Relax and recharge in one of Canada’s top beach holiday destinations. Choose from a wide variety of affordable, mid-priced and deluxe accommodations, some with luxury spas, others with kitchenette units within steps of the sand. Seaside and forest camping caters to families and those who enjoy singing campfire songs under the stars. Dine and shop in a town centre directly across the road from Parksville’s many waterside attractions, which include playgrounds, a spray park, oceanfront boardwalk, meditation labyrinth, and acres of kite-flying and sandcastle-construction zones. The latter two activities have their own annual summer festivals that attract thousands. Foodies with a nose for cheese and wine head for Morningstar Farm. Take the kids for mini-golf, bumper boat and bumper car adventures. Favourite water sports are backed with full-service rental and instruction options for kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders and skimboarders. In the spring, birdwatchers flock to the Brant Wildlife Festival.
Parksville Through the eyes of the travellers
Things to do in Parksville
- Perfect beaches make the Parksville area Canada’s capital for a year-round endless summer. The sheltered ocean water is warmed by sun-baked sand, and that results in some of the warmest ocean swimming on North America’s west coast. Favourite water sports include kayaking, wind-surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and skim boarding.
- Rathtrevor Beach Park is by far one of BC’s most popular parks for good reason. Its wide crescent of sand stretches over a kilometer out to sea at low tide and the shallow water is perfect for young families even at high tide. Book a campsite or visit as a daytripper to frolic in the water and hike through a lovely oceanfront forest.
- Another focus for family fun is the downtown oceanfront Community Park. It features an outdoor gym, lacrosse box, kite-flying field, picnic grounds, horseshoe pits, boardwalk, volleyball and tennis courts, concession stands, and the wonderful Lions’ Venture Playground and Waterpark.
- Kids of all ages never tire of Parksville’s imaginative mini-golf courses. Line up tricky putts in the shadow of fairytale castles and pirate ships.
- Marvel at the intricate works of art created by master artisans at the Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition & Exhibition, held each summer over a five-week period.
- ther popular local festivals and annual events include the Parksville Uncorked Wine & Food Festival (February), Hammerfest (a mountain bike race in March), the Brant Wildlife Festival (March/April), the Summer By the Sea Street Market (on Tuesday nights from mid-June to September), the International Kite Festival (July), Kidfest (August) and Volleybash (BC’s largest beach volleyball tournament in early September). The town’s Canada Day festivities feature a parade, concerts and fireworks.
- Dine at numerous eateries offering a full range of west coast, ethnic and takeaway options. Discover a secret hideaway pub built by renowned architect Samuel Maclure and an ocean-view restaurant that features a 27,000-litre aquarium filled with marine life. Shop for locally grown produce at the farmers’ market on summer Friday evenings at Craig Heritage Park.
- Art buffs check out the exquisite pottery at The Station Gallery at the Parksville train station, then embark on area roadtrips that include The MAC (McMillan Arts Centre) and numerous home studios.
- Step back in time at Craig Heritage Park, which includes a museum and a collection of relocated heritage buildings, including a log house, pioneer cottage and the region’s original post office.
- Mountain bikers of all skill levels challenge the well-groomed trails at Top Bridge Mountain Bike Park, an easy pedal from the cluster of oceanfront accommodations along Resort Drive.
- Top up the relaxation with a visit to one of Parksville’s spas. For high-end pampering, surrender in style at a Resort Drive getaway named the #1 spa in Western Canada by the experts at Spas of America.
- Families, foodies and locavores are invited to a cheesemaking facility and winery where once can sample award-winning cheese in the farm store and say hello to the critters on farm tours.