Day Tripper

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5 Fun things to do in Parksville-Qualicum

With so much to do and see, Parksville-Qualicum is the perfect day-trip destination. Here are only a few grand-parent and grand-kid-approved ideas.

Lighthouse Country Beaches.

North of Qualicum, the beaches become narrower, the stretches of sand replaced by sprawling beds of wave-washed rock. Turn over stones and watch the crabs scuttle away. And keep your eyes peeled, these northern beaches are prime for beachcombing.

Nile Creek Estuary, near Bowser offers great views of the Chrome Island lighthouse. Sea lions, seals, cruise ships and even the rare passing pod of killer whales are among the sights, and that makes binoculars and a digital camera essential.

Qualicum Beach.

Take a walk in the Heritage Forest of Qualicum Beach, 50 acres of rare remnant old growth forest—a mixture of Coastal Douglas fir, Western red cedar, hemlock, grand fir and Sitka spruce. Walk along the mulch trails and peer down a lush ravine into a salmon bearing stream. Only five minutes from downtown, the Qualicum Beach Heritage Forest is protected by a covenant to ensure that it remains as an ecological reserve, available to all for the purpose of observing and appreciating nature.

Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park.

Spectacular views await at this picturesque Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park filled with waterfalls, rock cliffs and trails. Located just off Highway 4 where Cameron Lake empties into the Little Qualicum River over a series of rushing waterfalls, this park offers plenty of activities, and makes a great base while visiting Cathedral Grove, Cameron Lake or accessing the Mt. Arrowsmith CPR regional trail.

Cathedral Grove-MacMillan Provincial Park.

Cathedral Grove-MacMillan Provincial Park is located at the top end of Cameron Lake, only minutes from Qualicum Beach and Parksville on Highway 4 just beyond Coombs. Cathedral Grove is a BC Provincial Park preserving a section of lush old-growth forest that is unique to Vancouver Island. Plan to spend a few hours wandering the trail system and gazing up at 800-year-old giant Douglas fir trees. Cathedral Grove gives visitors a sense of what Vancouver Island and the west coast looked like long ago.

Parksville & Rathtrevor Beaches.

Parksville Community Park is a kid’s wonderland of swings, slides and water cannons in addition to great picnicking and beachfront options. Stroll the waterfront boardwalk or the sandy stretch of seashore where you’ll all have more than enough room to run off some steam.

Rathtrevor Beach has long and wide tidal pools, making it ideal for the “puddle” jumping. At low tide, the ocean recedes almost a kilometer back from Rathtrevor’s shoreline.

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