Walk or bike Victoria BC’s Dallas Road Waterfront Pathway to Ogden Point’s Breakwater Lighthouse for lovely ocean and mountain views, and wildlife spotting.
The beach is bathed in a golden glow as we peer into tide pools teeming with life. With the water coming in, sea anemones, mussels, limpets, and barnacles begin to feed. Bullheads dart about faster than we can blink, while hermit crabs scuttle across the rocks hauling swirly homes on their backs. Steps away, seaweed and driftwood mark the high tide line, where the waves will be in a few hours.
From Driftwood Beach, it’s a pleasant 800-metre stroll along Ogden Point Breakwater to the Breakwater Lighthouse, the perfect sunset spot. Built in 1916, the lighthouse offers fantastic views of the Juan de Fuca Strait to the south, Macaulay Point Park in Esquimalt to the west, and James Bay area to the north. Plan to arrive at least half an hour before sunset so you can get golden hour photos. The Breakwater is a short walk, bike/bus ride, or drive from downtown, Fisherman’s Wharf, or Beacon Hill Park.
Seagulls wheel overhead, and a curious seal bobs in the waves as fishing and whale watching boats return to the Inner Harbour. At a gated staircase, we pop down to the Lower Breakwater for a closer look at The First Nations Breakwater Murals (Note: Use the Lower Breakwater at your own risk – there is no railing and the cement blocks can be very slippery when wet/cold.). As we peer across the water, a school of fish leaps into the air to escape the hungry seal. Below our feet, in crevices between the stone blocks, flashes of color reveal sea stars and anemones. With so much to see, we take our time and reach the lighthouse as the sun begins to dip behind the mountains.
On the way back to Holland Point Park, we check out more murals at the Dallas Road Staircase. A deer with roots growing from its hooves reminds me of what I need to feel grounded: quality time in nature with family and friends. Fortunately, nature is always nearby in Victoria!
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Here are the highlights of the Dallas Road Waterfront Pathway.
Dallas Road Waterfront Pathway: Clover Point to Ogden Point / Breakwater Lighthouse
The Dallas Road Waterfront Pathway goes from Clover Point to Ogden Point Breakwater Lighthouse (4.2 km/1 hour one way). With ocean views the whole way, there are great opportunities to see seals, whales, and sea birds. At low tide, make your way down to the beaches to explore tide pools. You can check the tide charts here.
Ogden Point is named after Peter Skene Ogden (1793 – 1854), a Hudson Bay Company fur trader and explorer.Source: Roper, Steve. “The History of Ogden Point“. Ogden Point Enhancement Society. May 4, 2010. Accessed March 9, 2023.
Look for these landmarks as you head west on the Dallas Road Waterfront Pathway:
- 0 km Clover Point Park & Point Zero (start of the The Great Trail, non motorized trail that goes from coast to coast)
- 850 m Spiral Beach
- 1.4 km Finlayson Point
- 1.8 km The Anchor Statue
- 2.2 km Steve Fonyo Beach
- 2.4 km Holland Point Park: public washrooms
- 3.1 km Dallas Road Staircase: murals, stairs into the sea at high tide
- 3.3 km Ogden Point Sundial and start of The Breakwater: Don’t miss The First Nations Breakwater Murals on the side of the breakwater.
- 4.2 km Ogden Point Breakwater Lighthouse
Note: Some sections of the pathway are “multi use” and shared with bikes. Stay to the right when you hear bike bells!
Clover Point to Ross Bay Seawall
Heading east from Clover Point Park takes you along the Ross Bay Seawall, a good spot to look for otters and blue herons. It’s 1 km to Ross Bay Public Pebbles Beach / 1.3 km to Little Ross Bay Beach. There are public washrooms at Memorial Crescent.
Getting To Ogden Point / Breakwater Lighthouse
Walk/bike: The Breakwater is 1.8 km from the Inner Harbour or 1 km from Fisherman’s Wharf.
Public Transit: Take Bus #5 James Bay from Douglas & Superior Street (NW corner of Beacon Hill Park) to the Breakwater.
It’s an 800-metre walk along the Breakwater to the lighthouse.
Attractions in the Area
The great thing about visiting Victoria, BC is that there are tons of things to do in a small area. You can literally park your car for days and not run out of things to do. Here are some of the top attractions in downtown Victoria, just a couple kilometres from the Breakwater.
Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Victoria, BC. Situated on a hill near the Inner Harbour, the 200-acre park boasts ponds, gardens, walking trails, playgrounds, seasonal spray parks, sports fields/courts (Golf putting green, Baseball diamond, Tennis courts, Pickleball courts, Cricket pitch, 2 sports fields, Lawn bowling), and a petting zoo (Beacon Hill Children’s Farm – admission by donation). Look for the Moss Lady and turtles in the ponds. The park also features various monuments and memorials which honour local history. With its picturesque setting, Beacon Hill Park is a wonderful nature escape in the city.
Craigdarroch Castle (1050 Joan Crescent)
Craigdarroch Castle is a stunning 19th-century Victorian-style mansion located 2 kilometres east of downtown Victoria. Built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, it was originally intended as a family home and summer retreat. Today, the castle is open to the public and offers a unique glimpse into the lives of the Dunsmuir family. Visitors can explore its four floors and 39 rooms, marvel at its intricate stained glass windows and detailed woodwork, or take in some of its spectacular views. Designated a National Historic Site in 1992, Craigdarroch Castle is undoubtedly one of Vancouver Island’s most iconic landmarks and should not be missed!
Hours: Thursday to Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm. Allow 1 hour for a self-guided tour.
- Adults – $20.60
- Seniors (65+) – $19.60
- Students (13+ with Valid ID) – $14.80
- Children (6-12) – $10.00
- Children 6 & under FREE with paying adult
Victoria Inner Harbour
Victoria, BC’s Inner Harbour is a beautiful destination that offers a unique mix of historic sites and modern attractions. Take in the stunning views of the waterfront while enjoying Afternoon Tea at The Empress, a Victoria Harbour Ferry Tour, ClueSolvers adventure, or visit to the Royal BC Museum and BC Legislature.
Read our story: Explore Victoria’s Inner Harbour with ClueSolvers and Victoria Harbour Ferry to plan the perfect day in the Inner Harbour. This itinerary is tween and teen approved!
Where to Eat
Located at the start of the Breakwater, Breakwater Bistro offers a memorable dining experience with a view. Enjoy fresh local seafood dishes as well as global flavors featuring locally-sourced ingredients. We recommend the poke bowl and fish and chips (both dishes are gluten-free)! On weekends, head to the Tasting Room on the lower level for cocktails by the fire.
What to Bring
- It’s almost always breezy by the shore, so a windproof-waterproof jacket or fleece-lined rain jacket is a must year-round.
- While Victoria, BC boasts a milder climate than most of Canada, temperatures are in the single digits from late fall through early spring (high of 11 C and low of 1 C) and feels colder when the humidity is high, so bring a fleece jacket or down jacket.
- Waterproof boots or waterproof shoes are recommended so you don’t need to bring multiple pairs of footwear (also, spring can be a bit rainy in Victoria). I recommend waterproof leather boots and waterproof sneakers like the cool and comfy designed-in-Canada Vessi Waterproof Shoes.
- Many island roads are winding, including the ones to Butchart Gardens and East Sooke Regional Park, so if anyone in your family gets motion sickness, you should bring anti-nauseants. We like chewable ginger Gravol for road trips and regular Gravol or Dramamine for whale watching.
Where to Stay
Family-friendly hotels near Victoria’s Inner Harbour include the following:
- Best Western Plus Inner Harbour (412 Quebec Street, 900 m from Royal BC Museum): Offers a lot of bang for your buck including free buffet breakfast, in-room fridge and microwave, gym, sauna, steam room, seasonal outdoor pool, laundry, and parking ($15/day) – and is highly rated by Expedia guests (8.6/10).
- Hotel Zed Victoria (3110 Douglas St, 3 km from Royal BC Museum) is a family favorite with its funky decor, indoor pool and hot tub, free bicycle rentals, free parking, Arcade/game room, in-room fridge, shared microwave, and laundry. Rated 8.8/10 and it’s pet friendly too!
- Sandman Hotel Victoria (2852 Douglas St, 3 km from Royal BC Museum) boasts good prices and amenities including an indoor pool, hot tub, gym, laundry, and free parking. Family suites with kitchenettes are available. Average rating of 7.6/10.
- Exploring Victoria BC’s Inner Harbour with ClueSolvers & Victoria Harbour Ferry
- Exploring Butchart Gardens with Kids
- Camping at Goldstream Provincial Park
- The Best Seaside Campgrounds on Vancouver Island
- Walking on the Wild Side in Ucluelet, BC
- Backpacking (parts of) the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail with Kids
- 10 Tips for Backpacking the West Coast Trail