The only notable features and things to do in Parksville at the time were the adjacent goat-topped shop and a few rustic motels with cottages on the beach. Parksville was a small, lonely, small hamlet in Canada. Changing times indeed!
There are now many more enjoyable funs to do in Parksville and the nearby community of Qualicum Beach. British Columbia’s charming seaside villages have grown up. Parksville and nearby Parksville East are just seven miles apart and located on the east coast of Vancouver Island.
They are close to stunning beaches and many more things to in Parksville and are surrounded by natural scenery. We continue to visit them year after year to take pleasure in short vacations in the late spring or the summer. Because we reside in Victoria, which is a little less than two hours away, it is convenient for us to attend.
We recommend that anybody making a road trip around Vancouver Island spend at least one night at either you can do to do in Parksville or Queen Charlotte. You won’t regret it! Let’s begin with the town of Parksville, which is especially famous for the expansive sandy beaches that it has to offer.
It is home to more than 13,000 people. It makes for a beautiful vacation destination for anybody who wants to enjoy beaches, wildlife, Vancouver Island, and exciting activities for the whole family.
1. Making Your Trip to Parksville Memorable
1.1. Rathtrevor Beach
This is particularly true at Rathtrevor Beach, a length of shoreline extending for three miles and is well-known for having warm shallow seas. The water retreats more than half a mile as the tide goes out, leaving behind sunbaked sand and warm tidal pools.
This beach in Parksville is considered one of the greatest in all of Canada and unquestionably considered one of the best beaches in British Columbia. In addition, it maintains a powerful allure for vacations with the family in British Columbia (and adult getaways too).
1.2. Soothe Your Body at The Grotto Spa
Adults may look forward to a pampering experience of a higher caliber at the Tigh-Na-Mara Grotto Spa.
The enormous warm mineral pool is constructed like a natural stone cave, although it has a high ceiling and windows instead of being completely enclosed. It is only natural that you would be interested in checking out this grotto spa if you are searching for a spa in the Parksville area to enjoy some “me” time.
After spending some time in the Tigh-Na-Mara treatment pool until we were as relaxed as milk, we changed into our white bathrobes and made our way to the more intimate Treetop Tapas restaurant on the second floor.
1.3. Tapas In Your Bathrobe!
The Treetop Tapas & Grill restaurant is the only one of its sorts in all of Canada, and it is designated just for patrons who have changed into their robes.
You may only eat there if you purchase the “Dip and Dine” package Tigh-Na-Mara offers. After lounging in the spa, taking a shower, and going straight to dinner while your hair is still damp and without any makeup, you will have a relaxing evening.
The menu is set and consists of a variety of around 16 tapas, all of which are created to order and are beautifully displayed and delivered one after the other.
We oohed and ached over the fresh crab flesh wrapped in zucchini slices and the duck with camembert polenta and mustard greens as we looked out the cedar-framed windows to the peaceful woodland beyond. Additionally, we do take orders for wine.
1.4. Parksville Boardwalk
No matter what time of day, a stroll down the boardwalk in Parksville is a beautiful way to spend some time.
Every person who comes to the region should walk down this 1,450-foot boardwalk at least once while they are there since it provides easy access to the beaches in the downtown area of Parksville.
1.5. Little Qualicum Cheese works
In addition to being one of the top things to do Parksville, a trip to the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, which can be found on the lovely Morningstar Farm, is also highly recommended.
Although the historic farm has “Qualicum,” also Qualicum falls provincial park, along with Macmillan provincial park in its name, it may be found in the Parksville neighborhood. Observe the cheesemakers as they craft handmade cheeses using milk from the farm’s dairy cows.
You may also sample well-known cheeses from Little Qualicum, including brie, feta, Swiss style raclette, blue, and other varieties. There is no charge for these samples. Because they are so mouthwatering, there is a good possibility that you will purchase anything.
1.6. Parksville Museum
The Parksville Museum is in Craig History Park and consists of eight heritage buildings (ranging from a log home built in 1885 to an old school). These buildings are used to store historical objects and preserve records.
