Avoid the hassle of searching for leash-optional areas with these five perfect spots
It’s officially spring, and as temperatures are rising, many dog owners prepare to undertake the tedious task of figuring out which parks and beaches allow their furry friends to run free. Cadboro Bay was a favorite off-leash area, but a recent bylaw prohibits dogs off-leash in Gyro Park and on the beach.
It’s important to obey leash restrictions in our parks and beaches to ensure the safety of ourselves and others, but dogs still deserve the opportunity to run and play freely outside. The last thing anyone wants is to get ticketed while walking your dog, so here are five leash-optional areas in and around Victoria that you and your dog will love.
West Beach, Thetis Lake
Thetis Lake is a classic summer destination, but did you know West Beach is dog-friendly? Surrounded by trees, there is a serene feel to this small beach. There is a parking lot at the beachfront, but it can get busy, in which case, you can park in the main lot and walk down on-leash. Thetis does have seasonal restrictions for dogs from June 1 to Sept. 15, but this only affects Prior Lake and the main beach.
A short walk from Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. This gem offers spectacular waterfront views and lots of space for four-legged friends to run and play. The off-leash area extends beyond Clover Point along Dallas Road to Douglas Street. Clover Point is a crowd favorite for everything from watching the sunset to dipping your feet (or toes) in the ocean. But it can get windy on the water, so bring a jacket!
Looking to decompress in nature away from everyone else? Try Portage Park in View Royal for a quieter experience. Although it’s lesser-known, Portage is perfect for a peaceful off-leash walk through a canopy of trees, leading to a small beach in Thetis Cove. If it’s a clear day you’ll have a view of Fisgard Lighthouse. There is parking off View Royal Avenue near Four Mile Brew Pub. With trails, a playground, a kayak launch, and no leash restrictions, Portage Park has something for everyone.
While Saanich does not have any designated dog parks, only select parks have restrictions. Nestled in Cordova Bay, Parker Park is off-leash all year. The park itself is small, but if you follow the short path from the parking lot you’ll reach a beautiful, and secluded, waterfront. It’s a perfect beach for dog-walking, especially when you can venture out at low tide. However, keep in mind that the parking is limited to space for roughly 20 vehicles.
A well-kept secret just minutes from the university, Hollydene is a perfect dog-friendly secluded spot, which leads to a sandy beach. Park off Hollydene Place, then make your way down the path to benches overlooking the beautiful Arbutus Cove. The stairs leading down to the water are quite steep, so be especially careful if it’s raining, but it’s well worth the visit for the stunning views of the Salish Sea.
Whether you are on the hunt for a new dog walking spot or you just want to relax and watch dogs play, these five recommendations will help make your walk stress-free. Whichever scenic park or beach catches your eye, remember to be aware of your surroundings, pick up after your dog, and respect restrictions, but most importantly, enjoy nature.