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Sand Beach in Oak Bay. Rocks and driftwood are in the foreground, with a group of people set up enjoying the sun and beach tent.

Willows Beach

Beach Icon
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Activity:
Beach
Difficulty:
Easy
Location:
Victoria
Time:
45min +
Distance:
.5km

Activity:

Beach Icon
swimming icon

Accessibility:

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All ages elderly Icon
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Highlights Include:

Info Map

Guide to Visiting the #1 Beach in Victoria | Willows Beach in Oak Bay

Where to this weekend, Vancouver Island: Willows Beach Park, Victoria BC

Located in Oak Bay, this South Vancouver Island beach experience is perfect for anyone looking for a sand beach destination in Greater Victoria.

The area’s go-to spot for beach lovers in Victoria, Willows Beach’s white sand and shallow and protected waters are perfect for children. Enjoy stunning views of Discovery Island and Mount Baker while swimming or paddling.

Willows Beach is an excellent spot for summer activities such as beach volleyball and skimboarding. The sandy beaches and shallow waters, combined with the adjacent park, make it an ideal location for family gatherings and outdoor excursions.

The view from Cattle Point looking down at Willows beach at low tide with sand and driftwood

One visit to Willows Beach, and you’ll quickly understand why it’s a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Relax on the soft sandy beach, dip your toes in the calm waters, or take a leisurely walk along the beach’s edge while soaking in the breathtaking views.

A large grass park area alongside the beach offers all the necessary amenities, including a kids’ play park, picnic tables, benches, and washrooms with change rooms and a water fountain. Additionally, there is a fully equipped concession stand during the summer season and an indoor tea room with a beach view.

An accessible sidewalk equipped with benches stretches the entire length of Willows Beach, providing an easy walking experience. At the north end, there is a staircase that leads up to Cattle Point, where you can enjoy more benches and a picturesque view of Willows Beach. If you choose to continue your stroll, you can head towards Uplands Park from there.

Accessibility

A portable and durable mat system is provided to help individuals with limited mobility abilities with accessibility to Willows Beach. This Mobi-Mat is found at the end of Bowker Avenue.

Oak Bay Kiwanis Tea Room looking out at the water. Picnic tables and two blue chairs sit in front of the building

Amenities and Facilities at Willows Beach

Willows Beach provides everything you need for a comfortable and convenient visit. All amenities are well-maintained and easily accessible.

Restrooms and Changing Areas

You’ll find clean and well-maintained restrooms at the edge of the beach and along the park. The building has an outdoor water fountain, and indoor changing rooms are also available, making it easy to switch between your beachwear and regular clothes.

Picnic Areas

Picnic tables and benches are scattered around the park adjacent to the beach. Making for the perfect spot to enjoy a meal with the family while taking in the beach’s stunning views.

Playgrounds

For the little ones, a well-equipped playground is situated close to the beach. It’s a great place for children to burn off energy while adults relax.

Food

Kiwanis Willows Beach Tea Room is located at the main parking lot and is open from May to September, serving hot food, ice cream drinks and more to the summer crowds.

Kids play park with slides climbing gym and swings and three large trees in the background

Uplands Park & Cattle Point

As you soak in the serene beauty of Willows Beach, don’t miss the chance to extend your adventure a bit further. If you make it to the end of the beach, your exploring doesn’t end there, as a set of quaint stairs beckons the curious. Ascend these steps to be greeted by Cattle Point, a vantage point offering breathtaking views of the shoreline.

But why stop there? If your feet are itching for more exploration, just a short stroll away lies Uplands Park. Here, you’ll find yourself meandering through untamed Garry Oak Meadows, with trails winding through an unspoiled landscape. It’s a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the raw beauty of this rare ecosystem, a stark contrast to the sands of Willows Beach, and a reminder of the raw beauty of Vancouver Island.

 

Tips and Suggestions

Here are a few tips to make your visit to Willows Beach unforgettable.

