Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Botanical Beach
Distance: 3km / 1.85 miles Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hrs Elevation: 63 metres / 209 ft Dog Friendly: Yes, on leash Toilets: Yes, in the carpark
Botanical Beach Provincial Park is located on the South West Coast of Vancouver Island near Port Renfrew and is one of the best beaches to visit along the Juan De Fuca Strait. Botanical Beach is known for its beautiful tide pools (or rock pools). When the tide is low, you can walk along the rocks and look into the rock pools to see loads of interesting and beautiful marine life such as sea urchins, fish, starfish and octopus hiding in the nooks and crannies of the rocks under the water.
The walk to Botanical Beach is one of our favourites in Juan De Fuca region because of the lush old growth forests and incredible trees that you will pass on your way. It is definitely one of the best Port Renfrew beaches to visit!
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Botanical Beach and its beautiful marine tidal pools, including the best time to go to ensure that the water levels are low enough.
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Where is Botanical Beach
Botanical Beach is a beautiful beach located on the Northern tip of Juan de Fuca coastline on Vancouver Island. The nearest town to the beach is Port Renfrew and it is about a 1.5 hour drive from Victoria.
Click here to open the map in Google Maps!
How to get to Botanical Beach
To get to Botanical Beach from Victoria, you will need to take the BC 17, followed by Highway 1 N turning off onto the Juan De Fuca Highway/BC 14 W. This road will take you all the way to Port Renfrew and Botanical Beach.
If you are coming from Vancouver, you will need to catch the ferry from Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to Swartz Bay and then follow the same driving directions above.
How to get to Port Renfrew Without a Car
You can get to Port Renfrew without a car. There is a bus available called the West Coast Trail Express which I recommend booking in advance. The bus runs every day from May 16th to September 30th and every other day from October 1st until May 15th. This bus service leaves from Victoria and stops in Sooke, China Beach, Sombrio Beach and Port Renfrew.
How Long is the Walk from the Parking Lot to Botanical Beach?
The hike to Botanical Beach is 3km return, or you can choose to do the Loop Trail which is only 2.5km. We chose to do the return walk as we heard that the loop was a lot more muddy. The walk is through an old and fascinating forest and is just beautiful! There are a lot of planks of wood and boardwalks placed strategically to help you avoid the mud. Parts of the trail are pictured below.
The hike to Botanical Beach is not very hard. The trail is flat but the roots and mud do make it a little more difficult, similar to other hikes in the area. We saw lots of kids on the trail who weren’t having any trouble. The trail and the beach is dog friendly but dogs should be kept on a leash.
Stop at Botany Bay on the way
Botany bay is only 0.7km into the hike to Botanical Beach so along the way you can stop to check it out.
Best Time to Visit
The best time of the day to visit Botanical Beach is at low tide, so that you can walk safely across the rocks and check out the marine life in the rock pools. The tide will need to be at a low of 1.2 metres or less.
The Tidal Pools on Botanical Beach
Botanical Beach’s tidal pools are one of the things it is famous for. People come from all over to gaze into the water to see marine life such as sea urchins, fish, starfish and octopus hiding in the pools.
When visiting Botanical Beach, please look in the tide pools only and do not touch the marine life. Do not remove anything from the pools or put anything in. Don’t even put your hands into the pools as touching the water in a tide pool with sunscreen on your hands can kill the creatures living there.
If you want to see the famous tidal pools, make sure you visit at low tide. You can check Botanical Beach’s tides using the link below.
Can you Camp on Botanical Beach?
There is no camping permitted at Botanical Beach. If you are looking to wilderness camp on one of the beautiful beaches along the Juan De Fuca coast, there are some great options. You can camp at China Beach, Sombrio Beach and Mystic Beach.
Wildlife in the Area
There is plenty of wildlife around the Botanical Beach area. This area on Vancouver Island is black bear and cougar country. Make sure you are well up to date with wildlife safety and have some bear spray with you. If there are any problem bears in the area, it is not uncommon for Parks BC to close Botanical Beach.
