The dog days of summer aren’t over yet. If the heat has left you panting, then it’s time for a paddle with the pups, er, we mean kids, at one of Victoria’s many swimming spots. Here are some local favourites to sneak away to for a morning front-crawl or a pre-dinner dip. And to make your outing complete, we’ve got some yummy suggestions on where to get goodies for a picnic by the water.
If the call of the sea is saying your name, consider Finlayson Arm, world-famous for yachting and its sheltered, warm water. Coles Bay Regional Park is another great option. Not only is the beach perfect for hours of play and safe water access, but also the water there is so much warmer than beaches on the exposed Pacific side of town. From the parking lot, it’s a 10-minute walk on a winding nature trail to the secluded sandy beach. Low tide is the perfect time for kids of all ages to explore the rich tidal life in this lagoon.
For those who prefer a less salty dip, Durrance Lake Regional Park makes a clean, refreshing alternative. (We love it in the early morning or late afternoon.) A dirt path around the lake provides access to small beaches for exploring and the kids will love jumping off the fallen logs scattered around the lake. Stop by the Red Barn Market for fresh vegetables and produce, local meat, or their famous made-to-order sandwiches.
Another local hangout on the other side of town is Matheson Lake, a quiet, clean lake adjacent to Matheson Trail (a three-kilometre hiking and walking loop that circles the lake). Matheson Lake Regional Park boasts a sandy beach perfect for swimming, picnicing and paddling. Just a few minutes away is My Chosen Cafe, a neighbourhood favourite that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as freshly-baked goodies, and our favourite, their gourmet pizza (a perfect dish to take to the lake).
Explore these spots this month and you’ll be happy to add them to your favourite outings list. We promise we’re not barking up the wrong tree. Tested by Barb C., Victoria