Victoria Shore Leave Insider’s Guide
D’ye hear there? Naval personnel read this guide and get the most out of your shore leave in Victoria, BC.
Lucky you! You’ve got some time to spend in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Discover some amazing things to do that are just a stone’s throw from CFB Esquimalt. Make the most of your shore leave with these off-the-beaten-trail sights and experiences.
Get out and Explore
Rent a bike from one Victoria’s many bike rental sites and hit the trail. The Galloping Goose trail that is. This local favorite winds through an impressive 55 beautiful kilometres (34 miles) of island communities. Neighborhood pubs, ice cream stops and pit stations dot the trail. Our favorite section of trail skirts the beautiful and swimmable Matheson Lake. The perfect place for a picnic or a refreshing dip.
Looking for a unique way to see the Victoria sites? Rent a motorcycle or scooter from Cycle BC. Free training is included with every rental and you can’t beat the fun factor. The joy is in the journey!
Is stretching those sea legs and going on a hike more your thing? Vancouver Island is pretty close to heaven. If you are willing to do some driving, the world-famous West Coast Trail in the Sooke area is a must do. Closer by you’ll find local favorites like Mount Tolmie (with a sweeping, photo-worthy view of Victoria) and the Niagara Falls Trail in Goldstream Provincial Park. Unwind and enjoy the beauty of our island!
Discover Canada’s Maritime History
Spend an afternoon at Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site. Tour the secret bunkers and admire the amazing view from the searchlight emplacements. Bring a picnic lunch, splash in the tidepools and soak up the sun.
Since 1848 there has been a Canadian Naval presence in Esquimalt. Maritime and Naval history buffs won’t want to miss the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum located right on the base and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia in downtown Victoria.
Meet Locals and Enjoy Some Night Life
The oldest pub in BC is just a few minutes down the road from the base and well worth a visit. The Six Mile Pub has offered a cold glass to thirsty travelers since before prohibition (and during, if local legends are true). This modern-day gastro pub still pours a fantastic pint and the ambiance is true-blue Victoria.
If nightclubs are more your interest, then downtown Victoria boasts several to choose from for all sailors – including men, women, and the LGBT+ community. Be aware that Victoria tends to be a little more toned down than some other cities – and we’re quite proud of that. You can still easily find loud music, dancing, and vast amounts of alcohol (we’re toned down, not prudes!).
Catch an Adventure
Just 15 minutes from CFB Esquimalt, the Westshore area of Victoria offers two options for the thrill seeker. WildPlay Element Parks will get your adrenaline pumping with tree-top obstacles, zip lines and a 40ft. “What’s To Fear Jump”.
Always wanted to try a dirt bike? The West Shore Motocross Park can hook you up and satisfy that need for speed.
Ready for the ultimate zipline experience? Adrenaline Zipline Adventures is a little further out in Sooke, but they offer daily shuttle service for your convenience. Ride all eight ziplines in the breathtaking Island forest canopy for an experience you won’t forget.
Try Local Favorites
My Chosen Café in Metchosin offers amazing burgers, funky décor, friendly people and one of the best ice cream cones on the island. Pro Tip: Take your cone out back and meet the friendly pygmy goats, chickens and turkeys.
Red Fish Blue Fish can be found dockside in Victoria’s scenic inner harbor. Easily recognizable by the lines of locals waiting to get their fish tacos, this little gem is a great place to grab a quick lunch and enjoy the view.
Spend the Night at Your Beachfront B&B
We’d love to show you some real island hospitality! Just a half hour from CFB Esquimalt (and nearby most of these attractions) the Lodge at Weir’s Beach offers a truly west coast island experience. Cap off your day’s adventure with a soak in our beach view hot tub or relax in our spacious gardens. Friendly hosts and beautiful, spacious rooms are waiting to welcome you to Victoria!