The small, harbour-side town of Sooke, British Columbia is a quintessential diamond in the rough. Nestled among towering, rugged rainforests and unspoiled beaches of the dramatic, windswept Pacific Ocean coastline, Sooke offers visitors and residents an authentic west coast experience.
Your journey begins just 45 km (28 miles) west of Victoria; Sooke is located at the end of the 40-minute drive along scenic Highway 14, also known as the Pacific Marine Circle Route. The entire route winds 74 km (45 miles) along a scenic coastline, with white sand beaches, provincial parks and kilometres of rainforest.
Named for its early inhabitants, the T’Sou-ke First Nation, Sooke was a thriving settlement of the Coast Salish Indians. The name T’Sou-ke is said to derive from a stickleback fish found at the mouth of the Sooke River. For hundreds of years the T’Sou-ke First Nation lived undisturbed off the land, until in 1790 Spanish explorer Manuel Quimper “discovered” this coastal hidden treasure.
The Sooke Region Museum proudly preserves the town’s colourful history. Open year-round, the museum sits on more than two hectares and houses authentic historical displays that depict 19th century pioneer lifestyles, celebrate the culture of the local indigenous people and recount stories about the renowned northwest passage that facilitated Spanish exploration in the 18th century. You can easily make a day of discovering Sooke’s past: spend the morning at the museum, and then spend the afternoon exploring the remnants of Leechtown, now an old ghost town.
But, the region’s rich history is just one of many reasons to Discover Sooke. The Olympic Mountain vistas, storm-blasted caves, coastal temperate rainforests, world-class fishing, award-winning B&Bs and restaurants, and a variety of outdoor recreational activities make Sooke an ideal destination, any time of year.
How to get here
Getting to Vancouver Island is easy with ferries to Victoria from Vancouver, BC, and Seattle, Anacortes and Port Angeles, WA arriving daily via frequent scheduled sailings. If you’d prefer to fly, the beautiful Victoria International Airport has many national and international direct flights arriving daily; or, how about boarding a float plane that will bring you right into Victoria Harbour?
Whatever your mode of travel, the important thing is that Sooke is your destination!
BC Ferries carries passengers to Victoria from various locations. Car ferries sail to downtown Victoria from Anacortes, Washington, and the passenger-only Victoria Clipper travels from Seattle’s waterfront to downtown Victoria. Sooke is about 3.5 hours from Vancouver, sailing from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (in Sidney) and then driving or using public transportation to Sooke. From Seattle, Sooke is approximately 4.5 hours, depending on the method of travel.
Be sure to check the BC Ferries website for rates and sailing times.
Air travel is a quick, convenient mode of transportation to Victoria from the mainland. Departing from various destinations, flights arrive into Victoria International Airport (30 km or 19 miles north of Victoria) or into the inner harbour in downtown Victoria.
Each year thousands of people board scheduled or charted flights with one of Victoria’s three float plane companies: Kenmore Air; Harbour Air; and, West Coast Air. Daily flights carry passengers harbour to harbour from Victoria to Vancouver and Seattle, as well as from smaller inlets and lakes. On Helijet Airways travellers can fly to downtown Victoria from Vancouver International Airport, or from downtown Vancouver.
The Double Decker number 61 carries passengers directly from downtown Victoria to Sooke. Transit service operates seven days a week, 365 days a year, servicing Greater Victoria, Sidney and Sooke. For more information about schedules and routes visit the BC Transit website.