Dog-Friendly Victoria, BC: The Ultimate Guide by a Local

Is Victoria in Canada’s British Columbia Dog Friendly?

Nestled on the stunning coast of British Columbia, Victoria is a charming island destination that warmly welcomes both people and their beloved pets. Renowned as one of Canada’s most dog-friendly cities, Victoria offers a wonderful mix of beautiful parks, inviting patios, and historic streets, ensuring an unforgettable experience for everyone who comes to explore.

From long walks along lush landscapes to exhilarating strolls along the beach, Victoria extends a warm embrace to canine companions, encouraging them to enjoy the city’s beauty.

We’ve teamed up with local experts Donna, Karen, and their dog Dewey, to reveal the best dog-friendly activities, dining spots, and places to stay.

Prepare for tail-wagging adventures in dog-friendly Victoria, BC with these insider tips for creating lasting memories with your dog!

Meet Donna and Karen, a nomadic couple traveling in their campervan from pet sit to pet sit with their tiny rescue dog, Dewey. With expertise in house and pet sitting around Victoria on Vancouver Island, they’re here to share tips and the inside scoop on dog-friendly Victoria, BC.

Pet-Friendly Things to Do In Victoria, BC

3 dogs standing on Cook St in Victoria

Cook Street 

Lined with charming cafes, boutique shops, and lush green spaces, Cook Street offers a delightful stroll for you and your furry friend. The street’s welcoming atmosphere and dog-friendly establishments make it an ideal spot to explore with your pup. Coupled with its proximity to Beacon Hill Park and Dallas Road Waterfront Pathway, Cook Street provides opportunities for leisurely walks and scenic views, ensuring a memorable outing in dog-friendly Victoria, BC. 

For your pet’s comfort, it’s best to visit during quieter times. We suggest going in the middle of the week, around midday, as the patios are less crowded. Cook Street can get busy, and the dog-friendly patio seating tends to fill up quickly.

China Town Fan Tan Alley

Fan Tan Alley, measuring less than 0.9 m (3.0 ft) wide at its narrowest point, is renowned as the narrowest commercial street in North America. Known for classic Chinese lanterns hanging overhead, this alley was named after the Chinese gambling game Fan Tan. 

Once home to opium factories until they were outlawed in 1908, Fan Tan Alley now stands as a landmark in Victoria. Today, it offers a unique experience, with some shops in the alley being dog-friendly, adding to its charm.

When exploring Fan Tan Alley, consider your dog’s comfort. The narrow streets can get crowded, especially midday, so to ensure a pleasant experience for you and your pet, consider going when it’s less busy.

Fun Fact: In the 1990 movie “Bird on a Wire,” Mel Gibson famously rides a motorcycle down this alley, adding to its allure and charm.

Miniature World

Explore the wonders of Miniature World within the renowned Fairmont Empress Hotel. With over 85 captivating miniature scenes that blend fact, fiction, and fantasy, it’s a must-visit attraction for all ages. 

Small dogs are welcome in Miniature World but must be in a carrier. The exhibit has narrow spaces, so plan accordingly, especially if you’re using a stroller for your pooch. Weekday visits are best to avoid crowds, making it a more relaxed experience for you and your furry friend.

With reasonable admission prices starting from $19 for adults, enjoy a delightful outing in dog-friendly Victoria, BC, exploring the charming scenes of Miniature World, where every corner tells a story.

Best Dog Friendly Outdoor Activities Near Victoria

The variety and beauty of dog friendly walks and other outdoor activities in this area are some of the best in the entire world! 

Butchart Gardens overview with flowers

Butchart Gardens

Spread over 22 hectares, this well-known botanical garden features themed gardens, eateries, and 26 greenhouses. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash, and owners are kindly asked to clean up after their pups. 

Throughout the park, water bowls are provided for dogs, along with some poop bags for convenience. Bring your pup along to enjoy the sights and smells of the gardens, which typically take around 2 hours or more to explore at a leisurely pace. 

