The Saanich Peninsula is a gateway to Vancouver Island, offering easy access to world-class museums, family-friendly attractions and one of North America's top botanic gardens. You can enjoy a variety of unique outdoor activities, including whale watching, paddling in the Salish Sea and feeding friendly harbour seals.
Things to do in Saanich
Set on the northern tip of the Saanich Peninsula, Sidney is a charismatic town boasting incredible views of the Gulf Islands. Explore the Seaside Sculpture Walk to find over a dozen outdoor art installations dotted along the promenade.
A 20-minute drive out of town, Butchart Gardens is in full bloom throughout the year. Stroll around the beautifully manicured grounds before enjoying a luxurious high tea at the Dining Room Restaurant. The gardens also host behind-the-scenes greenhouse tours, outdoor concerts, fireworks and other special events.
Kids will love the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, an interactive aquarium that gets you up close with sea creatures. Don't miss the resident octopus who's trained to unscrew a glass jar to access its food. Other highlights include a hands-on touch pool filled with colourful starfish.
Departing from the Sidney waterfront, whale-watching tours offer a unique chance to explore Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. In addition to spotting orcas, you can see minkes, humpbacks, greys, seals, porpoises and sea lions.
Getting around Saanich
Rental cars are the best way to explore the Saanich Peninsula, though places like Sidney are easy to get around on foot. Saanich is one of Vancouver Island's busiest transport hubs, home to Victoria International Airport and the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.