The beautiful beaches and tidal sand flats of Parksville await you
Bordered by ocean and sheltered by mountains, Parksville boasts one of the finest climates in Canada and is favoured as one of the most popular summer family vacations destinations of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. Mild winters allow the leisurely exploration of tidal sand flats, coastal wildlife viewing and invigorating golf year-round. Parksville was established in 1910, when the E & N Railroad first stopped at McBride Junction, as it was then known. The town was named in honour of Nelson Parks, its first settler and first postmaster.
Highway 19 (Island Highway) runs besides the open water of the Strait of Georgia on the east coast of Vancouver Island, from Parksville in the south through the Comox Valley and north to Campbell River. Take your time as you meander through this laid-back region. Its rhythms are subtle, but with gentle probing they reveal themselves, showing greater complexity than first meets the eye. Six B.C. provincial parks are located within thirty minutes drive from Parksville, providing every recreational activity imaginable.
Fishing and Forestry are the traditional mainstays of the local economy, although they have both been surpassed by Tourism during the last decade. There is no shortage of accommodations in Parksville... from quaint privately owned Bed and Breakfasts, to a wide range of inns and hotels, to the world class Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort, you are sure to find the perfect place to suit your own style and budget.
Like its close neighbour Qualicum Beach, Parksville is an enchanting seaside village that will capture your heart. Discover for yourself why so many people return again and again to this central Vancouver Island getaway. The central location of Parksville makes this Oceanside playground a convenient base from which to enjoy all your vacation activities on Vancouver Island.
Location: Parksville, is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 37 km (23 mi.) north of Nanaimo, on Highway 19 or 144 km (89 mi.) north of Victoria.
The Oceanside Route (Hwy 19A), is an especially scenic section of the Island Highway System that runs parallel to the Inland Island Highway (Hwy 19). The Oceanside Route follows the coastline from the Nanoose Bay area all the way to Campbell River. Enjoy the sights of Parksville and Qualicum Beach and the Lighthouse Country communities of Qualicum Bay, Bowser and Deep Bay. Follow the Oceanside Route through the charming communities of Fanny Bay, Buckley Bay, and Union Bay and continue north through Merville, Black Creek, and Oyster River to Campbell River. Parks, beaches, golf courses, and dozens of attractions are located along the Oceanside Route, making it one of the Islands most popular driving tours.
- Heritage buildings from the Parksville area can be viewed at Craig Heritage Park & Museum. Among them are the French Creek Post Office (1886), the Duncan McMillan log house (1885), and the Knox Heritage Church (1912).
- The Parksville Community Park is located on Corfield Road in scenic Parksville Bay and offers a variety of activities. The famous Lion's Venture Land playground is a must for younger members of the family to visit. Tennis courts, ball parks, a lacrosse box, skateboard park, covered picnic area, large field for kite flying, arena and a Community Hall are also located in the park. The beach itself offers a beautiful view as well as swimming and sandcastle building.
- St. Anne's Anglican Church is one of the oldest churches on Vancouver Island, built in 1894 by 45 farmers who used oxen to haul the logs. To find the church, turn left off the Island Highway onto Pym Road, right onto Humphrey Road and right onto Church Road.
- Arts and crafts abound in the area, which is home to painters, weavers, sculptors, carvers, glass blowers, and other artisans who welcome visitors to their studios. The Station Gallery at the Parksville Train Station features the work of the Arrowsmith Potters Guild, and the People's Gallery in downtown Parksville is home to exhibits presented by the Oceanside Community Arts Council. Pick up a brochure and map of the local galleries that are open to the public for tours and visits, available from the Visitor Info Centre.
- The annual Brant Wildlife Festival celebrates the migration of up to 20,000 Brant geese from Mexico to their Alaskan breeding grounds. The beaches around Parksville and neighbouring Qualicum have been the site of an annual migration of tens of thousands of brant geese since well before the settlement of the town. With the establishment of the Brant Goose Feeding Area by the Mid Island Wildlife Watch Society, the arrival of the geese has been the trigger for annual festivities in mid-April. By then, thousands of the black-hued, duck-size sea geese touch down on the beaches and marshlands surrounding Parksville and Qualicum to rest and feed on the algae, eel grasses, seaweeds, and especially herring roe. Most of the migrating birds are travelling from Mexico to the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta of western Alaska. Guided tours of the feeding areas take visitors to special viewing locations, or you can simply walk out on the beach with a pair of binoculars and stalk them (and the more than 200 other bird species passing through at the same time).
Sandcastle Competition on a Parksville Beach
- If you like the beach, you'll love Parksville. With its long sandy beaches and eastern exposure, this is an ideal spot to spend a few days, or the whole summer, basking in the sun and swimming in warm waters. Parksville's Community Park offers great lengths of public beach on the town shoreline. Pick a location that appeals to you, park in one of the many access points, and stroll out onto the hard-packed sand. When the tide goes out in Parksville, it leaves hundreds of metres of firm golden sand, internationally acclaimed as the best building material for sandcastles!
- Every spring, in late May or early June, the shores of Rhododendron Lake are lined with a stunning profusion of pink rhododendrons. Growing wild, these beautiful rhododendrons are believed by botanists to belong to a strain that survived the last Ice Age.
Access to Rhododendron Lake is by private logging road. Check for signs posted at the entrance to Northwest Bay Logging Division, approximately 7.2 km south of Parksville.
- Accessible shorelines and good weather entice windsurfers and kayakers. Local outfitters will provide you with everything you need, including lessons. The federal dock at French Creek on Hwy 19 north of Parksville is sheltered by a sturdy breakwater, a hint that conditions do get breezy here on occasion, most notably in winter months when winds blow from the southeast. When conditions are favourable, this is a good place to launch your kayak.
- Boat Launch sites in the area are located at Beachcomber Marina and Schooner Cove Resort in Nanoose Bay, and a public boat launch French is provided at French Creek Marina, on the Island Highway between Parksville and Qualicum Beach.
- Golf: Golfers can tee off on any of the 6 exceptional and scenic golf courses in the Parksville area. Located in the Parksville area are the Morningstar Golf Club and the Fairwinds Golf and Country Club in nearby Nanoose Bay. Kids and adults love the two fun-filled 18-hole mini-golf courses located near the beach.
- Mountain bike enthusiasts enjoy the challenging trails at the Hammerfest Race Course. Parksville is the site of one of the major mountain-bike competitions on Vancouver Island, the annual Hammerfest mountain bike race, held at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park each May. In addition to the difficult race course, the Arrowsmith Mountain Bike Club has created the Top Bridge Mountain Bike Park, where more moderate adventuring awaits. To find the park, turn west off Hwy 14 at the weigh scales at Kaye Road, then turn onto Chattell Road and follow it to its end, where the fun begins. Skateboarders can attempt the challenge of the new skateboard park, ranked among the best on the Island.