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Top 10 exciting things to see & do when visiting Sooke 2024

written bySteven Eckert

Last ModifiedMarch 1, 2024

girl on a rope swing on a rocky beach with the beautiful Sandcut Beach waterfall behind her on a winter day just outside of Sooke BC on Vancouver Island

Unlocking Adventure: What to Do in Sooke, British Columbia's Unspoiled Paradise!

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 beauty and endless opportunities for exploration, and the best part is that it is still relatively undiscovered by the general public. 

New Big Zip Tower two friends excited after a long zip line ride
AdrenaLine Zipline Adventure Tours

For first-time visitors, there is an overwhelming amount of things to see and do in the area. 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 this town has to offer, from its breathtaking natural parks to its buzzing local culture.

Sooke map with experiences what to do when visiting Sooke areaSo 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

If you are interested in digging in further, check out our complete Visitor Guide Travel Planner Download.

 

 

Whiffin Spit in Sooke Vancouver Island
Whiffin Spit

#1 Walk Whiffing Spit

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.

Where to start:

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

 

 

Visit one of the hidden spots along Sooke Potholes
Sooke Potholes

#2 Visit Sooke Potholes

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.

Where to Start:

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 until you reach the campground gate; 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

 

A walk along the hidden gem in Sooke, Rotary Pier and Sooke Boardwalk
Sooke Boardwalk

#3 Walk The Boardwalk

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.

Where to Start:

Two options: make it a loop or park at one of the two designated parking lots, walk in and out.

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 (but still fairly steep and is slippery in winter). 

Murry Road Parking Lota 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 but also has stairs and a short steep hill to climb on the way back up. 

Find out more > Sooke Boardwalk Loop, photos and map

Vancouver Island Accommodations
Discover Vancouver Islands Vacation rentals and best hotels for your next visit.

Sooke downtown map with local restaurants and shops marked

#4 Enjoy UpSooke

Downtown Sooke, affectionately known to locals as ‘UpSooke,’ embodies the charm of a community that has blossomed from its historical roots in logging, fishing, and mining into a destination town.

Its recent recognition as a wonderful place to visit comes as no surprise to those who live in the area. The history and unique landscape give Sooke a unique layout, unlike the typical tourist area.

The area doesn’t have a classic city center and can be a little confusing at first, maybe even adding to the adventure of exploring Sooke. We invite visitors to meander through its streets, where they will find an eclectic mix of local shops, amazing restaurants, and hidden spots that aren’t immediately visible from the main road.

The Hidden Treasure checklist:

Where to Start:

There are small parking lots located all along Sooke Rd. A great place to start is in front of the small strip mall where Pharmasave is located – Directions

 


Visiting Sooke? Download the FREE Sooke Visitor Guide & Travel Planner


 

Shirley Lighthouse drone shot
Sheringham Point Lighthouse in Shirley

#5 Sheringham Point Lighthouse

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.

Where to start:

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

 

Sooke Salmon Charters group catch
You Keep Catch Catch Cleaning & Fileting Rods, reels & Tackles 4hr, 6hr & 8hr options 4 person 25' boat Nearshore...
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Fijian Son Fishing Charter boat
You Keep Catch Catch Cleaning & Fileting Rods, reels & Tackles 3 person 21' boat Inshore Fishing, Nearshore Fishing, ...
Full Melt Fishing Charters fishing rod
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Markets in Sooke. The Thursday Night Market at Sooke Museum includes local crafts food and artisans

#6 The Spirt of Sooke

When planning your visit to Sooke, make sure to schedule around local events, take in the vibrant Night Market, or immerse yourself in one of the town’s lively festivals. Sooke, is a hub of activity, offering an array of events and festivals that truly capture the spirit of this vibrant community.

The Sooke Fine Arts Show is a highlight, showcasing exceptional artworks from regional artists in a celebration of creativity and craftsmanship.