The Juan De Fuca coastline is great for whale watching. Grey Whales are often seen during April and May and Orcas also often visit the area.
Best Places to Stay Nearby
There are a few different towns to choose from along the Juan De Fuca coastline such as Sooke or Jordan River. Both of these towns are about an 1 – 1.5 hours drive away from Botanical Beach, however they are great places to stay in to see the whole area. If you are just planning on visiting Botanical Beach and want to stay nearby, you can stay in Port Renfrew.
There are some amazing accommodation options that you should definitely check out if you are planning on staying in Port Renfrew. These are:
- West Coast Trail Lodge – pet friendly, has its own restuarant and serves amazing breakfast
- Wild Renfrew Seaside Cottages – pet friendly, has its own private beach area, restaurant and each unit has its own patio
- Pair-A-Dice Cottage – your own chalet with a kitchen and views of the mountains
- Wild Coast Wilderness Resort – pet friendly cabins and suites
What to Wear on Your Adventure to Botanical Beach
Make sure you wear waterproof shoes or bring a pair along with you for walking along the rocks. I also recommend wearing hiking boots for the muddy walk from the carpark to the beach.
- Hiking Boots – Hiking boots are great for muddy, slippery hikes and Jordan River is a very wet part of the world! Kerry’s loves the Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry Boots and Dave’s favourite boots are his Scarpa Kailash Plus Gore-Tex Backpacking Boots.
- Hiking Socks – Good hiking socks are important to make your boots as comfortable as possible! Our favourites for hiking in Spring when the weather is a little colder are the Smartwool Hike Classic Edition Full Cushion Crew and the Darn Tough Hiker Midweight with Cushion Micro Crew socks.
- Merino Top / Tee – Merino is a great material to hike in so we use Merino tops to hike. Our favourite Merino tops are from Icebreaker!
- Fleece – When hiking in Winter, Spring and Fall, we like to layer up because when you stop to admire the view, it usually gets pretty cold. Our favourite fleeces are the Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4 Zip (Kerry’s) and a Mac Pac Fleece from Australia (Dave’s).
- Puffer Jacket – We love our puffer jackets to keep warm at the beginning of a walk and then once we are at the viewpoint. Dave’s favourite puffer jacket is the Arcteryx Cerium LT Hoody and Kerry’s favourites are the Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Down Hooded Jacket and Rab Microlight Alpine Down Jacket.
- Rain Jacket – Because Spring weather is pretty unpredictable, we recommend bringing along a raincoats as they come in handy a lot of the time!
- Beanie – We never go anywhere in Winter, Spring and Fall without our beanies! Some of our favourites are from Dakine and Eddie Bauer.
- Day Backpack – Our favourite backpack for day hikes is the Osprey Tempest 20 Backpack.
- Bear Spray – You are in bear and cougar country. Make sure you are well up to date with wildlife safety.
- Your Camera Gear! We never go anywhere without ours!
Other Must See Beaches in Juan De Fuca Provincial Park
There are so many beautiful beaches lining the coastline of Juan De Fuca Provincial Park. Some other beaches that you need to check out while you are in the area are:
- Mystic Beach – a smaller beach with a beautiful waterfall running into the beach. Camping allowed
- Sombrio Beach – has its very own hidden waterfall! You can camp on Sombrio Beach.
- Sandcut Beach – A beach with not one but two beach waterfalls!
- French Beach – A beautiful classic PNW pebble beach with lots of driftwood. Great for picnics.
- China Beach – a sandy beach, popular for its campsites
All of the beaches along the Juan De Fuca Coastline have something special about each and every one of them! Botanical Beach is no different and its marine tidal pools kept us occupied for quite some time. It’s an incredible place to visit and see for yourself.
Looking for more things to do in Juan De Fuca Provincial Park? Check out our other guides!