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A large driftwood sculpture that looks like a lagoon monster called McGnarly located at Esquimalt Lagoon

Esquimalt Lagoon

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Picnic Icon
Activity:
Walk, Beach, Swimming
Difficulty:
Easy
Location:
Victoria
Time:
45min-3hrs
Distance:
0-4km (0-2.5mi)

Activity:

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Picnic Icon

Accessibility:

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All ages elderly Icon
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Highlights Include:

Info Map

Esquimalt Lagoon 2km Sand Beach Spectacular Sculptures

Where to this weekend, Vancouver Island: Esquimalt Lagoon

If you’re visiting Victoria and looking for a great sand beach to dip your toes in the ocean, this might be the place to visit. beaches, driftwood displays and the sites that surround this fantastic beach. While you’re here, stop next door as the visit Fisgard Lighthouse, Fort Rodd Hill and Hatley Castle are all within walking distance.

Don't Get Lost — Stay Safe

Looking to spend time with the family, enjoy a sunset, walk barefoot in the sand? If you’re in search of a large beach with easy access, I’ve found a place you might enjoy. Esquimalt Lagoon offers 2km of sand, a migratory bird sanctuary and wonderful views of the active Juan de Fuca Strait.

Coburg peninsula beachLocated on the edge of Victoria in Colwood, there’s plenty of free parking and is surrounded by popular tourist stops, including Fort Rodd Hill, Fisgard Lighthouse, and Hatley Castle.
Esquimalt Lagoon is a great stop for anyone visiting South Vancouver Island.

Esquimalt (pronounced ‘Ess-KWI-malt’) Lagoon is a vital bird sanctuary almost entirely enclosed by a sand and gravel peninsula. This 2km long naturally built barrier and the sand beach has become a popular spot for locals and visitors to walk along driftwood, play in the sand and enjoy the saltwater air.

 

Seasonal Expectation – Esquimalt Lagoon

Summer at Esquimalt Lagoon can have a vibrant energy. As you wander along the expansive shoreline, you’ll feel the sun warming your skin and the ocean breeze tousling your hair. Weekends come alive with the melodies of local musicians, creating the perfect soundtrack for your beach day.

And let’s not forget the food trucks, which roll in to offer a smorgasbord of local flavors, turning a simple beach outing into a culinary journey.

While the generous stretch of sand offers plenty of space to bask in the sun, it’s worth noting that there’s little shelter from the elements. And be prepared for the cold water, just because the sun is out the West Coast water stays nice and cool.

Winter at Esquimalt Lagoon offers a serene yet invigorating experience. It’s a great time of year to meander along the shoreline, enjoying the tranquil gallery and showcasing captivating driftwood art installations.

The ocean takes on a more dramatic personality, with waves crashing against the shore in a rhythmic dance that’s both mesmerizing and humbling. Unlike the bustling summer months, winter brings a sense of solitude to the lagoon. You’ll encounter fewer people, giving you ample space to explore the large pieces of driftwood that have been  washed ashore. It’s a season that invites introspection, all while wrapped in the crisp ocean air.

Tips and Suggestions

Parking:
There are plenty of free parking spaces along both sides of Ocean Blvd, with room on the shoulder for your longer vehicle.

Restrooms:
Public washrooms are available at the southwest end of Ocean Blvd, where you can also find a water fountain, bottle refill station and a doggy fountain. Open from 8am – 8pm

Porta-potties are also located in the middle of the beach at the driftwood art installation. 

Picnic Facilities:
There are only a few picnic tables along the beach. Most are located in the area of the Driftwood Art Installation. During summer, you will find food trucks in the spit’s central area. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the spit at Esquimalt Lagoon natural?
Yes, the spit was naturally formed as a sand and gravel barrier creating and protecting the lagoon. The bridge allows tidal water to flow in and out of the lagoon.
What else is there to do in the area?
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Driftwood Art Installation

I'm spending time with the McGnarly, the drift wood sculpture and the Esquimalt Lagoon protectorIt started with “McGnarly” – The Guardian of the Lagoon, protector of the birds and small creatures. A sculpture from Alex at Drifted Creations was built for Colwood’s Eats & Beats Beach event. The mythical creature guards the lagoon and captivates visitors all year long.

