Sooke, British Columbia is a year-round playground on the coastal shores of southern Vancouver Island. Summers are usually hot and dry (typically 20 to 30 degrees Celsius / 70 to 85 Farenheit) with very low humidity, while winters are rainy and warm (typically 5 to 10 degrees C / 40 to 50 F). With the mildest climate in Canada, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year including boating, fishing, hiking, biking and, believe it or not, golfing too - even in January! No matter what time of year you visit, beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation are abundant.
The Pacific Ocean has a moderating effect on the regional climate and helps keep the temperature from getting too hot. Temperatures are cooler by the water's edge than they are in the middle of the city. In the evenings, the ocean breeze cools things down, making relaxing on the deck or by the water a favourite past-time for guests of Madrona Cottage.
Overnight temperatures typically drop to 8 to 12 degrees C (45 to 55 F). Fog sometimes forms in secluded coves but quickly burns off with the rising sun. Despite the vast amount of water on three sides of Victoria & Sooke, humidity tends to be low and makes outdoor activities much easier and enjoyable. Hiking, biking, beach-combing, scenic day trips, birdwatching and photography are favourite island past-times.
Summer is the best time of the year to enjoy the water. The mornings and evenings are usually calm on the Sooke Basin while the afternoon winds can make kayaking a bit more strenuous (great for sailing though). Many guests swim in the water in front the cottage. Remember that the ocean water is very cold so wetsuits are recommended. For warmer, freshwater swims, take a dip at Matheson Lake and the ever-popular Sooke Potholes.
Fishing charters can take you to world-class fishing grounds right outside of the Sooke Harbour. Fishing for trophy Chinook and King Salmon is best starting in June; Coho and Pink Salmon fishing starts in July.
Fall is a magical time to be in the Sooke area. The air is still and warm under the bright autumn sun. The local waters are often calm and glassy, especially in the morning and evening (a kayaker's paradise). The forest foliage turns yellow and orange and pathways are blanketed with fallen leaves the size of dinner plates. Maple, Hemlock and Arbutus trees are beautiful in their brillant colours.
In October and November, the salmon return to the Sooke Basin from their 4-5 year ocean journey to spawn in the local streams. Bordered by the Sooke Hills and East Sooke Park, thousands of migratory birds congregate around the bountiful waters to feast before making the journey south. Eagles, heron, osprey, turkey vultures and many other species can be seen in the area.
Salmon fishing is most spectacular during the fall. Weather permitting, whale-watching is still available.
Winters are rainy but the temperatures are mild (typically 5 to 10 degrees C / 40 to 50 F). Even though the BC coast is infamous for its rainfall, the Greater Victoria area receives half as much annual rain as Vancouver or Seattle (southern Vancouver Island is sheltered by the Olympic Mountains of Washington State). The mornings are usually foggy and the evenings are chilly. The nourishing rain can fall for as little as a few hours or can last up to a week before a sunny reprieve. However, daytime highs of +10 degrees C / 50 F make for warm, if not wet, outdoor fun.
On occasion, it may snow in the area but it rarely lingers for more than a few days as the warm drafts from the Pacific Ocean melt the snow. It can be a magical time if you're visiting during a rare snowfall - cozy up in the cottage with warm blankets and a cup of hot chocolate, or take a walk along a forested trail while the snowflakes drift down around you!
From November to February, most water activities like whale-watching and fishing charters are not available due the Pacific storms and choppy waters. Kayaking and sailing may run when there are sunny breaks.
Spring comes early to Vancouver Island and the weather is usually bright and sunny with frequent rain showers throughout the day. Brief downpours of warm rain is carried in by the westerly winds but quickly blow over, and rainbows are abundant. Flowers begin to bloom in February and the forests start bursting with new foliage as early as April. Birds return from their southern hiatus and fill the trees with their calls and songs. This is a birdwatcher's paradise.
Hiking in the forest is bright and airy but the trails may have muddy patches until early April. Hiking boots are always recommended for best traction.
The waters of the Sooke Basin can be a bit choppy at this time of year due to lingering northeastern storms from the mainland. The wind may be a sailor's delight, but kayakers should check the marine forecast before venturing on the water. Regular whale-watching tours, fishing charters and day-sailing start as early as March (weather permitting).
Ready to plan your trip to Sooke? Contact us for availability and rates!