The Ultimate Jordan River Weekend Itinerary

Vancouver Island is home to some of the most beautiful coastal views in Canada, and Jordan River features coastal beaches, epic waterfalls, and no cell service! This off-grid getaway is perfect for the adventurer and makes for a great way to spend a weekend away from the city or a great stop to add to your Vancouver Island road-trip.

We’ve been lucky enough to take the trip to this gorgeous PNW location multiple times now, both in the Summer and early Spring and in the Winter and I couldn’t recommend this park enough to add to your Vancouver Island adventures.

This park is located on the southwest side of the island where you’ll immediately notice you’re losing cell-service. It’s a 1 hour and 20 minute drive from downtown Victoria, and 2 hours from Nanaimo. You’ll be driving through 2 of our favourite coastal towns, Sooke & Jordan River.

The entire drive from Sooke to Port Renfrew will take you about 2 hours and longer if you add the multiple stops along the way. This can be done as a day trip or we recommend staying at French Beach campground to make it a multi-day road-tip. Keep reading for the top things to do in Jordan River & the best beaches!

Top Things to do in Jordan River

  • Hike to Mystic Beach via Juan De Fuca trail
  • Find the Sombrio Beach hidden waterfall
  • Visit Sandcut Beach & the waterfalls
  • Check out the tide pools at Botanical Beach
  • Brunch at Shirley Delicious & more…

Hike to Mystic Beach

Girl in a bikini and golden retriever puppy walking towards the waterfall on mystic beach in Juan de fuca park Vancouver Island

If there’s one thing on this list that should make it to your Vancouver Island bucket list, it would be this one. Mystic beach is hands-down our favourite hike in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park because it’s beautifully woven through a dense forest, with massive overgrown trees and a mossy forest floor.

This hike will take you about 45 minutes to reach the beach and is 2KM each way. You’ll park your car at the China Beach day-use area and turn right towards the signs pointing to the Juan de Fuca parking lot. It will be the first parking lot you see & there are washrooms available.

The best time to visit Mystic Beach is in the Spring or Summer. The spring showers really bring the forest to life and keep the waterfalls pumping! Another helpful tip for you would be to plan your trip to Mystic Beach according to the tide conditions and the time of day. We chose to visit 2-3 hours after high tide. Read more about our trip Hiking & Camping on Mystic Beach.

The famous waterfall is located to the left side of the beach and the rope swing will be located to your right side. You’ll notice plenty of spots to sit down, relax, get a fire going, and maybe even set up your tent. You’ll get to explore rock cliffs, caves and even a rope swing.

Find the Sombrio Beach Hidden Waterfall

While there are plenty of waterfalls to be found on the Juan De Fuca Strait (see Mystic Beach & Sand Cut Beach), what makes this waterfall special is its narrow, moss-covered canyon. It’s very close to the beach, but tucked away in its own oasis in the forest. To get here, you’ll follow a rough dirt road to the trailhead and parking lot. It’s about 20 minutes from Port Renfrew and 1 hour from Sooke.

The trail itself is an easy walk and mostly downhill. You should walk directly up to the falls to get the full experience! It’s a beautiful sight and even cooler to experience in person. This is insanely beautiful and hard to capture but definitely worth the adventure. Check out our guide to Finding Sombrio Beach’s hidden waterfall.

Visit Sand Cut Beach

close up of sand cut beach waterfalls on Vancouver Island

The third must-see beach on our list was one of our most fun days we’ve had in Juan De Fuca. This beach features a rock beach rather than sand, and two 10-15ft waterfalls leading to the ocean. There’s a rope swing by the falls, and plenty of spots to camp, have a fire, or sit down on a log to relax.

To find this beach, you’ll park at the small gravel parking lot and hike for about 15 minutes through the rainforest. The trail itself is extremely charming and easy to navigate. You’ll climb down a few sets of stairs, so be prepared if you’re visiting with children or elderly people. Make sure you look out for the trees – some of them have faces.

Check out the tide pools at Botanical Beach

This beach is located in Port Renfrew, and you’ll want to visit this beach ESPECIALLY when the tide is low. This is how you’re able to explore the many tide pools that Botanical Beach features. It’s super important to check the tide times before you lose cell-service, and it’ll make your experience much easier than ours! I’ve linked tide table predictions for you here.