The installation also inspired another artist, Paul Lewis, who added driftwood birds and animals to the beach.

As you explore South Vancouver Island, keep your eyes open for one of the many driftwood creatures created by Paul, including the Sasquatch in East Sooke.

Both Paul and Alex’s amazing work can be spotted around the island.

Esquimalt Lagoon Map

"With other great stops to add to your visit just around the corner such as Fisgard Light House, Hatley Castle and Wild Play Victoria. Callwood is a great place for any visitor to Victoria to stop and enjoy."

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Don't Get Lost — Stay Safe

Food Trucks

Colwood Beach Food Days.
For an even better outdoor experience visit in the summer starting in May, Friday-Sunday food trucks take over a small section alongside Ocean Boulevard. Who doesn’t enjoy access to great local food, walking along the beach while taking in the beauty and natural seaside surroundings?

Saturdays offer even more! A rustic stage built on the beach amongst the driftwood sculptures hs local musicians playing from 5 to 7 pm. Schedule Information

Links
– Colwood Food Days
– Tide charts

Check out Witty’s Lagoon for another great beach in the area.

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Just Down the Road

Fort Rodd Hill is in close proximity to two other great stops. For an exceptional day, we suggest visiting Hatley Castle in the morning, then head to Esquimalt Lagoon. for a picnic or food truck and spend the afternoon at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse.

Gear Tips For Vancouver Island

When you’re gearing up for an outdoor adventure on Vancouver Island, the key is to dress in layers, no matter the season. The island’s weather can throw curveballs, with conditions varying significantly from the sheltered forests to the breezy coastlines.

For those cool winter escapades, your go-to should include quality rain gear, topped off with a cozy beanie or toque, and a pair of light gloves to keep the chill at bay.

Summer explorers, don’t be fooled by the warmer temps; that same waterproof shell that kept you dry in the winter will be your best friend against the cool ocean breezes.

Remember, the right clothing and gear can make or break your outdoor experience on Vancouver Island, ensuring you enjoy every moment, come rain or shine.

THE NORTH FACE women's waterproof antora jacket sq
THE NORTH FACE Women's
Waterproof Antora Jacket
North face mens antora Rain Hoodie black sq
THE NORTH FACE Men's
Antora Rain Hoodie
Helly Hansen Mens seven J waterproof rain coat sq
Helly Hansen Men's
Breathable Rain Coat
Polygon 32 oz waterbottle sq
32oz Water Bottle
for Fitness and Outdoor
Osprey Sportlite 20 Hiking Backpack sq
Osprey Sportlite 20
Hiking Backpack
adventure first aid kit
Adventure Medical Kit
Ultralight and Watertight

Photo Gallery:

FAQ:

Is the spit at Esquimalt Lagoon natural?
Yes, the spit was naturally formed as a sand and gravel barrier creating and protecting the lagoon. The bridge allows tidal water to flow in and out of the lagoon.
What else is there to do in the area?
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Original Author:

Modified: October 19, 2023
Last Visit: October 13, 2023

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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Pack Out:
We love Vancouver Island and want to keep the natural beauty. Please respect the places you visit and pack out what you pack in and leave the area better than when you arrived. We all know how much trash can spoil an experience and the environment, so please help us keep it clean!

Wildlife:
Vancouver Island is a land of natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Please be aware of your surroundings and take the usual precautions for personal and wildlife safety.
Black bears, cougars and even wolves are common on Vancouver Island for more on Wildlife Safety Click Here 

Tide and Seasonal Safety:
Changing seasons and tides can have a drastic effect on most locations on Vancouver Island. Please be cautious as the information in this post may vary depending on the time of year and weather. Make sure to check for current weather and tide information before you make your journey! Click here for the tides in your area. 

Be aware of ocean currents before swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking.

Land Acknowledgement:
We would like to acknowledge the land we appreciate daily within the 50 First Nations that make up the traditional territories of the Coast Salish, Nuu chah nulth, and Kwakiutl–the first peoples of Vancouver Island .

Disclaimer:
The information on this website should not be taken as accurate, complete or up-to-date. Please check and look into the information yourself. We do not assume any liabilities for the use of this information. It is unreasonable to rely solely upon the information from this website. 

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