French Beach Provincial Park, Sooke, Vancouver Island, BC

Welcome to
French Beach Provincial Park

This 59 hectare park along the spectacular Strait of Juan de Fuca offers beautiful trails, whale watching, secluded campsites and waterfront picnic areas.

Park History

Imagine loving to travel so much, you would walk across Canada! Imagine falling through the ice in the Northwest Territories, losing to frostbite all the toes off one foot and the heel of your other, thanking aboriginal knowledge that you did not lose more! Imagine not stopping there, travelling by boat and canoe down the Bulkley Valley to Vancouver, and then paddling around Vancouver Island to find your future home!

It took pioneer James French two adventurous years to travel from New Brunswick to Victoria. He pre-empted the land west of Sooke in 1885. French was an early naturalist, travelling the world to bring exotic animals to zoos for public enjoyment and education. After an expedition to Africa, French once brought home a small elephant shortly before selling it to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.

French died in 1952, survived by his family who continued to live on the property and play an active part in local logging. French had hoped that a much larger section of the west coast of Vancouver Island would be made into a provincial park. His home and favorite beach would become French Beach Provincial Park in 1974... twenty years later, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park would further his dream.

French Beach lies within the traditional territory of the T'Sou-ke First Nation. Their economy was based on hunting, fishing and gathering, and extended families amoung the Straits people owned the lands and resources which could not be sold but only inherited.

Natural History

Situated on the Straits of Juan de Fuca, this 59 hectare park is situated on the Strait of Juan de Fuca 5 km east of Jordan River. Beautiful hiking trails lead you through second growth forest of Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar to the beach. You will also find salal, Oregon Grape and evergreen Huckleberries and a large variety of ferns along the trails.

Once on the beach, there are excellent whale watching opportunities. These magnificent animals migrate to northern feeding grounds in the spring and return south in the fall.

French Beach is also an excellent location to observe seabirds, bald eagles and ospreys. Otters, seals and sea lions can also be seen playing offshore.

French Beach is located near the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula rain shadow and receives more precipitation than Victoria but much less than areas to the northwest such as Port Renfrew or Bamfield.

Local Area

Thirteen kilometres northwest of French Beach is the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. This 47 kilometer wilderness trail, stretching from China Beach to Botanical Beach, offers day or multi-day hiking and viewing opportunities.

The communities of Jordan River, Shirley and Sooke provide restaurant and other services for French Beach visitors. Visitor information centres are located in Port Renfrew and Sooke.

A message to Park Visitors

BC's parks belong to you. Park regulations exist so residents and visitors will always be able to enjoy protected natural landscapes. Regulations are posted at park kiosks or are available from park headquarters.

Reservations - a select number of sites are reservable. To make a reservation call 1-800-689-9025 (in Vancouver, call 689-9025).

Check-Out time is 11 am.

Quiet Time is from 10 pm to 7 am. Please do not operate noisey equipment or generators.

Loss of Property - Please lock all valuables in your vehicle. Never leave valuables in your tent or unattended. All losses should be reported to the park staff or the RCMP as soon as possible.

Pets must be kept on leashes. Owners are responsible for picking up pet droppings and disposing of same in garbage containers.

Excessive Noise is not permitted. Please remember that sound travels further in open air, especially music and loud talking.

Campfires must not exceed 0.5 meters in size. Leaving a campfire unattended is a serious offence. Fires must be extinguished before retiring or leaving your campsite.

Trees - Small trees and shrubs are easily damaged. Do not use them for wiener sticks or clothesline supports.

69 campsites. Reservations are accepted. There are some first come first served sites. Pit toilets. No showers. No electrical hook-ups.
Picnicking/day-use area with an adventure playground and picnic tables.
There is a 1 km walking/hiking trail throughout the park to view the second growth forest.
There is a sani-dump station located on highway 14 across from the park entrance.
Saltwater fishing: All anglers must have a valid fishing license. Refer to BC Environment Fishing Regulations and Sport Fishing Regulations. There is no boat launch located at this park.
Interpretation programs are intermittently run during the summer months July to September. Please check the park information shelters for program schedules. These programs are sponsored by the Park Facility Operator.
BC Parks Recycles! Please place your tins, bottles and newspapers in appropriate containers located throughout the park.

Campsite Map

Discover Camping
Campground Reservation Service
Most sites are reservable
toll-free: 1-800-689-9025
in Vancouver: 689-9025

Information supplied by:
For more detailed information about French Beach Provincial Park contact:
BC Parks
South Vancouver Island District
2930 Trans Canada Hwy
Victoria, B.C. V9E 1K3
Phone: 250-391-2300
Fax: 250-478-9211

For information about the Sooke area, please email
the Sooke Region Museum and Visitor Infocentre at:
Please include your name and mailing address and information will be sent to you.

Sooke Recreation Index

Sooke Community Website

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