Nestled on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, lies the charming town of Sooke, a lesser-known destination that has become a favourite for anyone visiting. Renowned for its lush rainforests and rugged coastline Sooke offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness that is captivating and enchanting.
For first-time visitors, there is an overwhelming amount of things to see and do in town. It’s easy to miss out on some of the hidden gems. That’s why it’s essential to know the best ways to use your time and explore all available options.
To help navigate this treasure trove of experiences, we’ve curated a list of the top 10 things to do in Sooke. This list serves as your personal guide to the town, ensuring you experience the very best of what Sooke has to offer, from its breathtaking natural parks to its buzzing local culture.
So sit back, relax, and let us guide you on a journey through Sooke. With this handy list, you’re well-equipped to make the most of your trip, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Browse our top 10 things to do when visiting Sooke, BC! Extra tip, number eight is the most breathtaking at low tide.
The hidden entrance and the fact it’s situated in the heart of Sooke make the Sooke Boardwalk Loop one of Sooke’s best-kept secrets and high on our recommendations when visiting Sooke. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a morning jog. The loop stretches almost two kilometres and includes Sooke’s beautiful waterfront, the boardwalk provides spectacular views of the harbour and surrounding nature along with shopping, coffee and park views.
Two options do it as a loop or park at one of the two designated parking lots.
Ed Macgregor Park – Ed Macgregor is a great starting point for easy access to the boardwalk and the prettiest walk. The only downfall is if you are completing the loop, you will have a steep hill and stairs to climb at the other end of the boardwalk. Some find it easier to start at the other parking lot if stairs and hills can be challenging for some.
Ed Macgregor Parking lot is located 150 meters from the park on Highway 14 (West Coast Road). After parking, take the sidewalk along the main road to enter Ed Macgregor Park. The walkway is hidden at the back of the park, zig-zaging down to the boardwalk, and is wheelchair-accessible.
Murry Road Parking Lot – a small parking lot with a fisherman statue at the end of Murry Road. This is a popular parking lot for people fishing as it’s the quickest access to Rotary Pier.
Find out more > Sooke Boardwalk Loop, photos and map
Whether you are looking for a place to swim, hike, or take in nature’s beauty, Sooke Potholes is an ideal spot. A short 10-minute drive, the Sooke Potholes offers visitors a stunning, natural landscape. Every access point along the river provides a unique view, experience and photo opportunity.
The park is an excellent spot for families to explore nature in its most pristine form. With its numerous trails, cliffs, and shallow pools, Sooke Potholes guarantees a fun-filled day outdoors with plenty of opportunities for taking pictures and making memories.
For your first visit, we recommend starting at the larger parking lot #2. From here, you can access the Sooke River trail with a view of the Deer Trail Resort ruins, The Galloping Goose trail and the trails heading up to Mary Vine Falls and Pedan Lake.
If you are looking to swim, Parking lot #1 is a great spot as you walk down the hill to a small beach and a wonderful swimming hole surrounded by pebble beaches on both sides and rocky cliffs.
To access the park, take Sooke River Road just past the gates. There are four parking lots, continue past the first and head through a second set of gates and over the bridge. You are now in Sooke Potholes Regional Park.
Parking lot 1 – will be on your left. – Great place for swimming and cliff jumping.
Parking lot 2 – Access to all sorts of trails, including Galloping Goose, Marry Vine Waterfall and Sooke River Trail.
Parking lot 3 – Follow the road as far up as you can before the Campground booth, here you will have access to Galloping Goose and Sooke River Trail with more swimming holes and great picnic spots.
Find out more > Sooke Potholes, photos and map
Are you looking for a refreshing and scenic walk? Check out Whiffin Spit at the entrance of Sooke Harbour! This small natural peninsula boasts a charming walking trail perfect for exercise, watching wildlife, and taking photos. Plus, you’ll love the stunning views of Sooke Harbour and the Juan de Fuca Strait, framed by the Olympic Mountains.
The 2.7km out and back walk is wheelchair friendly and has benches, washrooms and a drinking fountain. It’s easy to discover why this is one of the first stops for most visitors to Sooke and a popular place for locals.
A small parking lot at the end of Whiffin Spit Road is approximately a six-minute drive from Sooke. Although it can get busy, it won’t take long for a parking spot to become available for those who are patient. The trail runs along the middle of the spit that leads to the point, but you can also explore the shoreline while looking for wildlife.
Find out more > Whiffin Spit, photos and map
Located on the other side of the basin in East Sooke, Aylard Farm is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Sooke. The name might be confusing, as there are no signs of a farm besides a few fruit trees and fields.
This area of East Sooke has a lot going for it. Within a short walk, you can experience one of the prettiest white sand pocket beaches in the area, a breathtaking view from Creyke Point, a look into the first nations’ past, and the beautiful coastline overlooking Juan de Fuca Strait.
East Sooke has some of the windiest roads on Vancouver Island but it’s worth the car ride! Follow the signs on East Sooke Road to Becher Bay Rd until the end of the road, where you will reach the Aylard Farm Parking Lot.
Creyke Point – From the parking lot, head down the main trail and make the first left through the field, the trail will head to the bay and follow the shoreline and up to Cryke Point. With a short scramble, you will have a wonderful view looking over the large bay. Keep your eyes open for whales!
