Shawnigan Lake, located in British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, is a paradise for recreational activities and a popular vacation spot. The lake borders the communities of Cobbie Hill and Mill Bay and offers a wide range of activities such as waterskiing, wakeboarding, wakeskating, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. During the summer months, the population doubles with many residents flocking to their second homes here to enjoy the amenities. Moreover, Shawnigan Lake has a small shopping and service center with a few stores and plenty of summer cabins along the lake. With easy access and a reasonable distance to Victoria, Shawnigan Lake is the perfect summer retreat for people who want to live or spend their summer months in close proximity to recreational amenities.


Shawnigan Lake Sub-Area Attraction Pages:


West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park


West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park is a beautiful day-use park located on southern Vancouver Island, north of Victoria. It offers access to Lakeside Beach along the northwest shore of Shawnigan Lake and is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a place to paddle, fish, swim, or have a picnic. 


Activities and facilities available at West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park include:


  • Picnic Areas – Equipped with picnic tables, a change house, grassy areas for relaxing, and pit toilets.
  • Windsurfing – Permitted outside the boundaries of the provincial park.
  • Pets – Allowed on a leash at all times and not allowed in the park buildings or in the beach areas.
  • Swimming – Safe swimming areas are outlined by floats, but there are no lifeguards on duty.
  • Fishing – The lake is well-stocked with trout and is a popular spot for anglers.


It’s recommended to check out the complete list of activities and facilities at the park before heading out. You can find all the information you need to enjoy your day at the park on their website, including rules and regulations and information on where to best enjoy specific outdoor pursuits.


The park is home to the Douglas fir forest, which serves as a sanctuary for wildlife. Visitors can view wildlife in their natural habitat, but it’s important to follow the wildlife viewing ‘Code of ethics’ and BC Parks’ ‘Guiding Principals’ to ensure the ecological community is protected.


West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park spans over 9 hectares and is an ideal place to spend the day relaxing or enjoying water activities amidst the pristine beauty of Shawnigan Lake. 


Nearby communities, including Coble Hill, Cowichan, Mill Bay, and Shawnigan Lake, each offer their unique characteristics, activities, and things to see and do. 


To plan your visit to West Shawnigan Lake Provincial Park, visit their website for detailed directions and a map of the area. Experience the friendly and welcoming environment of the area, and you’ll find yourself wanting to come back year after year.


Shawnigan Lake Museum


Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island is a mostly rural community about 45 minutes from Victoria, offering a host of unique and local events and attractions. One of the must-visit places in the area is the Shawnigan Lake Museum, filled with the history and artifacts of the region. From art, artifacts, and interactive displays, the Museum has something that will be of interest to everyone who visits.


Apart from the Museum, there are a number of day-use parks along the lake, making it perfect for a leisurely picnic either before or after visiting the Museum. And every summer, Shawnigan Lake Museum hosts their ‘Summer Series’ presentations, held on Wednesday afternoons. Admission to the Museum is by donation, making it a perfect place for the whole family to spend the day.


Some of the presentations you can look forward to include:


  • The Geology Around Us
  • Minna Gildea and her Strathcona Lodge School for girls
  • The Eye In The Sky Doesn’t Lie


Participation at each of these events is limited, so be sure to RSVP before attending by calling 250.743.8675 or emailing at: [email protected].


Before or after your visit to the Museum, why not stop by Shawnigan Jen’s Sushi & Teriyaki (Take-Out) for some fresh sushi? And don’t forget to check out the museum’s lovely gift shop with a wide selection of cards by EJ Hughes, historical reference books, note and postcards, and more. You can even order online and have them delivered to you, making them perfect gifts for any occasion.


Plan your next visit to Shawnigan Lake and discover all that this beautiful community has to offer.


Memory Island Provincial Park


This smaller, day-use only provincial park is the perfect setting for a leisurely picnic while taking in the beauty of the birds, reptiles, small mammals, and plants that call this protected island home. Memory Island Provincial Park is on Shawnigan Lake on southern Vancouver Island and is one of the smallest parks in British Columbia. Access to the Island is via kayak, boat, or canoe from Shawnigan Lake and West Shawnigan lake Provincial Park.


