With over 7.5 km of sandy shoreline, a variety of golf courses, a mild year-round climate, a great selection of parks, trails galore, an abundance of wildlife, and superb shopping opportunities on every street corner... Parksville and Oceanside has it all!
Browse around some of the highlights of Oceanside. When you're done, head on over to the Online Business Directory for full contact information and to find even more fun and interesting things to do in and around Parksville.
Art Galleries Art Galleries
This area is home to potters and painters, weavers and sculptors, carvers, glass blowers and many other artisans who welcome visitors to their studios. Organizations such as Oceanside Community Arts Council and Arrowsmith Potters Guild promote arts and culture in the community, and there's almost always an exhibition to enjoy at one of our local galleries.
You'll find these art galleries and more listed in the Arts and Culture category of our Business Directory.
Coombs Village and the Famous Goats on the Roof
Coombs Village is dotted with several heritage buildings, unique galleries as well as numerous gift shops and craft outlets, many of which are open year round. There is also a mini golf, and, of course, the goats on the roof at The Coombs Old Country Market. (Yes, the goats are really are on the roof. Well, where else would you put them?)
Coombs Village is located approximately 15 minutes west of Parksville on the Alberni Highway, right on the way to Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park and McMillan Provincial Park (Cathedral Grove).
Festivals and Events Year Round Special Events
Parksville Beach Festival: International sand sculptors work their magic, turning giant piles of sand into unbelievable works of art! Over 60,000 visitors are drawn to the Parksville beaches during the five week festival, to see these spectacular creations and vote for their favourites! Admission is by donation.
Brant Wildlife Festival: The festival started because of a small goose called the Black Brant which migrates from California and Mexico to Alaska and stops off in Parksville/Qualicum Beach to rest and feed. As many as 20,000 Brant may be found along the shore at peak times at the end of March. Each year the festival shares this story through a variety of events. Wildlife viewing, ecotours, marsh walks, speaker series, an art exhibition and children's concert are some of the many activities that run from early March to the end of April.
The Rotary Club of Parksville's Canada Day celebrations promise to be the best ever with a full day of entertainment that delivers something for everyone. Make sure you mark it on your calendar and come and wave the flag with us! It'll be a full day of fun for the whole family, from the morning's parade to the fireworks at dusk, and a full day of music in the Community Park, highlighted by Canadian Rock and Roll legends "Trooper" and featuring the best local and Vancouver Island musical acts.
These are just some of the many festivals that take place during the year.For up-to-date information, check out the Community Calendar of Events.
Fishing & Boating Saltwater Fishing and Boat Launch Areas
Beachcomber Marina - 1600 Byrnmarl Road. Nanoose Bay. Offers 16-foot boats for rent. Daily moorage is offered subject to availability. 1.250.468.7222.
French Creek Marina - a public boat launch located on Highway 19A at Lee Road. Facilities include charters, tackle shop, fresh seafood store, marine sales, nearby camping and condo rentals, a sports centre and Morningstar golf course. French Creek Marina is also host of the French Creek Salmon Festival held each August. For details on the Marina Services, contact the French Creek Harbour Authority at 126.96.36.19951.
Schooner Cove Resort and Marina - 3521 Dolphin Drive, Nanoose Bay. Fairwinds Schooner Cove Marina is the place to moor your boat on an annual or seasonal basis or for those just visiting, on a daily basis. Amenities at the marina include: 30 & 50 amp power, tackle shop, convenience store, cafe, gas & diesel, beer & wine store, laundry, boat ramp, pub, pool, hot tub & showers. Docking is available for vessels up to 150 ft. Visitors should call on marine VHF channel 73 upon approach to the marina and you will be directed to a slip prior to registering. Advance Reservations are recommended, call 1.800.663.7060.
Deep Bay Marina - A private boat launch located on Burne Road in Deep Bay, Deep Bay Marina is a commercial harbour supplying berthage for both commercial and recreational vessels. Facilities include tackle shop, charters, licensed restaurant, tent & trailer camping. Contact the Harbour Authority at 1.250.757.9331.
You'll find contact information and links to all of these in the Marine Services section of our Business Directory.
Hockey and Skating Hockey and Skating at Oceanside Place
Oceanside Place features two NHL regulation size ice sheets named after two local ice skating legends and heroes, Howie Meeker and Victor Kraatz, a Leisure Ice sheet, multipurpose rooms, a meeting room, a concession, skate shop and the main offices for the Regional District of Nanaimo Recreation and Parks Department. The facility is attached to Wembley Mall, and has won two provincial awards since opening.
For further information visit the Oceanside Place website.