White Sand Pocket Beach – Follow the trail along the rugged shoreline and down to the beach. During summer and at low tide, this small picturesque white sand beach is one of the prettiest on the island.
Petroglyphs – You can head back up to the main trail or walk along the beach as the sand turns into pebbles and a rugged shoreline. When you can’t go any further, climb up and follow the trail for another 500 meters, you will reach Squeaky Point, where you can see petroglyphs carved into the rock hundreds of years ago.
Find out more > East Sooke Aylard Farm, photos and map
Sooke is located on the Sooke Basin, a large water body separating Sooke from East Sooke. Along the rocky shoreline, you will find quaint coves, peninsulas and history going back thousands of years due to the abundant food in the area, making it the perfect spot for a first nations village.
The Sooke Harbour is an ideal destination for anyone who loves water activities. Whether you want to go sailing, kayaking, fishing, or whale watching, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy your favourite pastimes on the water. With its beautiful scenery and diverse wildlife, the Sooke Basin is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves to be on the water.
Where to start:
Are you interested in sailing, kayaking, or fishing? Check out our Experiences Page to discover incredible local businesses that can provide an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, everyone has options.
Imagine a lighthouse on the rocky shores of Canada. Close your eyes and picture it. Chances are, the image in your mind closely resembles the Sheringham Point Lighthouse. This stunning structure is made of white and red reinforced concrete and sits atop a rugged cliff overlooking the water.
Parking Lot: Twenty minutes west of Sooke on Sooke Road, turn left into the small village of Shirley and follow Sheringham Point Road right until the dead end, where you’ll discover a small parking lot. The trail leaves from the parking lot, heads to the gate, and down to the lighthouse.
Although you can’t go into the lighthouse, the non-profit group has done amazing work on the grounds adding new trails, benches and historical information.
Walk around the lighthouse to the other side of the building. The view is wonderful and a great place to look out for whales, and they even have a speaker connected to a hydrophone out in the water to listen for passing whales.
Find out more > Sheringham Point Lighthouse, photos and map
China Beach is another beautiful beach along the coast of southern Vancouver Island. A stunning hike, amazing views, sand beaches and a hidden waterfall are just some of the reasons you should visit China Beach.
The trail down is relatively easy with a few stairs, and once you get down to the bottom, this beach offers a peaceful, relaxing spot where you can let your stresses go.
China Beach Parking Lot – is thirty minutes from Sooke at the southern tip of Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, just off Hwy 14 (West Coast Road). There are two parking lots; the first accesses Mystic Beach and the Juan de Fuca Trail. The Second is where you want to park to access China Beach.
Find out more > China Beach, photos and map
It takes about an hour to drive on the windy West Coast Road, which may be a bit of a distance from Sooke. However, the trip is worth it.
Botanical Beach is located just outside of Port Renfrew on the northern tip of the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. At low tide, you’ll discover tidal pools with sea urchins, starfish, fish, and even octopus have been spotted in the sandstone tide pools.
The 3km loop will take you to Botany Bay, and down a picturesque path along the shoreline through ancient forests to tidal pools teeming with marine life.
Parking Lot – Just 5 minutes away from Port Renfrew lies a parking lot located at the end of Cerantes Road. This parking lot offers two separate trailheads, both of which are part of the 3km loop. The first trailhead has washrooms just a few meters down and will take you to Botany Bay the second trail head will be the quickest way to get to Botanical Beach.
Find out more >Botanical Beach, photos and map
Experience an exciting journey through the breathtaking Pacific Rainforest by gliding above the canopy on a guided zipline tour. The Zipline tour includes an exhilarating 10-minute ATV ride to the course’s peak, eight distinct and unforgettable ziplines, and a suspension bridge that stretches 100 feet! This tour lasts for about 2 hours, giving you enough time to fully appreciate the rainforest’s magnificence and splendour.
Parking Lot: The parking lot and main building has just moved to a new location for easier access.
To find out more about Zipline tours and to book online, visit Zipline Canopy Adventure Tours
There are several breathtaking beaches along the Juan de Fuca Strait, and Sandcut Beach is one of them. This beach features a unique waterfall cascading down sandstone cliffs and onto rocks before disappearing below the smooth, wave-washed pebbles.
A Small Parking Lot, along hwy 14 is where you start a magical 500m walk through the rainforest and open up to a long pebble beach. If you turn left and walk a few hundred meters along the beach, you’ll eventually come across a waterfall that can be seen in the distance, nestled among the trees. There is a small trail alongside the falls to climb up to the top and walk back along the sandstone river bed.
Find out more >Sandcut Beach, photos and map
To Sum it up, Sooke is an incredible vacation destination offering a variety of unique attractions to explore. From stunning lighthouses and historic parks to vibrant beach spots and thrilling zipline tours, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or peaceful relaxation, the Juan de Fuca coastline has it all.
No matter your interests or skill level, you can experience an unforgettable time in this beautiful part of Vancouver Island. With all these amazing locations around Sooke, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready for a great trip!
Sooke Accommodations – List of hotels and vacation rentals in the Sooke region
Sooke Travel Planner – Plan your next visit to Sooke