• Claire

12 GREAT Things to Do in Greater Victoria - Saanich Peninsula | Hikes, Cafes, Beaches + more!

Updated: Apr 20, 2019

I've been living on the Saanich Peninsula, Vancouver Island for the last couple months and have made it my mission to try all of the great things there are to do in the area. After intensive research, trying many cups of coffee and visiting many beautiful places (I know, it's been tough), I've made a list of the 12 greatest things to do in Greater Victoria to share with you!



The Saanich Peninsula is a beautiful part of the world - located north of Victoria and bounded by the Saanich Inlet on the west and the Straight of Georgia to the east. Home to the small towns of Brentwood Bay, Saanichton and Sidney, the headland is full of rolling hills, cozy cafes and beautiful beaches. I've had so much fun exploring the Peninsula while living here these past couple months.


See also: Exploring Victoria B.C | 9 Top Things to do Downtown



1. Explore by kayak


There is no better way to immerse yourself in the beautiful coastal environment of the Saanich Peninsula than by kayak. This is a great way to spot wildlife and get a work-out at the same time! Pacifica Paddlesports in Brentwood Bay hires out kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle-boards year-round for you to explore the calm, protected waters of the Saanich Inlet.


Kayaking on Saanich Inlet

Kayaking on Saanich Inlet


2. Sidney Pier / Waterfront Walk


Sidney's waterfront walkway is a great place for a scenic 2.5 kilometre-long stroll along the ocean front. On a clear day, the views of Sidney Island and Mt Baker are absolutely stunning - I've even heard of Orca sightings in the area too!


Sidney Pier

Sidney Pier

View of Mt Baker WA from Sidney Waterfront


3. Island View Beach


Island View Beach Regional Park is located on the eastern shore of the Saanich Peninsula, just south of Sidney. The long stretch of sandy beach is also home to a campground and is a great spot to watch the sunrise, have a picnic or walk the dog!


Sunrise Island View Beach

Island View Beach


4. Mt Doug


On a clear day the top of Mt Douglas offers incredible 360-degree views over Victoria and Saanich and out to the Olympic Range, WA. The hike to the top is 4 kilometres and takes roughly 1.5hrs - or you can take the easy option and drive all the way up once the road opens at 12pm!


Top of Mt Douglas

Top of Mt Douglas

View of Mt Baker from the top of Mt Douglas


5. Mosi bakery cafe


This cafe is quite the hidden gem - but one of my favourites on the Peninsula! Mosi serves an incredible array of fresh, house-made Italian pastries, breads and gelato and the brunch menu looks so yum! They also do pizza nights every Friday and Saturday which I've been meaning to check out!


Mosi Bakery Cafe


6. McKenzie Bight


McKenzie Bight is a scenic beach area in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park that looks out over the Saanich Inlet. The trail to McKenzie Bight is an easy 3.5km roundtrip. When I did the trail, I stopped and sat on the rocks looking out over the Inlet and watched seals play in the distance - it was so beautiful and serene!


McKenzie Bight

McKenzie Bight

McKenzie Bight


7. Durrance Lake


Durrance Lake is a popular swimming hole in the summer months and local fishing spot. A beautiful, easy forest trail circles the lake and when I visited on a still, autumn morning the reflection of the trees on the lake was so beautiful!


Durrance Lake

Durrance Lake


8. Tod Inlet


Tod Inlet is a small fjord in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. The hike to the Inlet passes through a lush forest and emerges to the scenic inlet. It's a really beautiful spot for a picnic, or just a casual stroll to immerse yourself in nature.


Tod Inlet

Tod Inlet

Tod Inlet


9. Coles Bay


Coles Bay is a wonderfully-peaceful spot to watch the sunset or go for a paddle in the summer months. Located on the western side of the Saanich Peninsular off West Saanich road, it's an easy stroll down from the carpark to the beach.


Coles Bay

Coles Bay


10. Brentwood Bay Village Empourium


The Brentwood Bay Village Empourium is much more than just your local cafe. This family-run coffee shop serves the best coffee in the area and you can really taste the love they put into their house-baked muffins! They incorporate local produce into their menu and have a curated collection of many locally-made products in their gift store.


But, the coolest thing about the Empourium is that they host live music every Friday night featuring local talent - a real asset to the area as everything else seems to be closed by 7pm!


Brentwood Bay Village Empourium


11. John Dean Provincial Park


John Dean Provincial Park is situated on the top of Mt Newtown and is home to a number of hiking trails. I took the Lookout Trail to Pickles' Bluff for an awesome view over the Saanich Peninsular, the Gulf Islands and the Cascade Mountains.


Dean Hill

Dean Hill

Dean Hill

View from Pickles' Bluff


12. The Fickle Fig


One of my favourite things about this area is the preference for socially-conscious and locally sourced produce. The Fickle Fig Farm Market exemplifies this philosophy - a farmers market, bakery and bistro which uses only seasonal and sustainable local farm produce in their products much of which, comes directly from their onsite farm.


While I sat and sipped on my hot apple cider and nibbled on my freshly-baked muffin I watched a chef wander into the garden, picking fresh herbs for his recipes!


The Fickle Fig

The Fickle Fig


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You can read about all my other adventures in Canada here on my blog!