Parksville rests along the east coast shores of Vancouver Island and is centered over one of the shallowest reseeding sandy bays. The bay is prime beach combing terrain which offers a chance to look at the smaller sea life that makes their home in the pacific oceans around the island, such as; clams, small rock crabs, mussels, barnacles, starfish, sea anemones, fish, and their feathered predators; sea gulls, eagles, sandpipers, king fishers, great blue herons and the occasional otter or orca may pass by.
The city of Parksville is part of the “Oceanside Region” (including such recognizable communities as French Creek, Lighthouse Country, Nanoose Bay, Arrowsmith, Coombs, and Qualicum Beach, to the North). Behind Parksville rests the lower island’s highest point, Mount Arrowsmith which shelters the town from most cloudy weather.
Parkville has all the amenities for travelers on route and accommodations for those who want to time out and enjoy the shore side or forest walks. There are galleries, a theatre group and small shops in the village to entertain day trippers. Plus the nature parks, mini-golf and 28 local city parks make for great picnic spots and family activities.
Bring good walking shoes and hit the trails! Parks and old growth forests create the some of the world’s best wandering nature experiences which are frequented by locals and travelers alike. Maintained by the Nanaimo Parks office for the Regional Parks in the area, there are signs and directions to all these locations and more information is provided at the tourist information centers.
Plan for an afternoon of exploring waterfalls, caves, lakes, rivers and streams winding through untouched old growth Douglas fir and Spruce trees. Look way up, or take a blanket and just lay back to get the full perspective on the height of these enormous living beings. The sunrays, shadows, and green mossy limbs capture the magical spirit of these mystic ancient forests.
Do not be surprised if you find that you lose track of time and want to stay longer to enjoy the fresh air and intriguing natural settings. This lapsing of time to enjoy the outdoors and escape the big world is what has become known as “Island Time”. You may want to plan a few extra days around Parksville, the neighboring parks and communities.
Parksville is close to ferry terminals, island airports and highway access.
Highlights: Horne Lake ( 30 minutes away) – swimming & cave explorations / tours
Cathedral Grove, MacMillan Provincial Park – spell binding enormous old growth forest (1 hour approx.)
Rathtrevor Park, (20 minutes away) – great camp ground (unserviced) and forested river
Englishman River and Little Qualicum Falls – white water falls several feet high, picnics are great to bring along, trails great for all levels and families, pretty in winter too
Top Bridge Mountain Bike Park – just for mountain biking fanatics
The Qualicum Beach Fish Hatchery – year round education on natural and artificial production of salmon and steelhead trout (on Little Qualicum River) 40minutes away
Great Marina’s, launch or moor boats for fishing or charter
Golfing facilities are top notch (6 nearby)
Coomb’s market and its famous goats on the roof, ice cream and arts / fruit market (15 minutes away)
Artisan studios, roadside signs in blue with “A” (Artisan), indicate an open artist studio
Summertime (Aug late to early Sept) Sandcastle Competition is a phenomenal event of great sand sculpting talents, comparative to world ice sculpting events.
History: Various tribes of the Salish First Nations made the east coast of Vancouver Island their home. The abundant fishing and hunting grounds made for excellent year round sources of food. Families living in log houses were the only type of shelter or housing up until the late 1800’s when the settlers out of Europe began building small railway stations, trading posts and dividing land up for the building of towns.
In 1910 the E&N Railroad running up Vancouver Island named the stop, in this area on the east coast, McBride Junction. Later, in 1886 the town was renamed Parksville in honour of Nelson Parks, who was the first postmaster.
Climate: Summer average 19 degrees Celsius
Winter average 5 degrees Celsius
Vancouver Island, Mild – low rain / precipitation, mostly sunny year round (can be over cast), snow at higher elevations in the winter.
The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre cares for the well-being of Vancouver Island wildlife. Part of what we do is:
Rehabilitation of wildlife, educational programs, guided tours, opportunities to view wildlife, especially raptors and black bears.