Have you ever been to Esquimalt Lagoon? If you have, it’s probably one of your favourite spots. If you haven’t, you are missing one of many gems in this city and you simply must add it to your list for summer fun (actually any time of the year!)
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Esquimalt Lagoon is the perfect spot for a beautiful walk along the ocean, a picnic lunch, some off-leash fun for your fur friend or a day at the beach. Head down Ocean Boulevard for a short beautiful drive under the canopy of the trees, past historic Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites and suddenly the gorgeous sea views will expand before your eyes.
If you are visiting the region, you can experience the Esquimalt Lagoon along with other sites in the region such as Fort Rodd Hill and Hatley Castle by using a local guide. We recommend to use TourScanner to compare your options of various excursions.
As you cross the bridge, the tranquil Esquimalt Migratory Bird Sanctuary is on your right. Depending on the tide and the time of year, an assortment of wildlife can be seen in this lagoon.
And because of this, this side of Ocean Boulevard is on-leash. Your fur friends are permitted off-leash on the open ocean side.
It is tempting to jump out of the car as soon as you see the water but I encourage you to resist – especially if you are travelling with small children. You will thank me if someone needs to use the washroom and you discover it is nearly 2 km away at the far end of the lagoon. Update: In the fall of 2019 additional washroom facilities (port-a-potties) were installed about mid-way down the beach stretch.
Unless the City of Colwood is hosting a special waterfront activity such as Eats & Beats, there is always loads of parking along this stretch of Ocean Boulevard.
The beach is a few short steps from the vehicle parking so you can load up on lawn chairs and coolers and won’t be exhausted by the time you get to the shoreline. Even for such a short distance I love putting my drinks and snacks in my insulated picnic backback. I think you'll love one too!
Keep in mind this is a West Coast beach. If you have conjured up images of soft white sand between your toes, you will be disappointed. It is not as rocky as some of the more rustic beaches along our coastline but does come with its share of stones, driftwood and sea debris.
Having said that, there are plenty of places to set up a chair or lounger or throw a towel down in order to enjoy your time there.
The Lagoon has long been one of my favourite spots in all of Victoria to relax on a log and watch the beauty that surrounds us. I especially enjoy watching the marine traffic such as Canada’s military vessels and the cruise ships heading to and from Ogden Point. On a foggy morning visit in February 2021, I was treated to the sight of one of our submarines - the HMCS Victoria - engaging in sea trials. On my most recent visit it was a tugboat coming in to dock. You never know what you'll see but one more reason to visit this area often - the expanding collection of beach art!
Over 3 years ago as I was admiring and photographing the driftwood art that had been popping up along the lagoon, I met the local artist behind them all - Paul Lewis.
Paul is so passionate about what he is doing and told me then that he had many ideas for more projects – which is another reason to keep coming back to see what’s new.
Since the lagoon is one of my favourite places, I'm there a lot and just last week I ran into Paul again. He was there tending to his creations - he is continually repairing and replacing as required to keep the art looking good. Paul's creations have recently begun expanding from exclusively birds to now include a black bear, an otter family and on this day he was putting finishing touches on a driftwood racoon family.
Paul's work is so highly regarded he has been commissioned to do several pieces locally and has recently started doing his art full-time. Which hopefully means even more to see at the Esquimalt Lagoon!
One of the things I love most about his creations is how accessible they are. I understand how difficult it can be for people with limited mobility to get out to a beach, but these beautiful creations are perched high above the tide line in perfect view from the vehicle parking area. Even if you are not able to walk on the sand, you can still enjoy the art.
Next time you are ready to get out and explore Victoria, remember to check out TourScanner to find the best deals on things to do in the area and be sure to include a stop at the Esquimalt Lagoon!
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