In addition, the museum provides visitors with a glimpse into what life was like for the area’s first residents.
Attend the ever-popular Summer Friday Night Farmers Market hosted at the museum throughout July and August. Try freshly baked goods and fill up on locally grown fruits and vegetables. Take in some live music, as well as some of the other Parksville-based entertainment options.
1.7. Rathtrevor Provincial Park
It is the primary reason many families spend summer vacations and what to do in Parksville and Qualicum Beach. It is perhaps the most well-known of all the attractions that Parksville offers in also Rath Trevor beach provincial park. However, the beach is simply a single component of the larger Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park.
Within the park’s boundaries is a grassy area with shaded picnic tables. (You’ll need to carry your umbrella to the beach so that you may plant it in the sand and get some shade.)
In addition, the Rathtrevor beach provincial park has an old-growth forest that may be explored through a walking track about two miles long and goes in a circle around the Rathtrevor beach area. The park is a veritable rainbow of color when spring arrives, thanks to the wildflowers.
1.8. Central Vancouver Island Bird Trail
Prepare yourself for some bird watching by getting your binoculars ready! The Central Vancouver Island Bird Path passes through Parksville on the Pacific Flyway.
The region is home to about 250 different kinds of birds, some of which include owls, migratory swallows, shorebirds, and other waterbirds; there have even been sightings of Trumpeter Swans.
At the end of Shelly Road, you’ll discover the Englishman River Estuary, which has many observation sites and a few short walking routes. The Pacific Brant Sea Goose relies heavily on the estuary as a habitat.
1.9. Coombs Old Country Market
As well as the delicious goods that are sold inside, Coombs Old Country Market is famous for the unique goats that are mounted on its top. The first Norwegian owners of the house put a sod roof on it, following a custom common in their homeland.
Because people loved seeing the goats so much, they were one of the most popular attractions on Vancouver Island for more than three decades after they were first brought there to help keep the edible foliage under control.
The internal market has a wide variety of delectable delicacies and a comprehensive selection of specialized foods. Get yourself a Nanaimo bar or, in honor of the goats, a Billy Gruff Bomber, a confection with a caramel filling and bacon on top.
Both of these can be found in the bakery. Do you like the more classic pie? Take your selection! The distance from Parksville to the Coombs Old Country Market is less than 10 kilometers.
1.10. Bridge Regional Park
You will consider yourself very fortunate if, while visiting Top Bridge Regional Park, you stumble across an attraction well-known to the locals but passed over by many visitors who are content to spend their time at the beach instead.
You can feel the “wow factor” at every one of these stops: A suspension bridge across the potholes of the Englishman River on one side and flowing white water on the opposite side of the river.
At this well-known destination in the area, 3 parks (Top Bridge Community Park, Englishman River Regional Park, and City of Parksville Mountain Bike Park), as well as the Nature Trust of British Columbia Conservation Lands, come together to form a recreational area where a variety of activities can be enjoyed.
If you are interested in going on a trek, you may take the 10-kilometer Top Bridge Regional Trail that goes from the bridge to Rathtrevor Beach and back again.
Enjoy a nice swim in the river or one of the carved potholes. Relax in the sun, sunbathe, and have a picnic. From the rocks, you may cast a fishing line. Ride a mountain bike or ride on horseback to explore the trails.
1.11. Parksville Community Park
Facilities at Parksville Community Park include public washrooms, a picnic shelter, and a seaside gazebo. These facilities may accommodate practically any outdoor hobby or activity, making Parksville Community Park an ideal location.
The Lions Ventureland Playground and the barrier-free Splash Park provide a variety of activities for children to participate in. These activities include climbing structures, various slides, trampolines, a ZipKrooz, and a jungle gym.
Skateboarders and BMX riders may congregate in complete safety at the Skate Park. Beach volleyball courts are available for play whenever they are not utilized for regional or international tournaments.
