Sooke is the southernmost town on Vancouver Island. Sooke is best done as a day-trip from Victoria but can also be a stopover on the way to Port Renfrew.
Looking South From Whiffen Spit
It is possible to take a bus to Sooke (Take the #61 bus from downtown Victoria. There are about 20 buses daily. The trip takes roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes and costs $3.00) but you will be restricted to the small residential core of Sooke. It is also possible to bike (or walk!) to Sooke along the Galloping Goose Regional Trail, which is connected to Victoria and Langford and passes just east of Sooke. The best way to get to Sooke is to drive; take Highway 14 (Sooke Road) SW from Langford.
There is now bus service to East Sooke via both Sooke and the bus stop at the 17 Mile Pub. This allows access by bus to the Anderson Cove entrance to East Sooke Park.
The best way to explore Sooke is on foot, but once you want to go see some of the sights beyond the four block town centre, you will need a car.
The town of Sooke is basically a starting point for trips farther west up the island and is quickly becoming a larger community as the city quickly expands. For things to do in Sooke, I would visit the Sooke Region Museum , take a trip out Whiffen Spit, especially during a tide shift where you can watch the seals eat salmon and fish as they are washed out of the basin, and hike the trails of East Sooke Park, which is across the Sooke Basin from the town of Sooke.
Lush rainforest in East Sooke Park
Check out a few of the interesting shops in the town's heart. Once you tire of this, jump in your car and head out to see some of the town's more natural sights:
- East Sooke Park is a huge regional park located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. With over 50km of hiking trails through forests and along rocky coasts, this is one of the most underappreciated hiking locations in Greater Victoria. To reach, drive east out of Sooke along Highway 14 and turn right on Gillespie Road (turn left, just past the 17 mile pub if coming from Langford or Victoria). Follow Gillespie Road to East Sooke Road where you can turn right to access the Pike Road and Anderson Cove entrances, or turn left then right on Becher Bay Road to reach the Aylard Farm entrance.
- You will pass Roche Cove Park on Gillespie Road on your way to East Sooke. There are a few trails here and if you don't have time to explore the expansive East Sooke Park, then this is a nice alternative.
- The Sooke Potholes are a very popular location for a dip during the Summer for Victoria residents. Here the Sooke River plunges through a series of deep pits creating perfect cool pools to take a plunge on a hot day. Turn onto Sooke River Road on the east side of the Sooke River bridge (left if heading from Sooke, right if heading from Victoria) and follow the road to the park.
- Whiffin Spit is a 1km long spit of sand that stretches out into the ocean, protecting Sooke Harbour. A pleasant walk to the tip of the spit past sandy beaches can be done here. To reach, follow Highway 14 west out of town, then turn left on Whiffen Spit Road.
- The Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra, . , under the direction of Norman Nelson since 1997, performs six sets of concerts annually. There is a workshop for musicians who need a tune-up, and a concerto competition for tomorrow's stars. Check www.sookephil.ca for concert dates and venues.
- 17 Mile House Pub, 5126 Sooke Road. 250-642-5942. This pub-style restaurant is located (you guessed it!) 17 miles away from Victoria, along Highway 14. If heading from Sooke it will be on your left.
- Mom's Cafe, 2036 Shields Road. 250-642-3314. Mom's is the most popular restaurant in Sooke and the perfect place to fill yourself up after a hike at East Sooke. This 40+ year-old diner-style restaurant is located on the corner of Shields Road and Eustace Road in downtown Sooke.
- Stone Pipe Grill, 2038 Otter Point Rd (corner of Sooke/West Coast Rd & Otter Point Rd), 250.642.0566, . Open daily from 11AM - 9PM. Serves a tasty mix of sandwiches, burgers, steaks and curries.
- Point No Point Resort, 1505 West Coast Road. 250-646-2020. Just head west out of Sooke for awhile to reach this charming location. Serves lunch and tea daily.
- Kemp Lake Store Cafe, 7875 West Coast Road, ☎ 250-642-7875. Keep driving through Sooke, Once you get to the lights at Otter Point (By the Petro Can) Continue going straight to get to West Coast Road. From there it is estimated a 7 minute drive. Watch for a sign on a telephone pole on the right hand side saying "Store/Cafe Ahead" also as you get closer there will be signs on the left saying "Breakfast/Lunch or Dinner" just before the turn in. All fresh hand made product.
There are numerous B&Bs and campgrounds around Sooke, but here is a selection of some of the pricier and more interesting accomnodations:
- Orveas Bay Resort, 2577 Sunnybrae Road, +1 250-646-2304 (fax: +1 250 646-2304, email: email@example.com), . Located about 20 minutes west of Sooke above a rocky beach with views of the Juan de Fuca Strait and mountains. There is a beach house for larger groups and two cottages for 2-3 people. $130-$175 ($275 for the entire beach house).
- Point No Point Resort, 1505 West Coast Road. 250-646-2020. This beautiful resort is located on a rocky point, west of Sooke on Highway 14 (West Coast Road). There are a selection of cabins along that coast that are available. $130-$220.
- Sooke Harbour House Hotel, 1528 Whiffen Spit Road, ☎ 250-642-3421 (ILASooke@ila-chateau.com, fax: 250-642-6988), . This charming waterside hotel is the ideal romantic getaway, blending tranquility with superb facilities and only 45 minutes from Victoria. From C$300.
- Sunny Shores Resort & Marina, 5621 Sooke Rd. 250-642-5731 or 1-888-805-3932. $175-$500.
- Kemp Lake Music Cafe, 7875 West Coast Rd, ☎ (250)642-7875. Keep driving through Sooke, Once you get to the lights at Otter Point (By the Petro Can) Continue going straight to get to West Coast Road. From there it is estimated a 7 minute drive. Watch for a sign on a telephone pole on the right hand side saying "Store/Cafe Ahead" also as you get closer there will be signs on the left saying "Breakfast/Lunch or Dinner" just before the turn in. All fresh hand made product.
Drive west along Highway 14 to explore the Juan de Fuca beaches and Port Renfrew, or head back to Victoria.