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Finding Hot Tubs and Ocean Views in Shirley

Finding Hot Tubs and Ocean Views in Shirley

Fossil Bay Resort is heavy on the oceanfront, light on the cell reception.


Are people still overlooking Shirley as one of the Island’s best local getaways? It’s about an hour and 20 minutes drive from downtown Victoria, and just as you round the bend past Sooke, the cell reception and internet drops and you’re officially off the grid until you return days later. 

Fossil Bay Resort is a little collection of private cottages, tucked away just north of Point No Point, by the bay of the same name. The cottages themselves—open-concept suites each with a kitchen, king-size bed, TV, fireplace and breakfast nook—aren’t exactly the stuff of dreams: grandma-chic turquoise laminate countertops in the kitchen and basic bathrooms date the place to somewhere in the budget-conscious 1990s, while beaten-up leather couches sit on the gold-brown kitchen tile used throughout. But, and this is a big but, none of that matters when you see the view. 

Large sliding doors open up onto an expansive private deck that’s a child-sized stone’s throw from the ocean cliffs of the Juan de Fuca Strait. The ever-constant crashing surf is a soothing reminder that you’re on vacation somewhere that feels far away from Victoria, or wherever it is you came from. There’s a four-person hot tub on the deck, two deep-set (plastic) adirondack chairs with wide armrests for your wine glasses. Crack a bottle of ice cold whatever-you-brought and sip it outside in the hot tub as you watch the setting sun throw orange across blush pink skies. In the morning, wake up with a hot mug of Earl Grey and dive into one of your summer beach reads or scout the water for marine creatures before heading out for the day. 

Some hard facts: there are scads of quiet, expansive, wildlife-rich beaches on your doorstep. Trailheads to China, Mystic and French are all within an 11 minutes’ drive. This whole strip is home to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail that stretches 47-kilometres from China Beach to Botanical Beach. Every bay and sandy stretch is worth exploring, and you’ll probably get to chin-wag with some intrepid hikers along the way. 

Just two minutes’ drive from Fossil Bay, or a 25-minute walk, is Sandcut Beach. When the tide is out, there are long stretches of soft sand (instead of the area’s usual pebbles) and taking a blanket down there to relax is going to be one of the highlights of your summer. Even if you didn’t bring anything to play (although an addictive game of Monopoly Deal is suggested), the beach is its own entertainment. Bald Eagles might be training their motley brown young how to fish on the shore while seagulls take turns dropping crabs from above. Because all of these beaches are so big, and so abundant, you’re never on top of anyone else—it’s like you’ve got the Juan de Fuca all to yourself. 

When the time comes to pack up and leave your slice of Island life, take the edge off with a stop in at the neighbourhood cafe: quirky, fabulous, Shirley Delicious. And even though it’s housed inside an A-frame cabin, they have a full kitchen pumping out a robust, internationally-inspired menu using locally-grown ingredients: Greek-style veggie hash with tzatziki; tomato, cucumber and eggs; or deep-fried corn fritters with feta, avocado and salsa—it’s all delicious. 

Plus, you get to eat your brunch outside, as they have enough backyard seating for everyone in town. Stock up on house-made baked goods for the drive home (they even have gluten-free and vegan sweets and savouries), and know that you’ll be back to visit Shirley and Fossil Bay as soon as you can carve out another two days in your calendar. 

Book your stay at Fossil Bay Resort.

Fossil Bay Resort
11033 West Coast Rd., Shirley

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