The scent of Coppertone mingles with the salty air and the sounds of children splashing in the chilly water drift towards me as I approach Willows Beach. On a warm afternoon on Vancouver Island, this crescent shaped beach with gorgeous views of Discovery Island and Mount Baker is the place to be. This popular beach, located in the municipality of Oak Bay, is one of the best beaches Victoria has to offer. I often visit Willows Beach with friends and family in the late afternoon, but my favourite time to visit this beach is early in the morning.
A few more of my favourite beaches are just a bit further along Beach Drive. Accessible via a short path, the beach at Haynes Park is a wonderful sheltered beach with views of Jimmy Chicken Island and the Oak Bay Marina.
If you decide to visit the Oak Bay Marina, you can feed seals, wander amongst the yachts and enjoy an espresso at a seaside coffee shop.
On the other side of the Oak Bay Marina and Turkey Head is a small beach. Here you may find some cool beach glass and there are a few interesting tide pools to explore.
Continuing along Beach Drive past the Victoria Golf Club is a tiny tranquil islet. Adirondack chairs, a picnic table and gorgeous views across Enterprise Channel toward Trial Island await your arrival.
McNeill Bay beach is right around the corner. This steeper beach is a great spot for beach combing and relaxing in the sunshine.
- Willows Beach is located in Oak Bay at the intersection of Dalhousie Street and Beach Drive. Parking is available along Beach Drive or in a parking lot next to the 1.17 hectare waterfront park. Here you will also find a large grassed area, washrooms, a seasonal concession, playground and picnic tables.
- Haynes Park is located in Oak Bay at the intersection of Beresford Street and Beach Drive. This tiny park has benches, beach access and beautiful views.
- Oak Bay Marina is located at 1327 Beach Drive.
- Continue past the Victoria Golf Club (700-932 Beach Drive) to reach the tiny islet and McNeill Bay. Parking is available along Beach Drive.