The city of Sooke and SookePoint are located on the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island less than an hour’s drive from Victoria, British Columbia. Sooke’s town motto is “Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea.” The tagline speaks to the volumes of environmental riches in the area. Whether you are looking for quiet solitude or exciting outdoor adventures, these towns offer it all.
Roadtripping to the Island
My friend Laura and I traveled to Vancouver Island as part of a week-long road trip in British Columbia. We flew into Vancouver, B.C., picked up our car, and drove to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. It was smooth sailing through customs, and we arrived early. BC Ferries allowed us to board the 11:00 a.m. ferry instead of having to wait for our 1:00 p.m. booked excursion.
We arrived in Swartz Bay two hours earlier than planned; and in just over an hour, we arrived at SookePoint Ocean Cottage Resort where we checked into our two-bedroom, top-floor suite.
Settling into our Suite at SookePoint
SookePoint was everything it promised to be from looking at the photos on the website. The entire front of the cottage that included the kitchen and living room was 20 feet of sliding glass doors looking out onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A balcony enclosed with a glass railing jutted out like the bow of a yacht headed out to sea.
The marble-tiled floor, modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances, and electric fireplace were magnificent. The décor’s neutral brown and cream tones created a sense of the earth, and the blue accents mimicked the stunning blue waters outside.
The staff left a gift basket filled with specialty crackers, a few apples, and two delicious kinds of cheese on the kitchen island. A bottle of Sheringham Vancouver Island Seaside Gin made from local botanicals from the land and sea was left to chill in the refrigerator along with breakfast supplies for a few days.
Fluffy white duvets covered the beds, and the sink fixture in the master bath reminded me of an old-fashion pump where the water cascades up out of the pipe.
I put together a stunning cheese platter and made a couple of cocktails. We took a small table and chairs outside and looked across the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the Cascade Mountains rising out of the water on the other side. The white snow-capped mountains resembled vanilla ice cream dripping down the sides of a dark-colored cone.
Underneath the balcony, the waves crashed onto the rock formations, creating a rhythmic percussion that quieted my mind and soothed my soul. As the winds picked up throughout the day, the volume rose to a crescendo only to grow quiet moments later when the winds shifted or stilled.
Dining at the Local Pub
After relaxing, we changed for dinner and headed to 17 Mile House Pub where we shared the Sunday night barbecued rib special with double-cooked fries and Caesar salad. We also enjoyed a sourdough bowl filled with seafood chowder loaded with clams, shrimp, scallops, haddock, and salmon all mixed up with potato, carrots, onions, celery, and fresh herbs. It was rich, thick, and creamy.
The Pub was lively, and we enjoyed a few glasses of the featured red wine. We finished the evening with a Spanish coffee and drove back making a stop along the way to admire the city lights sparkling across the waterway.
Kayaking with the Wildlife
The following morning, we met Allen Krutz from West Coast Outdoor Adventure. Allen fitted us with life jackets, booties for me, and water-resistant pants for Laura. We walked down to the dock to board our open and stable Hobie kayaks. These kayaks are equipped with a pumping pedal system and a handle to maneuver the rudder. They cost about $4,000 Canadian each, and many yacht owners keep them aboard their vessels for personal enjoyment.
We pedaled across the bay from Sooke to SookePoint. Along the way, we saw two starfish, curious seals, and a sea lion. Allen shared stories about the wildlife, currents, housing developments, and his own adventures in the area.
It was a chilly spring day, but we dressed appropriately for the adventure. During our 2 ½ hour journey, we were thrilled that we prepared for the weather as a couple of rogue clouds were determined to gift us with April showers. Our sturdy vessels were tried and true. Even when the wind picked up and the ocean swells grew, we continued without any worry of tipping. The kayaks were comfortable with their reclining seatbacks, wide widths, and easy maneuverability.
On our way back to the dock, we saw the 1100-foot wooden boardwalk that runs along the Sooke shoreline. It is a lovely way to stroll along the coast. Allen told us that there is a long-term project in place to extend the boardwalk. One of the local harbor seals greeted us as we exited the kayaks.
Boating on Sooke Bay
We picked up lunch next door at the West Coast Grill located at the Prestige Ocean Front Resort and took it with us on our boat ride with Captain Terry from True Key Adventures. We decided to share an order of the blazed tomato bisque infused with gin. It is loaded with wild mushrooms and flavored with French shallots, white wine, fresh basil, and crème Fraiche. The bisque was a perfect choice because the skies opened, and the rain began to pour once we got onto the boat with Captain Terry.
Terry took us out onto the ocean. Even though it was pouring rain, he maneuvered the boat with expertise giving us as smooth a ride as possible. Terry spent years as a fishing guide and is very skilled at his job.
After some time at sea, we headed back into the harbor for a more in-depth tour. We made our way over to the oyster farm. Although funded in China, locals operate the oyster farm. We passed Sooke Harbour Boardwalk and Ed MacGregor Park. The park is home to several festivals and events each year. Terry had some gigantic fish stories. His son holds the record for the largest halibut caught in the area, a whopping 300-plus pounds.
Construction is booming in Sooke and SookePoint. We enjoyed viewing the stunning homes peeking out from the green forest along the waterfront. Architects took full advantage of the waterfront view by inserting windows at the front of the houses.
Shopping for Dinner
Laura and I were a bit cold and wet after our day of adventures. We drove our car to Village Food Market in Sooke and picked up some cheese-stuffed gnocchi, butter, shrimp, garlic, and bread. Then we picked up a bottle of Baileys to add to our coffee at the resort to warm us from the inside out and a bottle of Chardonnay to enjoy with dinner.
It was great having a full kitchen at our cottage. We donned our PJs, and I made both of us a Baileys spiked coffee. We sat by the living room fire and watched the storm rage outside. The waves crashed, the rain pounded the balcony, and we chatted while safe and warm inside.
Exploring Potholes Provincial Park
Laura and I awoke the next day a little sore from our kayak pedaling. We drove to Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. The park trails provide access to a series of deep, polished rock pools and potholes carved naturally into the bedrock of the Sooke River.
We followed part of the Galloping Goose Trail, a fully accessible multi-use trail with access points to view the river. I alternated between trails while taking photos.
The path is well signed and easy for anyone to follow, and if you keep a lookout you may see the remains of a castle on your way out of the park.
The next time you want a vacation without the crowds, consider booking a trip to Sooke and SookePoint. Be sure to check out all the other great articles on Wander about exploring British Columbia.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations, meals, tours and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.