There are a number of activities that one can enjoy on the Island, including:

  • Fishing – Shawnigan Lake is well stocked with trout making it a popular spot for anglers. It is important to note that those angling or fishing are required to have the appropriate license to do so.
  • Canoeing – there are plenty of opportunities for kayaking and canoeing on the lake.
  • Hiking – While there are no specifically developed trails there are a number of well worn paths that visitors may like to explore.
  • Pets – While pets are permitted, they must be on a leash at all times and it is the responsibility of owners to properly dispose of their excrement. If you plan on doing some backcountry exploring, it is recommended that you not bring any pets along to avoid interaction with local wildlife.


Facilities at the Park include a day-use picnic area and pit toilets are available. The park is cooperatively managed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and the facilities and services may not be the same as other BC provincial parks. Before heading out, it is a good idea to check their official site.


During the spring, Memory Island Provincial Park protects local nesting waterfowl. The resident birds that breed on the island include Belted Kingfishers, Common Mergansers, and Common Snipe.


If you are traveling along the Malahat, you can stop at the boat launch on the west side of Malahat drive on Highway 1, where you can take a quick 1-km paddle to the Island from the lakeshore.


The park is surrounded by a number of towns that offer a host of recreational activities, museums, shopping, special events, and great food. Some of the more popular areas to visit include:


  • Mill Bay
  • Cobble Hill
  • Shawnigan Lake


While all of southern Vancouver Island offers a host of both indoor and outdoor activities as well as its scenic rugged beauty, Memory Island Provincial Park is a unique setting where visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of nature in a protected environment. So why wait? Plan your visit today and experience the natural beauty of this hidden gem!


Koksilah River Provincial Park


Southern Vancouver Island is home to Koksilah River Provincial Park which offers a plethora of outdoor activities for adventure seekers. The park is located within the Vancouver Island Forest Reserve and is a popular spot for cycling, swimming, hiking, and fishing.


Things to Do at Koksilah River Provincial Park:


  • Cycling – Bicycles are required to keep to the roadways and bicycle helmets are mandatory throughout British Columbia.
  • Hiking – There are several well-maintained trails throughout the park, in the forest, and some leading to the river.
  • Canoeing – Kayaking and canoeing are popular water activities in the park.
  • Fishing – Fishing is permitted but all anglers must adhere to provincial and federal fishing regulations. An appropriate license is required for anyone fishing or angling.
  • Pets – Pets are allowed in the park but must be on a leash, and as per BC regulations, they are not permitted in park buildings or beach areas.


Camping near the parking area is allowed. While there are many spots for campsites, there are none (other than near the parking area) that are vehicle accessible, and campers will need to bring their own drinking water. There are also a host of deep clear pools that are perfect for swimming and fishing. The riverside trails provide easy access to the river along established footpaths and stairs.


A must-see attraction while exploring Koksilah River Provincial Park is the Kinsol Trestle. This historic trestle is open to the public and welcomes hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. It is unquestionably the largest of one of 8 trestles and the tallest freestanding such structures in the world. It rises 44 meters above the Koksilah River and is 187 meters in length. There are a wide range of amenities for those who wish to spend the day exploring the area such as wheelchair and stroller-accessible trails, benches, kiosks, pavilions, and viewing platforms. There are also year-round toilet facilities and hiking trails. 


At 210 hectares, Koksilah River Provincial Park affords an abundance of outdoor adventure opportunities. Whether you are an avid backcountry outdoorsman or just want to spend the day picnicking and enjoying nature, this pristine provincial park is the perfect spot to visit. The park is quite easy to get to from several directions by simply following the map and directions that are on the park’s website.


For more information on any aspect of the park or regulations, reach out to the Park Services team via email at [email protected] or by phone at 1 778-406-0104.