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Willows Beach: A Suburban Beach with a Hip Vibe

With its long list of amenities, Willows Beach is a favourite spot for locals and visitors alike. One of the best things about this beach is the shallow, protected water that makes it an ideal spot for swimming, paddling and playing in the sand. 

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Willows Beach is located just off Beach Drive in Oak Bay on the eastern side of the island, about 15 minutes from downtown. For many years, directions to the beach included the well-known landmark affectionately known as the “tulip house” that sits kitty-corner to Willows Park at Dalhousie Street. 

The house was sold in 2019 and it is unclear if the new owners will continue the gardens that were established 30 years ago and home to more than 12,000 tulips and over a dozen varieties of begonia. I'll take a drive past the house in spring of 2022 and report back.

The beach is long and wide with a gentle breeze, providing ample opportunity to safely stroll along the waterfront, keep your distance and enjoy the spectacular views. If you walk for approximately 1.5 km in the direction away from the marina, and you’ll soon discover Cattle Point with its own supernatural beauty. 

Willows Beach is a great suburban beach with a hip vibe. It is home to the Oak Bay Tea Party held annually in early June and live entertainment throughout the summer. Check the Oak Bay calendar for details and information about events affected by Covid-19. 

Willows is the ideal ocean playground to launch a paddleboard, splash in the water, walk the esplanade, enjoy a picnic lunch or kick back and read a book. Or maybe you just want to enjoy the incredible views, which honestly, they alone are worth a visit to this neighbourhood gem.  

Amenities at Willows Beach

  • large open grassy area
  • convenient beach access
  • lots of parking
  • change rooms
  • washrooms
  • water fountain
  • concession and tea room (run by the Kiwanis Club in spring and summer)
  • picnic tables
  • benches
  • shade trees
  • children’s play area
  • beachfront esplanade
  • majestic views of Discovery Island and Mount Baker

Note: Skateboards and bicycles (or any wheeled apparatus with the exception of personal assistance devices such as wheelchairs) are not allowed on the grass or any of the paved pathways in the park. 

Leashed dogs are allowed at all times on the grass area and pathways. Dogs (even leashed dogs) are not allowed anywhere on the beach area during the busy spring and summer period (May 1 to September 1). During fall and winter months (October 1 and April 30), dogs are welcome on the beach with no leash required.

Imagine a place where you can see snow-capped mountains in the distance, international ships passing by, sailboats sprinkled across the horizon, and a variety of marine life bobbing and breaching in the sea. This is what you’ll discover at Willows Beach - the mighty Pacific Ocean, ready to rejuvenate your soul. 

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