Put on your game face and get ready to play some pickup lacrosse or street hockey in the hockey box. You may pitch, toss, or kick a ball on soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and other athletic playing areas.
Bring your tennis rackets, balls, and a pair of lucky horseshoes if you want to catch a few ringers. There is a large field where you can play frisbee or kite, and there is also a bay packed with sand where you can participate in water sports.
1.12. Beachfest Sand Sculpting Competition
When August rolls around, locals and visitors go to Parksville Bay for the annual family-friendly Beachfest, which takes on a carnival-like atmosphere from the middle of the month forward.
The highlight is the presentation of fantastical sand sculptures by competing artists worldwide. You won’t believe these masterpieces were created in the legally mandated 30 hours.
The World Championship of Sand Sculpting still recognizes this competition as the only one in Canada. Sculptors are motivated by the possibility of winning $5,000 and qualifying for the World Championships.
Visit the beach art exhibit, cast your ballot for the “People’s Choice Award,” then stick around for the after-party. In addition to the sand sculptures being illuminated at night during the grand finale weekend, Beachfest also features a free music series, street buskers, a public arts and crafts market, and more.
1.13. Enjoy Birdwatching
Over 150 different kinds of birds have been recorded in Parksville, from spotted sandpipers picking through seaweed to bald eagles and turkey vultures soaring above. Seaside Nature Park, located at the western end of Qualicum Beach, is another excellent area to see Brant geese and other migratory shorebirds, in addition to the beaches of Parksville.
You may learn more about the many bird species in the area by reading the explanation signs in the park’s pavilion.
For guaranteed bird watching, go to an estuary or marsh. Englishman River, French Creek, and Little Qualicum River are three of the eight “hot spots” between Parkville and Qualicum Beach. Estuaries are regions where rivers meet the ocean and have tides.
The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, Silver Meadows Farm’s parking lot, and Parksville Community Park are other great places to see birds.
Parksville-Qualicum Beach is the epicenter of the Vancouver Island Golf Trail, thanks to the seven courses located there. Every day of the week offers a new opportunity to tee it up on the golf courses here.
Eaglecrest, Pheasant Glen, Qualicum Beach Memorial, Fairwinds, Brigadoon, Morningstar, and Arrowsmith are just a few of the courses you’ll find if you drive west to east on Highway 19A, a golfer’s paradise with more than 100 holes and a wide variety of difficulties.
Whether you play on one of the seven golf courses or try your hand at all of them, you can be confident that you will enjoy a round in one of the most pleasant climates in Canada.
Morningstar Golf Course is the oldest and most prestigious 18-hole course in Parksville.
Morningstar, along with the adjacent Fairwinds and Pheasant Glen, is three of the eleven public Vancouver Island courses that have received a four or five-star rating from the Where-2-Golf directory. The Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course, with its nine holes, debuted in 1913 and is the fourth-oldest course in Canada.
1.15. Brant Wildlife Festival
Each April, the communities of Parksville-Qualicum Beach and Qualicum Beach spread out the welcome mat for a flock of feathery guests known as the Pacific Black Brant (aka “little sea geese”). During one of the longest bird migrations in the world, hundreds upon thousands of geese make their way to the area.
Brant geese are oblivious to all the commotion and have just one thing on their minds: eelgrass. Human admirers arrive with high-powered binoculars, spotting scopes, and camera lenses, but the geese are only concerned with one thing.
Before flying to the most northernly nesting area of any geese species, the Brant goose likes to stop in the lush beach and estuary habitats of eelgrass for a bite to eat.
The Nature Trust of British Columbia, together with the assistance of local organizers and volunteers, presents the Brant Wildlife Festival to honor this little bird that packs a powerful punch.
There are events during the festival suitable for people of all ages and interests, such as guided tours of the local fauna and rivers, nature camps, and art displays.
1.16 Dive into Water Adventures
How many kinds of water sports are there to choose from in Parksville? Let’s enumerate the many ways: Swimming, sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding.
