When it’s time for some doggy fun, I load Sweety and Zeus up in the car and drive to Arbutus Cove Park in Saanich, BC. It’s about a 15 minute drive from where I live in Victoria.

From the parking lot located at the end of Arbutus Cove Lane, a long staircase leads down to a log strewn beach (the park), which lies beneath a steep Red Alder clad cliff. Rocky outcrops bookend the half-mile long sandy beach.


Sweety and I had been there once before, on a summer day that was spectacularly warm and sunny. Beach goers, people with their dogs, and tourists dotted the beach, living life as it was meant to be lived. Everyone was soaking up the beauty of this little slice of heaven. Sweety did her own thing, but was happy to meet some new doggy friends along the way.

Sweety, Lewis and Friend

This time it wasn’t sunny or nearly as warm. It was overcast with some light rainfall. Still, the sound of silence broken only by the voices of seagulls and waves gently kissing the shoreline was just what we all needed.

The beach was nearly deserted. Just us and a handful of university students who seemed to be filming something.

Sweety and Zeus, oblivious to the budding film makers, trotted along investigating all the cool marine smells. I took the opportunity to gaze out across the water at the snowy top of Mt. Baker (Washington State), glowing orange in the setting sun.

The beach is spacious enough for playing fetch. Of course, there’s always the ocean for them to dive into to retrieve a stick or Kong toy. Zeus usually seeks out sticks/logs, and proceeds to drag them all over the beach before chewing them to bits. Sweety, being much older and less active, mostly concentrates on sniffing – but she did manage to destroy a couple of kelp-whips while I cheered her on. Good times!

Sweety isn’t much for swimming. Zeus sometimes goes in if I throw a stick, but being a pit bull, and with water temperatures in winter of maybe 49 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit, he wasn’t hanging around in the water very long on this day. Of course a lab or retriever would be in their glory!

Arbutus Cove Park is located in Saanich, BC, and is a year round off-leash dog park with no restrictions. Doggy bags are not provided, but there is a garbage can in the parking lot to deposit waste bags.

British Columbia is a very “dog friendly” province, at least in terms of the number of dog pars. If you plan on visiting the province with your dog, be sure to tap into Go Pet Friendly’s travel search database, when researching for pet friendly accommodations and parks as part of your trip planning.

Author bio: Jim McBean is a dog lover and guardian to a Border Collie named Sweety and an American Pit Bull Terrier named Zeus. 

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Category: Travel Destinations / Tagged with: Beaches, British Columbia, Canada