There is also no need to worry about rainy weather—staff hand out umbrellas throughout the grounds and parking lots for visitors to borrow and stay dry if rain does start. 

While admission may seem pricey, it’s justified by the amount of maintenance the gardens require. Ticket prices range from $22 to $40 Canadian dollars, depending on the season. The experience is worthwhile, and the spacious, free parking lot ensures easy access for all.

Dallas Road Waterfront Pathway 

This scenic 6 km oceanfront path offers breathtaking views of Washington’s Olympic Mountains, making it a picturesque setting for a stroll with your furry companion. Along the trail, you’ll discover the iconic Victoria Sign and the Dallas Road Staircase, which is covered with a beautiful painting and offers panoramic vistas of the coastline. 

The pathway from Douglas Street to Clover Point includes a leash-optional area for dogs. However, please exercise caution as the park isn’t fully fenced, and there’s a busy road nearby. On-leash dogs are also welcome, and there’s a designated walkable path outside the off-leash area for those who want to walk outside the off-leash area.

Beacon Hill Park

Spanning about 200 acres, this urban park allows leashed dogs and is conveniently located between Dallas Road and Cook Street. Beacon Hill Park is an ideal destination for a stroll with your furry friend, with several kilometers of paved trails and woodchip-covered footpaths. It’s a scenic parkland worth explaining. 

The elegant 74-hectare Victorian park boasts trees, landscaped gardens, ponds, and the beautiful Moss Lady sculpture. It also includes various animals and birds including live peacocks roaming freely and a dog-friendly petting zoo at Beacon Hill Children’s Farm!

Mystic Vale Trail

Nestled within the scenic ravine park that stretches almost from Henderson Road to Cadboro Bay, Mystic Vale Trail offers a beautiful experience for dog owners near Victoria – as long as their dogs are on a leash!

This protected forest area, located on the University of Victoria campus, boasts a network of picturesque walking trails that wind through lush greenery. Towering trees provide shade and a sense of tranquility, making it an ideal spot to immerse yourself in nature without venturing too far from the city. 

While the whole loop only takes about twenty-five minutes, it feels like you are getting away from the city for far longer. Use apps like AllTrails or Google Maps to navigate the path system as it can seem a bit confusing at first.

Elk Lake Regional Park

Tucked within the serene landscapes of Victoria’s Saanich Peninsula, Elk Lake Regional Park invites both humans and their furry companions for a refreshing adventure. 

The park features a scenic 10km trail that loops around Elk Lake, making it a popular choice for those seeking a longer walk or jog. The terrain is relatively flat, and the well-maintained trails next to the lakes offer several picturesque views of the regional park area. 

While dogs are permitted around Elk Lake, visitors should note that from June 1 to September 15, dogs must be kept on a leash while passing through the beach or picnic areas. 

So lace up your shoes and get your pup ready to enjoy a big walkie while taking in the natural beauty of Elk Lake Regional Park.

Island View Regional Park

Situated along the east shore of the Saanich Peninsula, Island View Beach Regional Park is a popular destination for dog lovers near Victoria. With its beautiful beaches and breathtaking views of Mt. Baker and surrounding islands, it’s a must-visit spot for both locals and tourists. 

The park offers a variety of walking trails, perfect for strolls or longer hikes along the shoreline. On windy days, look for the giant flying fish kites that occasionally grace the sky, adding to the charm of this coastal paradise. 

While dogs are welcome to roam and explore the park year-round, beach access is limited during the summer months. There’s also a dog-friendly campground for both RVs and tents open from May to September, offering the perfect opportunity for a coastal getaway. 

Just 20 minutes north of Victoria, Island View Beach has been referred to as the best place on the peninsula for an ocean walk with your furry friend. However, be prepared for windy conditions, as the area can get quite breezy at times.

Top of Mount Doug with a Norwich terrier

Mount Doug

Located on the east side of Saanich, Mount Douglas offers a fantastic dog-friendly destination near Victoria. This popular spot features well-marked paths that wind through lush forests, offering stunning views of the surrounding area. 

