Did you know that Parksville and Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada are the home to some of the island’s best wide open sprawling white sandy beaches thanks to the low tides.
The difference from the many other sandy beaches on the island is that both provide exceptional sightseeing walking paths and, some say, the best low tides in all of Canada.
We will go as far to say that the low tides in Parksville and Qualicum Beach create some of the best sandboxes your children will ever play in!
Sandboxes bring back so many fond memories of my brother and I playing in our man-made backyard sandbox in Duncan, BC. But, to be fair, it was nothing compared to the sandboxes created by Mother Nature in Parksville and Qualicum Beach.
Mother Nature provides some of the best sandbox toys for engaging children like tidal pools, sea shells and exposed marine life. She also brings the family unit closer together with picnic sites, building sand castles and swimming. Combine them all with a day of hot sun and your children are guaranteed an early bedtime.
For the adult the low tides provide endless hours of reading, sunbathing, relaxing and plenty of family quality time. In so many ways the sandy beaches of Qualicum Beach and Parksville are counselors for the family and babysitters for the young ones. Babysitters which educate and are free. The best kind!
In Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada the paved walking path measures 4+ kilometers long! It is level, easy-going and suitable for seniors, wheelchairs and baby strollers. Decorating the Qualicum Beach path are many sightseeing benches, picnic tables, grassy areas, accommodations, food vendors and a few firsts.
A first for us was the Beach Library. What you ask is a beach library?
Get this – as you walk along the pathway there are birdhouse-like structures on the path which house books for reading. It is a program called Beach Reads.
Many of us adults like a good book for reading while at the beach. With the Beach Reads Program you take a book and return it or you take a book and replace it with another. Love it! Not many honor systems left in the world so it was good to see one.
The waterfront pathway of Qualicum Beach meanders alongside the ocean coastline. The coastal highway meanders alongside the waterfront pathway. Angle parking alongside the highway enables easy access to the beach for all ages and fitness levels. Watch your speed in the area as there are many pedestrians crossing the road – crosswalk or not.
Another first for us in Qualicum Beach, BC was bumping into an electric car charging station overlooking the beach. We know that there are charging stations out there but it is the first one we have come across with beach views. How Canadian is that!
In Parksville, British Columbia the pathway is a combination of gravel, sand and pavement depending on what area of the beach you are exploring.
In Rathtrevor Provincial Park in Parksville, BC the pathway is mostly sand and gravel. It follows along the shoreline while weaving in and out of trees. The sandy beach in the park is – how should I say this – simply amazing!
There is a campground in the park as well. Many staying in the campground access the beach and pathway daily. The locals in Parksville also visit the park regularly. Many visit the park pathway for biking, jogging and walking.
In the Town of Parksville, British Columbia, Canada there is a very popular community beach park on the waterfront. The park includes a paved walkway and is home to volleyball courts, large grass lawns, a playground, picnic tables and endless metres of sandy beach. You can shop, sand and sleep without ever using your vehicle – everything is that close.
We ventured into the streets of downtown Parksville. We were drawn in by the sounds of music. It turns out there was a Farmer’s Market going on.
In the centre of the square there was a group of drummers playing some eclectic music. The crowd was captivated. We were captivated. The music was different and up beat.
The sound was new to our ears. We caught ourselves toe tapping and swaying to the music. Looking around us we were not the only ones swaying. Experiencing new music is a joy for both of us. We attribute it to increasing our cultural awareness. Eyes and ears always open to new sights and sounds.
The communities of Parksville and Qualicum Beach are virtually connected at the hip. It is only a 5-15 minute drive from one community to the other depending on how many stops you make along the route.
So when in Parksville visit Qualicum Beach and when in Qualicum Beach visit Parksville. Missing one without the other is only cheating your vacation experience.
Greg Girard is the Co Founder of the Canada eh Travel & Adventure Guide. For all your travel needs book, plan and research your Canadian vacations and adventures on https://www.ehcanadatravel.com/.