tulista, just south of the Washington State ferry terminal.
Cy Hampson Park: Located south of Sidney off Lochside Drive, Cy Hampson offers wheelchair-accessible oceanfront, a viewing area and picnic tables.
Cadboro Gyro Park (pictured): This family park offers a beach, washrooms, tennis courts, a playground and picnic tables. It is off Cadboro Bay Road at Sinclair Road.
Uplands Park: This park has a loop road with two boat ramps and an otherwise rocky headland off Beach Drive plus a large upland area.
Willows Park: This is a small family park with a nice beach off Beach Drive south of Uplands Park.
Further reading: If beach accesses are a special interest of yours, look for the book series Secret Beaches that breaks down beach accesses on Vancouver Island by region.