All Sooke Day brings the community together with a day of loggers sports, and family fun, reflecting Sooke’s rich history and traditions.

Music lovers will revel in the Sooke Music Festival, an event that fills the air with melodies from a variety of genres, creating a memorable experience for all.

Not to be missed, the Saturday Farmers Market is a weekly treasure trove of local produce, artisan crafts, and delightful eats, perfect for those looking to sample the local fare.

Where to start:

Keep an eye on Sooke Community Festivals and Event Calendar

 


Visiting Sooke? Download the FREE Sooke Visitor Guide & Travel Planner


 

Experiencing the top of zipline at Adrenaline Zipline Adventure tours
Adrenaline Zipline Adventure Tours

#7 Zipline

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.

Where to Start:

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

 

Vancouver Island Accommodations
Discover Vancouver Islands Vacation rentals and best hotels for your next visit.
Winter at Sandcut Beach swing
Winter swing at Sandcut Beach

#8 Sandcut Beach

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.

Where to Start:

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

 

Beecher Bay beach Aylard Farm East Sooke
White Sand Beach at Aylard Farm

#9Visit Aylard Farms

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.

Where to Start:

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

 

China Beach Vancouver Island
China Beach

#10 China Beach

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.

Where to start:

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

 

 

Bonus – Get Out on the Water

Their are some amazing opportunities with having easy access to the Sooke Baisin. If you are interested in getting out on the water and enjoying the Juan de Fuca Strait, Sooke is famous for it’s fishing it’s whale watching and even kayaking.

Sailing:

Afternoon Sailing Adventure

Take the captain’s wheel on the or just observe with the wind in your sails and on the lookout for wild marine life as you head out of the Sooke Basin between East Sooke and Whiffin Spit out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, famous for its whales and orcas.

Find out more…

sailing lessons Vancouver Island

 


Salmon and Halibut Fishing:

Fishing Charters | Sooke.

Offering a fantastic time on the water, supplying boat, guide, and gear on a 26′ boat. You keep your catch, and they clean and filet. 6 person offering 4-8hr options.

Find out more…


Helpful Links for Visitors

Sooke Accommodations – List of  hotels and vacation rentals in the Sooke region

Visiting Sooke? Download the FREE Sooke Visitor Guide & Travel Planner

 

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!

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You Keep Catch Catch Cleaning & Fileting Rods, reels & Tackles 4hr, 6hr & 8hr options 4 person 25' boat Nearshore...
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You Keep Catch Catch Cleaning & Fileting Rods, reels & Tackles 4hr, 5hr & 8hr options 6 person 26' boat Inshore F...
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Where to this Weekend?

Vancouver Island Map with Cities
Fused Glass workshop experience in Sooke BC
In this 3-hour class, you'll tap into the ancient knowledge of the Egyptians and use their techniques to craft one-of-a-kind ...
Ziplining out of Victoria BC on the first zip of the day
Join us for an exhilarating outdoor adventure that takes place on 100 acres of coastal temperate rainforest with magnificent ...
d4
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Broom Hill hike in Sooke
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bike downhill icon

Broom Hill

Spectacular view in Sooke on top of Broom Hill in Sooke.
A man with a backpack walks away on a dirt path surrounded by lush green rainforest and large old-growth trees. Located on Cedar Grove trail in Roche Cove Park, South Vancouver Island
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big tree icon
bike icon

Roche Cove Park

Explore the old-growth in Cedar Grove, picturesque Matheson Creek, and historic Galloping Goose Trails at Roche Cove Regional Park
Looking down at French Beach from the point at Priest Cabin Park
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View point icon
abandon building icon

Priest Cabin Par...

A spectacular view looking over French Beach and the ruins of a cabin built by a Jesuit Priest

Thank you for visiting – I hope you found the information you were looking for at VIBL (Vancouver Island Bucket List) please continue to discover all of the great places that makes Vancouver Island so great! 

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