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Your guide to Sooke
All About Sooke
The harborside community of Sooke sits at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The region benefits from one of the milder climates in western Canada, and its shoreline, rainforest trails, and beautiful views of Washington state’s Olympic Mountains make it a popular destination. Throughout Sooke, you’ll find distinctive shops, art galleries, and restaurants serving comfort food and freshly caught seafood.
The area around Sooke is known for its beaches, and two of the most picturesque are near the neighboring villages of Jordan River and Shirley. Sooke Basin, just west of town, is known for its salmon and halibut fishing, and the harbor is a popular spot for kayakers, who might spy otters and seals in its waters. Sooke is also a draw for mountain bikers flocking to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. The Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail connects to the Great Trail, formerly the Trans-Canada Trail, a cycling route that links to Victoria.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Sooke?
Sooke has a mild Pacific Northwest climate, but humidity can be high at times, particularly between March and April, and the city experiences heavy rainfall and cold temperatures from December to February. The best time to visit may be between June and August, which see plenty of sunshine and only moderate humidity. In July, the Sooke Fine Arts Show features artist demonstrations, talks, and live music. September and October are pleasant times to stay in a Sooke cabin, particularly if you like the warmth but not the summer heat. Any later in the year, you will need a warm jacket and a pair of waterproof boots to explore the outdoor sites and trails.
What are the top things to do in Sooke?
Sooke Potholes Provincial Park
The Sooke River runs through the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park to the north of the village, forming the temporary water formations that give the park its name. During summer, when the largest waterfall in the park is no more than a steady stream over the rocks, the potholes that have formed at its base are a great place to sunbathe on the dry rocks, paddle in the pools, or go for a swim. Upstream you’ll find a couple of sandy beaches — which you won’t be able to access in the winter, as the river covers them. The Galloping Goose Regional Trail also runs through the park.
One of the most scenic locations in Sooke is the Sooke Basin, a saltwater inlet to the west of the town center. A range of hills protects the basin on three sides, and you can hike up to Billings Spit or take the Galloping Goose trail around the coast to enjoy panoramic views. Rent a paddleboard or small boat to cruise into the Strait of Juan de Fuca — but watch the tides, which will affect the ease of leaving and re-entering the basin. Anderson Cove, on the southern shore, shelters sailboats from the wind and waves.
Sooke Region Museum & Visitor Centre
The Sooke Region Museum & Visitor Centre features displays and exhibits that trace the town’s history. On its grounds is the Triangle Island Lighthouse, built in 1910 and beautifully restored to its original condition. A 1928 steam locomotive and the 1870 Moss Cottage, the oldest pioneer home in western Victoria, also sit on the property.