You’ll drive to the Juan De Fuca Provincial Marine Park (great place for a picnic with tables), and you’ll find the trailhead for both Botanical Beach and Botany Bay. It’s a loop trail, so it doesn’t really matter which trail you choose. However, the loop is easier for children and elderly people. They both lead back to the parking lot. The loop is 2.7KM total.

Pick up brunch at Shirley Delicious

Up close of Shirley Delicious cafe in Shirley Vancouver Island

Shirley Delicious is a a gorgeous little cafe that is tucked into the forests about 20 minutes away from Sooke. You’re going to want to share this fantastic stop with your friends, family, and neighbours. Stop here for brunch, lunch, or for a treat before your hike!

At Shirley Delicious, they are serving up fresh baked goods with coffee, incredible sandwiches and soups. They include gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. We’ve tried their pastries and they are pretty amazing, and their coffee is perfect in the mornings. The two of us have also tried a couple of different sandwich options and they’re served on a focaccia bread… absolutely DELICIOUS!

Book a cozy cabin in Jordan River

There’s something special about an overnight stay in the rainforest. Since Jordan River is part of Canada’s temperate rainforests, the temperature is consistently cool and doesn’t have very much humidity. The rain is refreshing and brings life to the forest. The air smells clean, and the gentle sound of rain hitting the roof puts you right to sleep.

We found our stay at the Bonsai Bunkhouse & East Sooke Treehouse in Jordan River through Airbnb. I’ve included a link for you to book for yourself, because we really enjoyed both of our stays in the rainforest. A few other options we considered were the Ferngully Redwood cabin, the Ferngully Grand Fir cabin, and the Jordan River Cabins.

Camp at Jordan River or French Beach Campground

Here you’ll find camping spots for RVs, vans, cars, and tents. You’ll notice the clean bathrooms and organized self-check in. There’s 15 drive-in spots and 7 walk-in spots. It will cost you $15 cash from June-October, and $10 from November-May. You’ll be surrounded by the coastal Juan De Fuca Strait and be welcomed with views of the Olympic Peninsula. The rocky beach is easily accessible and the campground is dog-friendly.

Ford Bronco Sport parked in-front of Jordan River British Columbia Canada

A few secrets about this place – it’s fantastic for surfing. You’ll almost always catch a nice sunset here. We prefer the camp-sites that are around the bend and on the right side. There is a lot of room at these sites for your camping set-up and a couple of perfect trees to set up a hammock. You’ll be close to the highway but it’s still very secluded and quiet because it’s tucked into the trees.

Grab pizza for dinner at Stoked Wood Fire Pizza

couple sitting in-front of a cozy cabin in the rainforest of Juan De fuca provincial park on Vancouver Island British Columbia Canada

We’ve given you a great option for breakfast and lunch, and now I’ll continue on to share a great dinner option with you. Whether you’ve spent the day hiking, surfing, relaxing, or setting up camp, this wood fire pizza at Stoked can’t be beat. As of January 2023 they are closed. Photo above from Bonsai Bunkhouse on Airbnb.

Backpacking Juan De Fuca Marine Trail or West Coast Trail

We have camped on Mystic Beach but have not done the multi-day hikes yet. The Juan De Fuca Marine Trail is a rugged & isolated hike that should be planned well in advance. The West Coast Trail is a longer and even more remote that people come from all over the world to complete.

The Juan De Fuca trail is a 47KM hike that begins in Port Renfrew’s Botanical Beach or another option of starting at China Beach closer to Sooke and Jordan River. This is an easier route that avoids harder parts of the trail that include more technical aspects like ladders. you’ll need to figure out tidal times and plan accordingly, and this hike will take you anywhere from 3-5 days.

Is Visiting Juan De Fuca Provincial Park Worth it?

If you’re visiting Vancouver Island or planning a road-trip, I absolutely recommend you this coastal rainforest park to your plans. There’s plenty of reasons why this low-key oasis is one of our favourite parts of the island and I hope you experience the same feelings on your upcoming trips!

Make sure you carve out some time to visit this area of Vancouver Island and you won’t regret it. As always, make sure you respect the outdoors and locals of this area, dispose of your trash properly, and support local businesses. Check out more on Vancouver Island:

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