Whether you like to hike lush forests, explore tide pools, or relax on a sandy beach, Witty’s Lagoon has something for everyone. This natural playground in Metchosin, B.C. is ideal for families to discover the wonders of coastal waters and forests, take in natural beauty, and play together on a beach that stretches for miles when the tide is low.

The drive alone is worth a visit to Witty’s Lagoon. On the way there, enjoy breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains of Washington State before arriving at the main parking lot near the Nature Centre where your adventure begins.

There is lots to discover in the park, with over five kilometres of woodland trails that lead to spectacular viewpoints as well as a sandy beach where you can see rocky headlands and offshore islets. On weekend afternoons, children and adults alike can learn more about the lagoon’s natural and cultural history from the Nature Centre’s interpretive displays and the volunteer naturalists on staff.

Just past the Nature Centre, the 1.2 km kid-friendly moderate trail down to the beach provides a glimpse into Vancouver Island’s natural beauty and complexity. It meanders alongside a creek to a waterfall that rushes over volcanic rock, which can be seen from a large viewing platform where you can rest and take photos.

Further along the path are the lagoon and salt marsh, where you can enjoy what is known locally as a birdwatcher’s paradise. Bring your binoculars to catch a view of the animals feeding on the flourishing microscopic life in the warm, shallow lagoon. At the lagoon, freshwater meets saltwater to create a calm, nutrient-rich habitat. The salt marsh (a tidal zone that borders the lagoon) provides plants that are critical for wintering waterfowl to feed.

Birds abound at the beach as well, where tiny fish and crabs can be seen in tide pools when the tide is low. Miles of sand and shallow water provide space to explore, play and relax. If you like to kayak or paddle-board, head down to the end by the lagoon where calm waters await. As with many coastal areas in B.C., make sure to pay attention to the tides. At low tide, you can walk for miles out to the sea and down the beach, and at high tide, the water comes right up to the rocks.

Another area in the park to explore is Tower Point. From there, enjoy ocean and mountain views year-round, and in the spring, watch harbour seals play in kelp beds or spot sea lions passing by on their migration route. At low tide, you can access the rocky shore below it from the beach. At high tide, follow the path through the woods or take the user-friendly 500 m footpath from the Tower Point park entrance.

Spend a day at Witty’s Lagoon for a challenging hike on the forest trails, to explore the natural wonder of its sand-dune ecosystem, and to play on the beach with panoramic views of the sea and mountains surrounding Vancouver Island.

Keep an eye out for
  • Douglas-fir, Bigleaf maple, volcanic rock, waterfall, salt marsh, sand dune ecosystem, lagoon, and sandy beach.
  • Belted kingfisher, orange-crowned warblers, dark-eyed juncos, harbour seals and sea lions.
Know before you go
  • Be sure to check park information and current weather before you go.
  • Exercise caution in this environment of changing tides.
  • Prepare to adventure safely with trip planning tips.
How to get there

By car, for Witty’s Lagoon Main Entrance and Nature Centre, follow the Trans-Canada Highway from Victoria, and take the View Royal/Colwood #10 exit. Continue on to Old Island Highway, which turns into Sooke Road, Highway 14. Turn left on Metchosin Road and drive 7 kilometres to the park entrance on the left.

By bus, take BC Transit bus #50 from Victoria to the Langford Exchange. Transfer to #54 or #55 to Metchosin Road at Pears Road, near the main park entrance. Contact BC Transit for schedule information.

For the Tower Point entrance, follow the main entrance directions to Metchosin Road. From Metchosin Road, drive 5.8 km and turn left on Duke Road, drive 650 m and turn right on Olympic View Drive, which leads to the park entrance on the left.