  • The beach is most enjoyable during low tide when the sandy area is at its widest.
    Remember to pack your sunscreen and a beach umbrella as there’s not much natural shade available.
  • Parking can be limited during peak times. Willows Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the Victoria area, so arrive early on weekends.
  • Walk up the stairs to Cattle Point
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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Willows Beach Dog-Friendly?
Yes, but with restrictions. Dogs are allowed on the beach only during the off-season, from October 1 to April 30. And since the area is a migratory bird sanctuary dogs must not run at large.

Are There Public Restrooms?
Yes, public restrooms are available near the parking area.

Is There Parking Available?
Absolutely, there’s a parking lot near the beach, but it can fill up quickly on sunny days.

Is It Safe for Swimming?
Generally, yes. The waters are calm, making it a great spot for swimming, especially for families.

Are Water Sports Equipment Rentals Available?
No, there are no on-site rental facilities. You’ll need to bring your own gear or rent from a nearby shop.

What’s the Best Time to Visit?
Early morning or late afternoon are ideal to avoid crowds, especially during weekends and holidays.

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Getting to Willows Beach

Getting to Willows Beach is relatively straightforward, and there’s more than one way to reach this paradise. 

By Car:
Google Directions: From Victoria’s downtown, you can take a scenic drive using Fairfield Rd to Beach Drive, this route that takes you through some of Victoria’s most beautiful neighbourhoods. 

By Bus:
If you rely on public transport, bus number 5 will get you from downtown to Willows Beach. BC Transit Route Information

Biking or Walking:
For those who prefer a greener mode of transport, cycling is a fantastic option with a well-maintained network of bike lanes leading you right to the beach. CRD Bike Map

"Victoria's most popular swimming and paddle boarding beaches. Its shallow and protected waters are suitable for young children, while views of Discovery Island make basking, swimming or paddling there just that much more beautiful. Willows Beach is ideal for enjoying summer activities such as beach volleyball and skimboarding, due to its sand beaches and shallow waters great spot for family gatherings."

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Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Oak Bay waterfront is part of the oldest migratory bird sanctuary on the Pacific Coast. The Victoria Bird Sanctuary includes the coastal waters of Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich and covers 30 km of coastline, encompassing several unique natural areas. 

Dog Regulations

A sign located at Willows Beach with the Dog RegulationsIt is important to know that dogs are not allowed from May 1 to Sept 30 along the main beach and all year round South of Bowker Ave.

And since the area is located in the migratory bird sanctuary, dogs must not run at large and can see severe penalties if caught chasing birds.

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Additional Resources For Your Visit to Willows Beach

Here are some helpful tools and resources to make your trip planning easier and your visit to Willows Beach even more delightful:

Willows Beach Park Official Website: Get the most accurate and up-to-date information about park hours, amenities, and any special events taking place. Visit the Willows Beach Park official site

Victoria Public Transport: If you’re relying on public transportation, it’s useful to have the bus schedules at your fingertips. Find them here.

Local Tide Information: Stay informed about the water conditions. Find them here

Accommodation: If you’re looking for places to stay near Willows Beach, Visit our Accommodations map for a range of options to suit different budgets.

Victoria Tourism: For more tips and information on other attractions in and around Victoria, check out our Victoria Page.

All Trails GPS Trail Map

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FAQ:

Is Willows Beach Dog-Friendly?
Yes, but with restrictions. Dogs are allowed on the beach only during the off-season, from October 1 to April 30. And since the area is a migratory bird sanctuary dogs must not run at large.

Are There Public Restrooms?
Yes, public restrooms are available near the parking area.

Is There Parking Available?
Absolutely, there’s a parking lot near the beach, but it can fill up quickly on sunny days.

Is It Safe for Swimming?
Generally, yes. The waters are calm, making it a great spot for swimming, especially for families.

Are Water Sports Equipment Rentals Available?
No, there are no on-site rental facilities. You’ll need to bring your own gear or rent from a nearby shop.

What’s the Best Time to Visit?
Early morning or late afternoon are ideal to avoid crowds, especially during weekends and holidays.

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Original Author:

Modified: January 3, 2024
Last Visit: May 4, 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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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 .

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