Local History Local History and Museums
Craig Heritage Park is located about 3 km south of Parksville on the Island Highway, right next to our Visitor Centre. Take a trip into yesteryear and see how our early settlers lived. On location are several local heritage buildings that you can tour. The Museum is open daily in the summer.
St. Anne's Anglican Church was built in 1894 by 45 farmers with the aid of oxen to haul the logs, and is one of the oldest churches on Vancouver Island.
Local Parks Family Fun
The Lion's Ventureland Playground and Waterspray Park
Located right on the beach, with an endless shoreline, the Parksville Community Park is a dandy! Two ball fields and a lacrosse box are located at the entrance to the park, with public tennis courts, a curling rink, seasonal concession stand, an awesome BMX/Skateboard Park, 2 conditioned beach volleyball areas, and an incredible children's playground with Vancouver Island's greatest Water Spray Park completing the entertainment spectrum.
Or, of course, you could just go to the beach.
Provincial Parks Natural Wonders
Our Provincial Parks are truly natural wonders. Whether for camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, hiking, from ocean to forest they're nature at its best.
Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park's high tide offers the warmest ocean swimming opportunities in Canada.
Englishman River Falls & Little Qualicum River Falls have gorgeous waterfalls, which have been featured in various television commercials and the family movie "Alaska".
MacMillan Provincial Park (Cathedral Grove) is the home of the "really big trees"! This 132 hectare grove of giant trees is the most accessible stand of giant Douglas-fir on Vancouver Island. Some of these giants have seen over 800 summers pass.
Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park will thrill you! Though there are two small caves you can explore on your own, a guided tour through part of the large chambers will be more enlightening and a great introductory tour is available, as well as more adventurous ones.
Spider Lake Provincial Park is adjacent to Horne lake and is noted for its excellent canoeing, kayaking, swimming and fishing.
Rosewall Creek Provincial Park, located past Deep Bay, is a pocket-size park with an attractive wheelchair-accessible trail.
Regional Parks Mountains, Caves & More
Horne Lake Regional Park, featuring spectacular views of area mountains and cliffs, is a great place to spend the day and explore the world-renowned Horne Lake Caves next door.
Mount Arrowsmith Regional Park features the historic Arrowsmith Trail. The trail offers hikers the opportunity to climb through several forest zones and experience dramatic views of the Georgia Strait. The trail requires moderate level fitness as it climbs steadily to gain elevation to the 6,000 ft summit. Allow 6-7 hours for the round trip and take drinking water.
Top Bridge Regional Park is a fabulous day use park and is connected to Rathtrevor Provincial Park by the Top Bridge Trail, a 10km round trip which crosses both private and public land and is perfect for walking, riding or equestrian use.
Top Bridge Mountain Bike Park is the only park on Vancouver Island designated for mountain bikes. Its trails vary from intermediate to advanced and are maintained by a local mountain bike club, in conjunction with the City of Parksville.
For more information on these and other Regional Parks, go to RDN Nanaimo - Regional Parks
Swimming Spectacular Beaches
Rathtrevor Beach is a Parksville beach that is one of the province’s most popular family destinations, and home to the BC Provincial Park/campground of the same name. The park includes five kilometers of beachfront, and at low tide, the ocean recedes almost a kilometer from the shoreline.
Our beautiful expanse of beach in Parksville Bay was recently named one of Better Homes & Gardens' favourite family-friendly beach destinations. Summer water temperatures exceed 21 degrees celsius, as the tide washes in over the warm sand.
T he beaches found at our rivers and lakes are perfect for cooling off on a hot day or for a quiet hike. The crystal clear waters of Cameron Lake (Hwy. #4 - about ten minutes past Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park and on the road to Cathedral Grove) shouldn’t be missed. Forested slopes surround the lake, and the pea-gravel beach is a lovely spot to warm up after an afternoon dip.
Top Bridge at Englishman River is a local favourite, just a couple of minutes from downtown Parksville. Englishman River Falls Provincial Park has great swimming just a short hike down to the lower falls. The waters of Horne Lake make for a great place to go swimming, paddling, or just sunbathing.
Indoor Swimming at the Ravensong Aquatic Centre
If the ocean water is a little cool for you, take a dip at the Ravensong Aquatic Centre. The summer/fall of 2010 saw the facility undergoing major renovations and upgrades, and it features a 25-metre Olympic short course pool, a leisure pool and a whirlpool, as well as a Nordic dry sauna and a Finnish steam room. There are family change rooms, and a variety of programs including aqua-aerobics, senior swim, etc.
The Ravensong Aquatic Centre is located in Qualicum Beach, next to the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre.