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UVic Finnerty Gardens

Want more ideas on ‘quieter’, family friendly places to go on adventures in Victoria B.C.?

If you currently can’t go on a vacation, and want a “Staycation”,  then you sound like myself!  I have recently found myself looking at Victoria through the eyes of a “pretend” tourist. Why? I realized I wanted an escape from the rush hour madness on our roads. I wanted to leave the large city feeling and the usual busy places I go to on a daily basis. I needed a change without a car or plane, to take me away from it all. I really believe I have been searching for a small town environment, a Gulf Island lifestyle pace, a farmer’s field to chill out in.  I decided to look for new places just like that right here in Victoria.

As my children (19 & 15 year old), my husband and I love to go for ocean walks and drives, I noticed a few places we drive by that we don’t stop at often and just “walk on by”, so to say. I made notes of these ‘unseen’ places on my cell phone (Though to be honest, I am old School and love good ol’fashioned pen and paper!).


Details: One of Canada’s best gardens to view 4,000 different trees, 1,500 Rhododendrons, Bamboo, Ponds, walking paths that are stroller & leashed dogs friendly, and benches for sitting and admiring the rose petals at your feet. Late Spring has the best display of colours and flowers, but every month, there is always a nice place to take a family photo and walk with your little ones. The gardens are open to public every day during daylight hours and is FREE! Bring your wicker baskets to collect the fallen petals, for some dry petal crafts at home.
Location: The Entrance is beside the Interfaith Chapel. 3800 Finnerty Road. Victoria, B.C. University of Victoria. Drive around Ring Road (NOTE: Its a one way road) to parking lot 6. Parking is $1.50/hour, (FREE on Sundays).


Details: Ross Bay beach, is one of my favourite beaches to catch a good West Coast storm. With my camera, that is!   If you or your children have allergies from grass and pollen like I do, bring them here on a windy day and you’ll get fresh ocean air mist in your face! Its fantastic! Just watch out for flying seaweed in your hair and on your coffee cup! This beach has a wide open, leashed dog, stroller friendly walking/rolling path. The ocean can get a little rough at times, so use your judgement and watch the waves often for your safety.  Its a great beach to have some quiet time, as it is not very used by sunbathers or beach combers.
Location: Ross Bay is on the Southern shore of Victoria, overlooks the Juan de Fuca Strait, and is on the eastern side of Clover Point Park. Parking is free on the street along the beach.

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Details: Oak bay is a lovely British influenced Neighbourhood of Victoria. Tea shops, home decor shops, chocolates, local art displays, and pubs. I visit this fancy area of town often with my daughter going to school in Oak Bay. The many times I have been walking down the streets of Oak Bay I seemed to notice a lot of palm trees towering over us. If you want to post a family selfie like you went on Vacation to Hawaii, this is the place to be. You could even grab a snack from the Village while you are going for a family walk!
Location: The best display to see some tall palm trees with Trachycarpus Fortunei flowers is on the corner of Monterey Ave and Oak Bay Ave.

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Details: Bring your family to Clover Point for a drive or park and have lunch in the car. This is a popular place to watch cruise ships sail by. Lookout for whales in the distance, and take in the breathtaking views of the stunning Olympic Mountains across the ocean. Watch a good Winter storm roll into shore. Snuggle up in your car with blankets and hot chocolate while watching the sunset and the twinkle stars. Have a kite? This is where you will want to show off your kite flying skills!!
Location: At the intersection of Dallas Road and Moss Street, and on the western side of Ross Bay Beach (mentioned above)


Details: As you drive along Dallas Rd towards Willows beach after you pass Oak Bay Marina, you come across a little quiet beach with a small park area called Haynes Park. There is picnic table area, a small grass field, beach access and fabulous views of the ocean, marina and Mount Baker! A quiet beach to yourself and your family! It’s so quiet I only just realized this ocean paradise had a name!
Location: At the intersection of Beresford Street & Beach Drive.

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Whether you are visiting Victoria or island raised like myself, you will love these special places of our South island. Where will you take your next family ‘Staycation’ or ‘Victoria Vacation’ selfie?

Author: Natalie Ogilvie

Natalie Ogilvie was born and raised in Victoria BC. She is married with 2 older daughters, and 3 Rescue puppies. Natalie is an Early Childhood Educator and a Stay at home/Work at home, Mom. Natalie is a Thyroid Cancer Survivor and shares her stories of strength and personal survival, in her blogs and writing. You’ll find Natalie at local Starbucks, beaches, Mt Tolmie, Cedar Hill and Beacon Hill parks. When Natalie is not busy with her Children and Pups; she loves to sit in her sunny, back yard garden; host a tea party, and Blog her daily events and photos for fun and memories.