Here in Saanich, virtually any day makes for a good beach day, but come summer, there are few better places to be.
Great news as we look for ways to vacay close to home!
From the wide-open beaches of Cadboro Bay to the sandy shoreline of Agate Beach to the grassy lake-front of Prospect Lake’s Whitehead Park, Saanich boasts beaches you could spend a full summer exploring.
The sheer number of possibilities also makes it easier to maintain safe physical distancing while soaking in the natural surroundings. For those visiting typically busier areas, “varying your times a little bit might offer an opportunity to enjoy the beach when there are fewer people around,” says Saanich parks planner and designer Julie Lommerse.
Explore your Natural Intelligence
More than a place to feel the sand between our toes, “beaches are a great way to explore and develop our natural intelligence,” Lommerse says.
Natural intelligence involves our knowledge of nature, parks and how to improve our environment. Explains Saanich: “When we interact with nature in a positive way, we can adapt our own actions to be more in tune with the natural world. Our actions as individuals and as a community will help determine our future.”
Experiencing nature, whether waterfront, forest or natural spaces, also brings personal wellness benefits, with studies suggesting it improves our happiness, creativity and health, including the ability to reduce stress and anxiety – something especially valuable this year, Lommerse adds.
With 36 beach accesses dotted throughout the District, among the municipality’s most popular beach getaways are Cadboro Gyro Park, Mt. Douglas Park, Arbutus Cove, McMorran’s Beach in Cadboro Bay and the Gorge Waterfront – each unique in its setting and features. (Want to explore by paddle? Car-top boats are comfortably launched from many of those same locales.)
Those with mobility challenges will also find local opportunities to experience our natural settings. At Telegraph Cove, near Ten Mile Point, the parking lot reaches right to the quiet rocky beach, while the Gorge Waterway, the long, paved waterfront walkway leads to a small sandy beach and playground. Cadboro Bay is also quite accessible with a variety of paved areas.
Do mind your beach manners
“One of the things we emphasize when people are visiting our parks and beaches is that it’s really important to respect the environment they’re visiting,” Lommerse says.
Most Saanich beaches are also home to delicate ecosystems supporting a variety of plant and animal life. Improper activities, such as beach fires, littering, or removing natural materials like rocks, driftwood and plants can disrupt that balance, in addition to making it a less enjoyable experience for others.
It’s important to note that some beaches do have specific restrictions for dogs – find the details here. Where they are permitted, it’s essential dogs are under control, not chasing after birdlife, and for owners to remove pet waste.
And with Saanich beaches typically in the middle of residential areas, do be respectful of neighbours, Lommerse adds.