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Parksville and Qualicum Beach - Canada’s Ocean Playground

A bird's eye view of Qualicum Beach
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At a good two hours drive from Victoria, Oceanside - as Parksville and Qualicum Beach on the east coast of Vancouver Island are often called by the locals - is the residence of choice for many retirees who like to enjoy the quiet and beauty of all that nature has to offer in this area. At the same time the area also gives them plenty of things to see, do and taste. The area is blessed with lots of sunshine which also definitely adds greatly to its appeal. For the same reasons, the area is also increasingly becoming quite a popular destination for visitors from around the world.


Top things to do in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region



Year round, Parksville’s and Qualicum’s stunning oceanscape and sandy beaches draw locals and visitors alike to its almost 500 meter long, wide boardwalk. Whether it’s to watch the thousands of migratory water fowl, feasting on the millions of Pacific Herring that come to spawn in the shallow waters in the spring, to enjoy a beautiful sunset on a sunny summer evening, or for a stroll after a delicious seafood dinner in one of the local restaurants, the boardwalk is one of the popular places to be in Parksville.


Parksville’s and Qualicum’s beaches are a great place to go if you like to laze around or play in the sand on the beach. The warm ocean water is great for swimming too.


  • Many festivals take place at the Parksville Community Beach;
  • Rathtrevor Beach is a provincial park with several resorts, a popular campground, trails and 5 kms of sandy beach;
  • Qualicum Beach is about 4 kms long and features a promenade with benches and cafes.


If you’re the kind of person that likes to catch and prepare your meal yourself, it’s useful to know that when the moon and earth align, the lowest tides of the year offer the best opportunity to forage for wild edible shellfish such as oysters and clams.

Outdoor activities in the Parksville, Qualicum Beach area

The area offers plenty of opportunities for adventure, such as hiking, mountain biking and kayaking or canoeing. Various parks are at an easy distance from Parksville and Qualicum Beach.


  • cathedral groveMacMillan Provincial Park, located at about 25 kms west of Qualicum Beach, is home to Cathedral Grove, a famous stand of ancient Douglas Fir. Some of these amazing giants are more than 800 years old, and 9 meters in circumference.
  • If you’re the adventurous type, and spelunking is your kind of thing, then the amazing Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park will not disappoint. Cave tours are available that will give you the experience of a life-time, with varying levels of difficulty.
  • A visit to Qualicum Beach without exploring Milner Gardens & Woodland is not complete. Beautiful gardens and woodlands surround an old heritage house, which has been visited by various members of the British royal family. Early May is the best time to visit, when the many rhododendrons put on their annual showy display.
  • englishman river fallsEnglishman River Falls features two stunning waterfalls, and hiking trails along the river and through old growth forest.
  • A lovely bike ride between Parksville and Qualicum Beach will take you along quiet residential and rural roads. Round trip is about 30 km.




Not surprisingly, Parksville and Qualicum Beach are a golfer’s paradise, and you’ll find there’s no shortage of spectacular scenery at the various golf courses in the area, such as


  • The century-old Qualicum Beach Memorial, the oldest golf course in Qualicum Beach;
  • Arrowsmith Golf Course, also in Qualicum Beach, is the newest and offers a challenge for players of all abilities on rolling and tree-lined terrain;
  • Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville offers a golf academy and hosts professional tournaments.




Qualicum Beach has many quaint stores, art galleries and boutiques. Whether you’re searching for the right gift for that special someone in your life, souvenirs, clothes, jewelry or art, you’ll find what you’re looking for.


Downtown Qualicum Beach is very pedestrian-friendly, with charming boutiques and specialty shops along pretty tree-lined streets, with lots to discover. Big boxes are banned in Qualicum Beach, which its residents proudly support, because it’s important to them to preserve the character of their town.


Parksville’s main shopping street is Craig Street. It’s where hundreds of people flock to for a good time with neighbours and friends, with food and live entertainment at the Summer by the Sea Street Market on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 pm, from July to early September.




The Parksville/Qualicum area is also a great base from where to do some sightseeing in the area.



The nearby village of Coombs has a lot of attractions worth spending a day on:


  • Butterfly World and Gardens;
  • the World Parrot Refuge with over 900 talking, squawking and screeching parrots;
  • Karma Coffee, where you can watch as coffee is expertly roasted while you’re sipping a freshly custom-brewed cup of specialty coffee;
  • A must-visit and a great place for lunch or to-die-for ice cream is the Old Country Market, famous for the goats grazing on its sod roof starting in the spring;
  • Injured eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, ravens and black bears are rehabilitated when possible at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. If they can’t be returned to the wild, they find a permanent home at the Centre.

Special events in Parksville and Qualicum Beach


Many festivals and events take place throughout the year, such as:


  • The Brant Wildlife Festival welcomes the Black Brant geese during their stop-over from their wintering areas in Mexico to the nesting grounds in Alaska. Special activities are organized in May, such as nature tours, marsh walks and an eagle release.
  • At the Parksville Beach Festival, in the Parksville Community Park, the Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition takes place every year in July. The Festival draws world class artists and thousands of visitors each year from around the world. Sculptures are on display until mid August.


There’s a wide variety of accommodations to choose from. In Parksville, many of the resorts are located along Resort Drive, overlooking Rathtrevor Beach. You’ll also find a choice of hotels and motels in central Parksville, located close to the beach. Qualicum Beach also has its share of resorts, hotels and motels, all conveniently located along the Beach.


As to dining options, well, the people in Parksville and Qualicum were drawn to this area because they love the good life. So it’s not surprising that there is a good variety of restaurants to choose from, whether you’re looking for casual or fine dining, seafood or pizza, Asian or Thai, Irish or French cuisine.
Oceanside has lots to offer and is sure to impress the most discerning traveler.


Qualicum Beachfront Live Webcam