Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Off Leash at Arbutus Cove Park

Guest post by Jim McBean of DoggyBytes fame.

This Thursday last, I loaded Sweety and Zeus up in the car and drove out to Arbutus Cove Park in Saanich, BC – about a 15 minute drive from where I live in Victoria.

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


Sweety and I had been there once before in the summer with my friend Cathie and her dog Lewis. That day was a spectacularly warm sunny summer day, July or August I think? Beach goers, people with their dogs and tourists dotted the beach, living life as it was meant to be lived, while soaking up the beauty of this little slice of heaven. Sweety and Lewis each did their own thing, but were happy to meet some new doggy friends along the way.

This time it wasn’t sunny or nearly as warm. It was overcast with some light rainfall – still the sound of silence relinquishing only to the voices of seagulls, and waves gently kissing the shoreline – was just as wonderfully magical and relaxing as it was in the summer.Sweety, Lewis and Friend

The beach was nearly deserted, except for us, there were only (what seemed to me) a handful of university students filming something. They had a microphone at the end of a long boom and some other equipment so I assumed they were filming.

Sweety and Zeus, oblivious to the budding film makers, trotted along investigating all the cool marine smells, while I gazed out across the water at the snowy top of Mt. Baker (Washington State), glowing orange from a near 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. Whenever we go to the beach, 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 rooted her on. Good times!

Sweety isn’t much into swimming. Zeus sometimes goes in if I throw a stick/log, 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 located in Saanich, BC 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 parks we have here. 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.

Jim McBean is a dog lover and guardian to a Border Collie named Sweety and an American Pit Bull Terrier named Zeus. Jim blogs at, focusing mainly on canine health and nutrition.

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
Pet Friendly Hotels | Pet Friendly Destinations | Pet Friendly Activities

  • please take your dog’s shits to the refuse can..

  • michelechollow says:

    As I look out the window at all the snow here, I long to visit you at Arbutus Cove.

  • Fantastic post Jim. I can almost hear the seagulls, even though it's snowing again today here. We'll put this on the list of places we need to see when the GoPetFriendly Winnebago pulls into Victoria!!

  • My sister has to travel with her “baby” all the time. Great place to find out great info.

  • Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by RodBurkert: New at GoPetFriendly blog: Off Leash at Arbutus Cove Park

  • >