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The little town of Sooke doesn't offer a lot to divert the visitor, but there are a number of recreation areas nearby that warrant a stop. Sooke Potholes Provincial Park preserves a curious geologic formation. The Sooke River flows down a series of rock ledges, pooling in waist-deep swimming holes before dropping in waterfalls to another series of pools and waterfalls. In July and August, the normally chilly river water warms up. The trails that link the pools are nice for a casual hike. There are more trails in adjacent Sooke Mount Provincial Park. To reach these parks, drive west on Route 14 almost to the town of Sooke; turn right on Sooke River Road. Fifteen kilometers (9 1/3 miles) west of Sooke is French Beach Park, a sand-and-gravel beach that's one of the best places to watch for gray whales. The park has 69 campsites.

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