Want to See Victoria ocean life? Victoria is the capital city with a little bit of everything. We have beautiful architecture, a vibrant art and culture scene, and incredible restaurants all surrounded by an abundance of truly spectacular natural beauty. Off the shores of Victoria there is a rich, diverse marine world full of incredible wildlife. From marine birds to whales, starfish and anemones, Victoria has so much ocean life that you can see by land or by sea!
If getting in a boat or paddling into the water isn’t your speed, there are still lots of places around Victoria where you are likely to be able to spy a shy otter, see a curious seal or find a variety of marine birds all along the shores.
The Ogden Point Breakwater is a unique concrete pathway that allows pedestrians to walk straight out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Most sunny days, you’ll see a seal pop up to say hello or an otter taking a dip. From this vantage point you can also usually see cormorants, gulls and it’s not uncommon to see a bald eagle circling high above the water looking for it’s next meal!
At Fisherman’s Wharf not only can you find a beautiful park, a picturesque houseboat community and best fish and chips in the city, you’re more than likely to also see a few seals up close and personal. This is one of their favourite spots to hang out hoping for someone to drop a chip or two!
Dallas Road is another excellent spot to walk or sit and look for marine life. Over the rocks at Holland Point Park you can find tide pools with pale anemones, whelks, and tiny little crabs. Look down through the crevasses of the boulders and you’ll find the rocks teeming with deep purple starfish and if you’re very lucky you may even catch a glimpse of a sun starfish! All along this shoreline you might find seals and otters playing in the waves and lots of ocean birds like the pretty black and white Pigeon Guillemot bobbing along the water.
Not only is East Sooke Park an almost 1500 hectare area of beautiful wilderness it is also one of the best spots on south Vancouver Island to see our marine wildlife! Off the shore of many beaches you can see sea lions sunning themselves on the rocky knolls that sit just off the shore, otters are plentiful here and if you’re very lucky, keep an eye out in the distance and you might catch a glimpse of an orca pod!
Near the Shore
If you’re looking to get off dry land and explore the waterways of Victoria, a great option is paddle boarding or kayaking to see Victoria ocean life! Whether you want to rent a vessel and head out on your own or if you’d rather book a tour, these businesses are ready to help you with all your SUP and kayak needs!
One of our favourites is A Day in Victoria. This boutique tour company, located in south Oak Bay is a great option if you’re looking for small tour groups and high quality rentals. There are four tour packages to choose from that will take you on an adventure that explores stunning spots around the coast of Victoria to see a different perspective of this stunning city and get familiar with the finned locals!
Paddle boarding is a great way to check out the marine life around Victoria, it’s calming, easy, requires minimal equipment and no skill for a great day out! If paddle boarding is something you really would like to try, you won’t find a better place to call than Paddle’n’Go. This fun-loving local company has everything you need for a successful day out and because they are 100% mobile, they will meet you wherever you choose to go paddling with all the gear! Check out their list of suggested locations, hit book and away you go!
Since 1981, Ocean River Sports has been serving the adventurers in the community with experienced tour guides and exceptional equipment. Here you can rent SUPs or kayaks and head out on an adventure of your own or book a kayak or SUP tour and let the knowledgeable guides help you find all the best places to spot marine wildlife around Victoria. Leaving from their dock off Wharf Street, you have access to the Gorge Waterway, the Upper Harbour, the Inner Harbour and so much more! These guys really know what they’re doing!
The quirky and fun Victoria Kayak is your local one-stop kayaking rental and tour shop! Located just steps away from the Empress Hotel in the Inner Harbour, Victoria Kayak is ready to help guests have a wonderful time on the water and do some marine life spotting. These guys even offer a Surf’n’Turf combo; rent a kayak and a bike from a partner bike rental store. You can see marine life up close on the water, then bike to the beach and explore some more!
If you want to have the option for any paddle powdered recreational vessel, Pacific Paddlesports in Saanich is where you want to go. They have kayaks, SUP and canoes to rent and ensure that each customer is matched with the perfect craft. If you want to explore the little islands off the coast of Sidney, this is the place you want to be.
If you want to get right up close and personal with our aquatic neighbours, one of the most unforgettable things to do during your stay is booking a whale watching tour. While you’re undoubtedly going to be seeing some whales up-close-and-personal, you’ll also have the chance to see steller sea lions, jellyfish, seals, porpoises and ocean birds.
Springtide Whale Watching & Eco Tours, located downtown on Wharf St. has an advantage by having a crew of guides made up of Naturalists and Marine Biologists, which means that the depth of education of these tours is completely unique. Every tour with Springtide is an amazing, informative experience.