While the route is generally considered moderately challenging, it’s worth the effort for the breathtaking scenery. Dogs are welcome on the trails but must be kept under control at all times. It is important to note that dogs are not permitted on the beach or playground around the lower beach parking lot. 

Explore the beauty of Mount Doug while enjoying some quality outdoor time with your pooch.

Thetis Lake National Park 

Located just 30 minutes northwest of Victoria, Thetis Lake National Park is a fantastic spot for outdoor enthusiasts and their furry companions. With rugged trails perfect for hiking and plenty of opportunities for your dog to take a dip, it’s a must-visit destination. 

Whether you stroll along the lakeside trail or tackle the more challenging routes up Seymour or Scafe Hills, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

During the summer months, paid parking is in effect at Thetis Lake Regional Park from May 1 to September 30. Although the main beach is off-limits to dogs during this time, there’s another dog-friendly beach further up the road. Off-season parking is free, offering an added incentive to visit during quieter times.

Whether you’re hiking the trails or taking a swim, Thetis Lake promises an unforgettable outdoor adventure for you and your dog.

Dog Friendly Patios in Victoria

lady holding a small black dog on a og friendly patio in Victoria

The Drake Eatery (Best Patio Vibe)

Located in Victoria, The Drake Eatery offers a dog-friendly patio where you can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and thoughtfully sourced dishes. With heated patios available, you and your furry friend can dine in comfort year-round. 

Additionally, The Drake boasts a large beer garden patio, perfect for enjoying the amazing vibes of the restaurant. Plus, options for all dietary needs, such as vegan, are available on the menu, making it a great spot for everyone to enjoy.

While the patio overlooking the market square provides a nice ambiance, it can be loud, so keep that in mind if you have a noise-sensitive pup

Tug Eatery and Bar (Best Patio Views)

Situated along the picturesque Victoria Inner Harbor, Tug Eatery and Bar stands out with its vibrant atmosphere and sprawling waterfront patio. Boasting lush gardens and breathtaking views, this family-owned gem offers welcoming outdoor seating for you and your furry friend to enjoy. 

Indulge in their diverse menu featuring gluten-free and vegan options, all while sipping on expertly crafted cocktails. As you soak up the sunshine, the friendly wait staff ensures your pup stays hydrated with a refreshing bowl of water. 

Whether you’re dining with friends, family, or just your four-legged companion, this dog-friendly patio in Victoria offers up a delightful afternoon on the water, complete with stellar service and unforgettable flavors. 

Don’t forget to ask for a cozy blanket if you need to ward off the wind – a small touch that adds to the overall charm of this waterfront patio.

Nourish Kitchen and Cafe (Best Patio Brunch)

Indulge in the best brunch experience near the inner harbor at Nourish Kitchen and Cafe in Victoria. Located inside an airy Victorian house, this charming eatery boasts a thoughtful menu featuring simple yet enticing farm-fresh mains and snacks. 

But what sets it apart is its expansive, sunny patio surrounded by fragrant herb gardens – a true haven for brunch lovers and their furry companions alike. 

With options for vegan and gluten-free diets, this dog-friendly oasis offers delicious offerings for everyone.

Beagle Pub (Best Patio Comfort)

Located on Cook Street conveniently close to Dallas Road Waterfront Walkway and Beacon Hill Park, this convivial neighborhood pub has daily food specials, many draft beers, and outdoor seating. 

Your furry friend is welcome to join you at a table on the sidewalk patio, where they provide cozy comforts like dog beds and blankets for humans. Plus, with overhead heaters, this patio is suitable for outdoor dining almost all year round. These thoughtful touches ensure a cozy experience for both you and your pooch!

A great spot to enjoy a meal with your dog after a nice walk in the area!

