Sharing the same building and hours as the visitors center, the fascinating Sooke Region Museum illuminates the area's rugged pioneer days. Check out Moss Cottage in the museum grounds: built in 1869, it's the oldest residence west of Victoria.

If you're craving some thrills, find your inner screamer on the forested zip-line tours operated by Adrena LINE. Its full-moon zips are the most fun (book ahead) and, if you don't have your own transport, they can also shuttle you to and from Victoria for an extra $15.

A more relaxed way to encounter the natural world is the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park, a 5km drive from Hwy 14 (the turnoff is east of Sooke). With rock pools and potholes carved into the river base during the last ice age, it's ideal for summertime swimming and tube floating.