About the Region
The Sooke – Port Renfrew region is the premier year-round British Columbia outdoor destination on southern Vancouver Island BC. The Gateway to our “Wild by Nature” play-land is Sooke BC, 35 minutes west of Victoria, and extends through the community of Shirley and ends in Port Renfrew, the home for catching big halibut and big salmon.
The stresses of city life remain hidden from the regional coastal communities, steeped in history and Culture. Sooke, the eastern gateway to the Sooke to Port Renfrew region, is only 40 minutes from Victoria. Offering activities both leisurely and extreme within our unspoiled wilderness, our region boasts the mildest climate in Canada. Travel the West Coast Road (Highway 14) from Victoria west to Sooke through lush evergreen forests, rainforest, picturesque coastal scenery, rugged cliffs and sandy beaches to Port Renfrew “the Jewel of the West Coast”.
Sooke to Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island’s premier tourism region, is a land where things to see and do are as diverse as the landscape, as its people and your imagination. We offer recreational opportunities from year-round salt and freshwater fishing, cycling, scuba diving charters, hiking through old-growth forests, windsurfing, kayaking, beach-combing, whale and bird watching… the list is endless, including local arts and crafts. The creativity displayed at our community theatre, artisan studios, art galleries, festivals and tours will fill your days and nights with imaginative, cultural and entertaining diversions.
Every day of the year, Sooke – Port Renfrew welcomes you for a memorable vacation or getaway.
The tourism area takes special pride in the splendid accommodations from romantic country inns on the ocean, secluded cabins, vacation home rentals that are perfect for families, larger groups and longer stays, and delightful, quality bed & breakfasts where welcoming hosts will help you plan your day. Dining along the coast offers great variety from the freshest local seafood, international cuisine, country pubs, small cafes and of course afternoon tea.
The solitude of the quiet winter months on the coast offer relaxing stretches of peaceful beaches, untouched tide-pools and spectacular sunsets. Storm watching can capture your breath as crashing waves pound the rocky beaches and send water shooting into the sky.
On this website, you’ll find travel information regarding year-round travel, recreation, accommodations and other amenities within our coastal Region.
You may request information from the Sooke Region Travel Information Centre (and Museum) for other particular interests about the Sooke – Port Renfrew Region on Vancouver Island BC.
Two reserves on 67.2 hectares at the southern end of Vancouver Island.
Name derived from the Sook tribe of Straits Salishans. The derivation of “sooke” is from the native name of the Stickleback fish that inhabits the Sooke Basin. It was earlier spelled “Soke” and pronounced “soak”. Very early exposure to Europeans due to the association with the Hudson’s Bay Company. Reserves allotted by the Joint Reserve Commission in 1877.
On reserve, leaders in renewable energy. Off reserve, in forest-related areas, as well as commercial fishing.
Facilities Available On Reserve
Installation of a 75 kW solar energy plant recently completed providing a good portion of the communities needs. Community hall, cultural centre, park, band office, cemetery.
“It’s good to be a part of using the gifts that the creator gave us in helping us to take care of Mother Earth. It is now appropriate that First Nations take the lead in demonstrating how to live without fossil fuels once again”
The Sooke to Port Renfrew region, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is easily accessed by ferry, plane, car or bicycle. By bus from downtown Victoria – take route 50 and transfer at the Langford eschange or direc route 61 to Sooke. In a car, RV, or motorcycle – Take highway 1 northbound. Then take exit 14 to Highway 14 also known as Veterans Memorial Parkway. Next turn right on Highway 14, Sooke Rd. If you want to walk or take a bicycle – hop on the Galloping Goose Regional Trail. This picturesque multi-use trail,formerly a railway line. It moves through urban, rural, and wilderness scenery on its fifty-five kilometre journey through Victoria and Sooke.
Coming from Vancouver
Experience British Columbia from a new point of view with Harbour Air and West Coast Air flights from Vancouver to Victoria, BC.
Pacific Coach Lines
Your Cross-water adventure will be spent in part in the comfort of one of our highway motor coaches and transfer to city bus to Sooke to Portrenfrew region.
A 95 minute ferry ride through the scenic Gulf Islands aboard BC Ferries. Once you disembark, get on the city bus or drive directly.
Daily scheduled flights operate between terminals located at the downtown Vancouver Harbour Heliport, Vancouver International Airport and Victoria Harbour Heliport Helijet.
Getting from Washington State
Ride the Victoria Clipper to beautiful Victoria.
Enjoy a spectacular sea plane ride over the Puget Sound and arrive in Victoria.
Ride the passenger and vehicle ferry which provides year round daily service linking Victoria, British Columbia and Port Angeles, Washington.
Washington State Ferries
It’s a beautiful journey aboard a Washington State Ferry as your car ferry sails from Anacortes through the San Juan Islands to Sidney, B.C. on Vancouver Island. Follow the driving directions below.
Crossing the Canadian/US Border?
Budget Rent A Car of Victoria
Take your time to really explore the island and the surrounding locales of the Sooke to Port Renfrew region as well as other areas of interest in and around Victoria. Budget Rent A Car of Victoria can provide you with maps, GPS and all of the other amenities you would expect from a world class car rental company.
If you’re lost, most people should be able to point you in the direction of Sooke Region Museum & Visitor Centre. Of course, you can always call us toll free 1-866-888-4748. If you need a car, please use our recommended partner, Budget Rent A Car of Victoria.
Visitor Information and Questions
Call toll free 1.866.888.4748
Sooke Regional Tourism Association
Mail: PO Box 774, Sooke, BC V9Z 1H7
1. What are the Potholes?
Answer: The potholes are deep rounded holes carved in the bedrock of the river by the scouring action of gravel being spun in the rivers current. Historically, the portion of the Sooke River which has these formations was called “The Devil’s Potholes”.
2. Where is the Rainforest?
Answer: This whole area is the Temperate Rainforest. If you would like to see big trees there are a number of them on the trails to China Beach and to 2nd Beach (off the China Beach campground). The Harris Creek Spruce is one of the largest you’ll ever see. It’s 25 – 27 km out of Port Renfrew (towards Lake Cowichan) along the Pacific Marine Circle Route.
3. What are the yellow flowers along the side of the road?
Answer: In the spring the Scotch Broom blooms profusely along the roadsides. It was introduced to the Sooke region by Captain Walter C. Grant, Sooke’s first independent white settler.
4. Where can we go crabbing?
The Rotary Pier is a great place to catch crab and enjoy Sooke Harbour. If you need a crab trap, check at Eagle Eye Fishing next to the Post Office.
5. Where can we buy seafood or fresh crab?
The Crab Shack at Jock’s Dock and Cooper’s Cove Oyster Farm are the best local source for fresh crab and seafood. The Crab Shack is located on West Coast Road, just west of the Sooke centre. Cooper’s Cove Oyster Farm is on 6377 Belvista Place, just after the bridge.
6. How do you pronounce the name of your town?
Answer: Sooke rhymes with duke or toque. (I know, we’re Canadian, eh.)
7. What if I meet a bear?
Answer: You are in Bear country. While it can be exciting to see a bear when you’re out hiking, the best practice is to try and make your presence known before you encounter the bear in the first place. Talk, sing, clap your hands or wear a bear bell. Be alert, look for signs of bear activity such as droppings or tracks. Keep children close and within sight. Dogs can cause a bear to attack and an unleashed dog could lead a bear back to you. Respect all bears. Do not try to feed it. If you see a bear along the side of the road keep your windows closed and DO NOT get out of your vehicle!