Dog Friendly Hotels in Victoria, BC

Dog-friendly Empress hotel in Victoria, BC

Fairmont Empress

Experience unparalleled luxury at the Fairmont Empress, Canada’s Castle on the Coast. This award-winning British Columbia hotel and National Historic Site, dating back to 1908, offers iconic luxury and classic British styling with unparalleled views over the Inner Harbour. 

This hotel takes its VIPs (Very Important Pets) seriously! The room includes a special welcome amenity just for them: a custom pet bed based on the furry guest’s size, water and feeding bowls, treats, and a welcome toy. Best of all, pets stay free!

Despite being an expensive stay, the incredibly friendly staff, the array of amenities, and the delicious food will make you feel like royalty.

 🏩 Check prices and availability 🏩

Coast Victoria Hotel and Marina 

Enjoy luxury and stunning ocean views at the pet-friendly Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina, located on the waterfront in downtown Victoria. This oceanfront hotel features an indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub, offering the perfect spot to unwind. Situated around the Inner Harbor, it’s only a 15-minute walk from the city center.

With proximity to the Wharf and a shuttle to downtown, you’ll have easy access to the city’s attractions. Additionally, there are plenty of restaurants nearby. The beautiful boardwalk along the harbor provides a scenic backdrop for strolls with your pooch

This hotel offers reasonable rates and epic views, making it an ideal choice for a great stay in Victoria, BC with your dog.

 🏩 Check prices and availability 🏩

Hotel Zed Victoria

Hotel Zed in Victoria is centrally located between Uptown Shopping Centre and the downtown core, which is just a five-minute drive away. The hotel is also right on the Galloping Goose trail, a renowned bike trail that will take you almost anywhere in the Greater Victoria area. Not bringing your bike? No worries – the hotel will loan you one for free! 

Dogs, cats, and other furry or feathered friends are all welcome, and there is no limit on how many you can bring. Plus, for every pet fee paid, $1 is donated to the BC Humane Society. This hotel is not just pet-friendly; it’s also perfect for tweens and teens, as it has board games in the lobby and an epic waterslide at the pool. 

This is a great value stay!

🏩 Check prices and availability 🏩

Travel Hack: Use Trusted Housesitters and Stay in Victoria, BC for Free!

Why pay for hotels when you can simply join a pet-sitting website like Trusted Housesitters and live rent-free somewhere beautiful? In Victoria, BC, countless stunning homes and adorable pets are waiting for your care. There’s even a chance you can pet-sit with your dog, too! It’s worth looking into.

Worth Leaving Fido Behind

orca with trees in the background

Orca Spirit Adventures

Experience Victoria’s premier whale watching with Orca Spirit Adventures, offering carbon-neutral tours led by knowledgeable captains and naturalists passionate about Vancouver Island’s marine wildlife. 

Enjoy over a 95% success rate in spotting whales, including humpbacks, transient & resident orcas, minke, & gray whales! Encounter Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, otters, & marine birds. And be sure to use their whale guarantee for a complimentary tour if you don’t spot a whale. 

This company offers complimentary shuttle pick-up from downtown Victoria hotels and all tours are three hours in length. Remember that it is colder out on the water, so dress accordingly!

🛳️ Check prices and availability 🛳️

Victoria Butterfly Gardens

Explore the Victoria Butterfly Gardens, a hidden gem just a 25-minute drive north of Victoria. Thousands of tropical butterflies (up to 70 species) fly through this large facility, the size of almost 3 basketball courts. Encounter poison dart frogs, tortoises, iguanas, flamingos, tropical ducks, and more. Don’t miss the lush gardens, including tropical flowers, carnivorous plants, and fruits of the world, or their newest exhibit, the Insectarium. 

Tourist Tip: Wear a colorful hat; butterflies tend to think you’re a flower!

🌸 Check prices and availability 🌸

When is the Best Time to Visit Victoria?

When considering the best time to visit Victoria, it’s important to factor in both the weather and any special events happening throughout the year, especially if you’re traveling with your furry companion. 

While June to August marks peak tourist season, offering warm weather and bustling outdoor markets, it also brings higher hotel and flight prices as well as busier attractions. 

