Welcome to Sidney BC. This small community is nestled near the Swartz Bay ferry terminal in Victoria BC on Vancouver Island. Home to approximately 11,000, this bedroom community hosts a variety of eclectic shops and restaurants. Sidney BC is one of 13 municipalities on Vancouver Island.
It’s also the gateway to a local favorite: Sidney Spit Marine Park. Sidney Spit is accessible by boat only. A 25 mins ferry ride away via the Alpine Ferry, the Sidney Spit campground, managed by Parks Canada, is open annually from May 15 to Sept 30. A map for Sidney Spit camping is available here.
Check out my detailed post on planning a landscape photography trip to Sidney Spit here.
Locals love to make a trip out of it and many use their own boats, leaving from either Sidney BC or Brentwood Bay. The Sidney Spit mooring buoys and dock are sheltered and make it an ideal day or overnight boating destination. There are 11 mooring buoys available on a first come first serve basis. All of the photos in this gallery, were captured on boating trips to the Spit.
Best Time of Year to Capture Images At Sidney Spit
In my opinion, the best time of year to capture amazing sunsets at Sidney Spit with the most dynamic light is August and September. The sun sets behind Sidney and all the moored boats, providing unique framing and silhouette opportunities. This is also a great place to capture the aurora, if there is a storm (I’ve seen it on a clear night in April before). Always bring a fast lens (I like my Tamron 24-70mm 2.8), a zoom lens, and a sturdy tripod because the wind can pick up suddenly.
Things to Enjoy at Sidney Spit
Low tide is fantastic as it reveals the entire sandbar from the main dock all the way to the small lighthouse on the point. However, the shifting sandbars under the water can prove to be a challenge for boats with a long draught. We’ve bounced along the bottom at a low tide with a 3 ft draught trying to tie up at the main dock.
Plentiful eel grass provides refuge and breeding grounds for many sea creatures including dungeness crab, which are plentiful in about 15 feet of water near the mooring buoys. Both tent camping and boat moorage at Sidney Spit are reasonably priced. If tent camping, you must bring drinking water with you due to the salt levels in the water on the island.
Take a walk along the super easy trails to the small “brick beach” by the tent camping area. This is where the old brick factory left a huge amount of bricks after closing up. Those bricks now form the beach and the foundation of the small grassy meadow by the tenting area. If you’re lucky, you might find an intact brick with “Sidney Island” stamped on it from the original factory like I did! But good luck with that, they are super rare.
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