A long sandy beach, warm ocean waters and proximity to Victoria make Bamberton Park a popular spot to explore.
- Features: Sandy beach; vehicle accesssible campground; arbutus groves
- Park Size: 28 hectares
- Trails: Approximate 1.5 km trail connects the campground to the beach
- Suitable Activities: walking, beachcombing, sunbathing, swimming, picnicing, camping, kayaking
- Accessibility: The campground is wheelchair accessible. As is the route from the day-use parking lot to the beach, however some portions are quite steep. Toilet facilities are also wheelchair accessible.
- Park Use: Day-use park and campground
- Washrooms: Flush toilets are available at the day-use area (April – September); Campground has pit toilets
- Pets: As this is a Provincial Park, dogs must remain on a leash at all times
A Bit of History
Located along the Saanich Inlet, traditionally, the area was used by local First Nations for ceremonial purposes and specifically the creek, which runs through the park for trout fishing.
The village of Bamberton is considered to be one of the most important industrial sites in BC’s history. First developed in 1912, the village was created to house employees and was owned by the Associated Cement Company. Bamberton is named after the managing director of the company H.K. Bamber.
In February 1919, the Associated Cement Company merged with the Vancouver Portland Cement Company to become the British Columbia Cement Company. The plant operated at the Bamberton site until 1980. The cement produced at this site was used to build many major infrastructures around the province and was extremely prosperous.
In 1959, the company presented 28 hectares of land to the province to create Bamberton Park. Today, the park protects second-growth Douglas fir and many arbutus trees, along with the estuary’s salmon-bearing creek and eel-grass beds.
For a detailed history of the area, I recommend reading, Bamberton: From Dust to Bust and Back.
The 225-metre long sandy beach at Bamberton Park becomes a popular spot during the summer, especially for young families. The warm ocean water in the inlet is protected, making it ideal for frolicking in the waves. The area is also known for its intertidal life that can be found near the shore, making it a popular destination for school field trips.
The calm water also makes it an ideal spot to kayak. Although there is no boat launch, the parking area is a short walk away, and paddlers can put in at the beach. For boaters, the nearest launch is at the Mill Bay Marina, an approximate 5-minute drive from the park.
The scenery around you is beautiful as well. The waterside offers views of the Saanich Peninsula and Mt. Baker beyond. In contrast, the forest side is full of Arbutus and Douglas fir trees. Waterfowl and seals are frequent visitors to the surrounding waters, while eagles and osprey are often spotted circling above.
The beach, park and campground are open year-round. So, if you want to avoid crowds and catch good weather, late spring or early fall is an ideal time to visit.
Several picnic tables dot the terraced slopes above the beach, with shade provided by the towering woodland behind you. This tranquil spot with beautiful ocean scenery to boot is the perfect location to eat your lunch.
Flush toilets and cold freshwater showers are available in this day-use area. However, both are closed during the off-season (October – March).
The route from the day-use parking lot to the beach is wheelchair accessible and paved. Some sections of the paved trail are pretty steep.
The campground is nestled in the forested area and is open year-round for vehicle-accessible camping. There are 53 sites available during the peak camping season. During the winter, only limited facilities and campsites are available. While there are five first-come, first-serve sites, reservations are highly recommended, and necessary if wishing to camp during the summer. You can reserve through the Discover Camping website.
The campground is within close proximity to the beach and accessed by following a 1.5 km (somewhat steep) trail.
Pit toilets and cold-water taps are available at the campground, and each site provides a campfire ring. You can purchase firewood from the Park Facility Operator. Please note that wood gathering from within the park is not allowed. And limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented at any time.
For a birds-eye overview of the area, here is a map of the park: Bamberton Park Map.
While You are There
Bamberton is located approximately 45 km north of Victoria. However, for a more scenic route, BC Ferries offers service from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay, at a distance of 8 km by sea, with a crossing time of only 25 minutes. Once in Brentwood Bay, you have access to the famous Butchart Gardens, the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea and many other great attractions.
If you wish to stay on the Bamberton side, there’s also plenty to see and do. Nearby towns include Mill Bay, Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake and Duncan. A few must-sees are the Malahat Skywalk and the Kinsol Trestle.
Getting to Bamberton Provincial Park
Bamberton Provincial Park is located just south of the Mill Bay ferry terminal. Head east off Highway 1 onto Mill Bay Road, and then take Malahat Drive. Watch for signs along the way.
Have you visited Bamberton Provincial Park? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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