For those looking to avoid the crowds and save some money, April to May and September to October are excellent alternatives. During these months, you’ll still enjoy pleasant weather, with average temperatures around 12ºC, and have the chance to experience the city without the peak season crowds. 

Springtime in Victoria is particularly enchanting, with the entire city bursting with blooms, from fragrant hyacinths to fluffy cherry blossoms. It’s also an ideal season for whale watching and the start of patio season, when restaurants across the city unfurl their umbrellas, offering fantastic opportunities for both locals and visitors to dine outdoors. 

So whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or culinary delights, springtime in Victoria has something for everyone, including your four-legged friends.

Getting to Victoria With a Dog and How to Get Around

Traveling to Victoria, BC with your furry friend? Here’s how to get there and how to get around the city with your dog.

Getting to Victoria, BC

By Airplane

You can fly into Victoria International Airport (YYJ), which is only a 30-minute drive to downtown Victoria. Be sure to double-check airline pet policies and follow them accordingly. Depending on the airline, small dogs can usually travel under the airplane seat, while larger dogs typically travel in cargo or excess baggage.

By Ferry

B.C. Ferries allow pets, including dogs, cats, ferrets, birds, and hamsters, to travel for free. While they are becoming more dog-friendly, some of the ferries require that you stay in the pet area, which is located on the car deck. It can get chilly down there, so you also have the option to stay in your vehicle with your dog. 

The Black Ball Ferry From Port Angeles, WA, to Victoria, BC, is dog-friendly. Pets ride for free, and dogs are welcome in many locations on the ferry, including the seats inside, the deck outside, and the covered solarium.

Getting Around Victoria, BC

yellow water taxi in Victoria

Victoria is a city that deserves to be seen from a variety of perspectives, including that of your dog! This coastal capital offers plenty of unique ways to get around during your stay. 

Having your own car will provide the most options and flexibility for visiting the top recommended dog sites.


Often called the bicycle capital of Canada, one of the best ways to truly discover Victoria is to explore it from behind the handlebars of a bike. Cycle BC Rentals offers the largest selection of high-end motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, and accessories.

Tourist Tip: Use maps like this one to plan your trip around Victoria. 

On Foot

Between Victoria’s walkable city core and a relatively small footprint, using your own two feet is far and away one of the best ways to explore the city.

Water Taxi

You can zip to Victoria’s nearby attractions, restaurants, and landmarks by boat! Learn more about it on the Victora Harbour Ferry website. Pets are allowed.

B.C. Transit Bus

The Victoria Regional Transit system easily transports you from downtown Victoria, Ogden Point, and Brentwood Bay to places like Sooke and Sidney—seven days a week. Smaller dogs that can go in a carrier are welcome to ride public transportation.


Carsharing is gaining popularity as an affordable and convenient alternative to private vehicle ownership. Currently, the three Victoria providers are local co-operative Modo, Zipcar, and BC Evo Car Share.


Uber is a recent addition to the streets of Victoria, making its debut early in 2023. Residents and visitors alike now have a safe, affordable, and reliable option to help get them where they need to go when they need to.


Victoria taxis are readily available throughout the city and provide a fast and convenient way to get around town 24/7.

Final Thoughts: Is Victoria, BC a Good Place to Take a Pet?

Victoria, BC, stands out as a wonderful place for pet owners looking to share adventures with their furry friends. With its abundance of dog-friendly parks, beaches, and eateries, Victoria offers plenty of opportunities for pets to join in the fun with their owners. 

Thanks to the city’s mild weather, you can enjoy exploring all year round, whether it’s hiking scenic trails or wandering through charming neighborhoods. Plus, Victoria boasts numerous pet-friendly accommodations, ensuring a comfortable stay for both you and your furry companion. 

All in all, Victoria’s welcoming vibe and array of pet-friendly activities make it a top choice for pet owners seeking a memorable getaway with their beloved four-legged pals.

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