It's our first summer in Victoria, so we've been very eager to explore beautiful Vancouver Island as much as possible. We made it our mission to visit at least two new places every week before our official routine starts in September.
With a toddler and a six-month-old baby in tow, we had to ensure that each journey wasn't too far of a drive and each walking path was able to accommodate a double stroller (or at least baby carrier and walking toddler friendly) and not to mention short attention spans. That being said, all of these locations are great for older children too!
We have a lot more to explore on Vancouver Island, in particular further North, but the following list includes my Summer 2018 top picks for incredible spots in and around the Greater Victoria Region to visit that will keep both adventurous parents and kids happy and entertained.
We visited Mount Douglas Beach, which is part of Mount Douglas Park, after dinner one evening during a recent heat wave. It was a lot of fun exploring the area. Parking was a breeze and it's only a brief walk down to the water's edge.
Although Mount Douglas beach is very rocky, there are beautiful patches of soft sand to enjoy your picnic and beach toys. Madeleine's choice of activity was finding nice rocks and watching them splash as she tossed them into Cordova Bay.
If time permits, you can also drive or walk up to the summit of Mount Douglas to catch a full panoramic view of the surrounding area.
We had planned to visit the Fisherman's Wharf but decided to explore the Victoria waterfront as part of the trip. We parked near the Old Town and walked along the water in Victoria’s famous inner harbour - the views are spectacular along this 2 km walk and the paved path is almost entirely on the water.
Some of the famous sites along the way that you should be sure not to miss are the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the Royal British Columbia Museum, and the British Columbia Parliament building.
We chose to stretch out our time at the Fisherman's Wharf and indulged in some fresh Fish N Chips at Barb's. It was getting close to nap time so decided to return to our parked car via the super convenient water taxi instead of walking with two tired kids back to our car. The water taxi trip was a lot of fun and so picturesque. We were able to bring our huge double stroller on board the taxi with no questions asked. It also gives you the opportunity to see many of the local float planes taxi, take-off, and land!
This park was recommended to us by a friend just before we had arrived and after hearing about it from multiple people, we decided to check it out early. Beacon Hill Park marks “Mile 0” of the Trans-Canada Highway.
The grounds are breathtaking and fun to explore. There were multiple Peacock sightings around the park and the flower gardens are stunning. The park even has an animal farm on site and one of the oldest sequoia trees in Victoria. Visiting Beacon Hill Park was a win and we will definitely be back again.
Our first trip to Thetis Lake was to enjoy a nice walk around the area. It is so beautiful - and a very popular spot for understandable reasons.
Being an Ontario-girl, one thing I noticed about Victoria is how cold most of the water is on Vancouver Island. So when we dipped our toes into Thetis Lake, I was very excited to feel warm lake water. Madeleine really wanted to go swimming when she saw all of the activity on the water so we made sure to come back fully prepared to go swimming.
Fast forward to our second visit where we came prepared for the ultimate swimming morning. The sand is very soft and the water temperature was very pleasant. Despite Thetis Lake being a popular spot, it is large enough for the crowds to enjoy as they come and go. It even has a restroom a stone’s throw away from the beach to clean up after a day playing in the sand.
A large part of the trek to Niagara Falls is stroller friendly, except for the last 5 minute walk when accessing the Niagara Falls. You can park very close to "Niagara Falls" or you can park at one of the main parking lots and take a leisurely stroll through Goldstream's seemingly endless number of beautiful paths and trails, just be sure to stop at the visitors centre for a map and some friendly directions! When you see a colourful drainage tunnel you will know you're headed in the right direction too see the Falls.
**Do you have a spot on Vancouver Island that you love to visit with your family? I would love to hear about it! Please leave me a note in the comment section of this post.**
Erin Clayton Photography is a portrait photographer passionate about documenting treasured moments to help families remember their now for years to come.
It was a feeling like no other when I learned that the two images I had entered into the Top 100 NAPCP Gallery Event and Print Competition were selected! The 100 chosen images will be on live display at the National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) headquarters in Atlanta, GA on August 23 for judging. Needless to say, I will be on the edge of my seat until then.
This year's categories are Colour, Explore and Water. I entered one image into the "Water" category and the second image into the "Explore" category.
Although I would have LOVED to attend the event alongside so many talented and inspiring photographers, my family and I have conflicting plans that we're unable to reschedule. It is my dream to attend next year's Gallery Event in person to finally meet all of the other photographers whose work I have admired for so long.
I was so happy to photograph this gorgeous family for my last sand dune session in sunny Saudi! This beautiful family of five is also leaving Saudi on their next world adventure and I am so excited for them! Wishing this family nothing but happy travels in Ethiopia.
It was an absolute pleasure meeting up with the lovely Borgit and her two gorgeous kids for a sunny and wonderful morning. We started the session at the landmark jebels and then made our way to the local park for a bit of shade.
Thank you for a fun filled morning Borgit and family!
It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that we are in the process of moving to Victoria, British Columbia. After three and a half years in sunny Saudi Arabia, our hearts are filled with all of the memories we've made meeting incredible people, having our two wonderful children, traveling to new places, and experiencing a fascinating culture.
Photography has been an enormous part of my life in Saudi Arabia from day one. It has been an outlet which allowed me to meet many amazing people from every part of the world, each with their own captivating story. It has truly been an honour to document family memories and I want to thank all of my incredible clients for believing in me!
Although I've wrapped up sessions here in Saudi Arabia, Erin Clayton Photography will continue on Vancouver Island. I have been obsessively researching different areas of the beautiful island and there is certainly no shortage of breathtaking beaches, mountains, and forests! I am very excited to start up with sessions again in Victoria this Fall with countless locations to use, including: Mystic Beach, Island View Beach, Langford Lake and Cattle Point, just to name a few.
If you're ever in Victoria, I hope that you'll say hi!