If you want to go swimming or paddleboarding in Parksville, there is no need to travel great distances to do so. Children being closely watched may have a positive introduction to the water at Rathtrevor Beach, a very welcoming environment for them.
After a day of mountain biking or trekking, you may refresh yourself in one of the Englishman River’s many famous swimming places.
Parksville Bay is a popular destination for those who like skimboarding and stand-up paddleboarding. Rentals of various pieces of equipment are available from several outfitters in Parksville, making it possible for novices to try the activity.
When anglers want to fish for trout, they travel to the local rivers and lakes. The French Creek Marina, located four kilometers northwest of Parksville, is the location to go to if you want to fish in the ocean.
Next to the federal pier, where the ferry to Lasqueti Island departs, there is a public boat launch. If you cannot catch your seafood, you may visit the French Creek Seafood Retail Store to purchase halibut, salmon, cod, or shellfish.
1.17. Kids to the Amusement Parks
Parksville is a popular vacation destination, and its amusement parks are a great way to mix excitement and family bonding during your getaway. You may go swimming at the Paradise Mini Golf and Fun Park, located in the heart of Parksville.
If you’re looking for a good chuckle, give the water bumper car version a try. Paradise Mini Golf has two 18-hole courses that will keep you entertained for hours.
Camping in Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park puts you adjacent to Riptide Lagoon Adventure Park. Two beautifully constructed 18-hole courses make this a mini-paradise.
Golfer’s Riptide offers laser tag bumper vehicles that take the game to the next level. Do you feel like you haven’t used all your energy yet? The arcade has many more exciting attractions.
Fast Time Amusements, situated less than six kilometers from the center of town, is the place to go for high-speed fun. If you need a break in between races, you may try your hand at archery or axe throwing.
Parksville Community Park on Parksville Bay is the site of several yearly events, including the Canadian holiday of Canada Day, the Kitefest, Kidfest, and the Van Isle Exhibition & Shine vintage automobile show. Further, it inspires people from all over the globe to come to Volleybash and have a good time in the giant sandbox on the island.
Parksville has been the site of a significant international beach volleyball competition for over three decades. Over three days, over a hundred teams will compete against one another on hot sand spread over 32 courts and the central stage court at Volleybash. It’s a big celebration of the summer season.
You’ll fit right in as a spectator with your sun hat and Ray-Bans, with the songs blasting and the teams getting into the funky combination of fun and competitiveness. Put on some sunblock and bring a refreshing drink since it will be warm both on and off the court.
1.19. North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre
Animals and birds cannot be released back into the wildlife in the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, with others that will be released back into the wild (not available for viewing).
The Museum of Nature is a great place to learn about rescued animals like birds and bears via hands-on exhibits. Visit the Native Wildlife Garden to see various birds and pay close attention to the ponds that attract them.
The process of rehabilitating ill, wounded, or orphaned animals are both lengthy and expensive. A veterinarian heads up the rehabilitation center’s care team, including a modest number of paid employees, a few interns, and more than 80 volunteers.
To help support the center in Errington, just 5.5 km from Parksville, a portion of the proceeds from the gift shop’s sales are donated.
1.20. Paddle Spider Lake
Among all the places to go kayaking in Parksville, there are many to do in Parksville; our top recommendation is Spider Lake. Some of the reasons for this may be seen in the lake’s peculiar form. The seashore is complex and has hidden coves that are fun to discover.
Even better, Spider Lake is off-limits to motorized vessels so that you can enjoy your paddle tranquility. This unusual lake is located in the same-named provincial park as the nearby Horne Lake Caves.
Parksville, a small village on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, is a delight for those who like the outdoors and natural scenery. The tranquil atmosphere of Parksville, with its beautiful beaches and delicious local cuisine, will make you forget everything about your troubles.
There’s a lot of variety to choose from and many what to do in Parksville, which might be intimidating. We had such a good time in Parksville that we compiled a complete guide to all the city offers. All you have to do now is pack your bags and consult the guide to the top attractions in Parksville and the surrounding region to start planning your ideal vacation.