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Parksville located on Vancouver Island is particularly a popular summer destination for families because of its beaches and warm waters. Below are the best things to do in Parksville and a recommendation on the best place to stay!
If you’re travelling from Vancouver catch a Horseshoe Bay bus from downtown Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal where you will ride the ferry to Nanaimo.
For ferry times and ticket information visit the BC Ferry website. If you are taking a car on the ferry you will need to reserve tickets.
The ferry ride is about 1 and half hours and they generally have a sailing once every couple of hours. Make sure to check the schedule to plan your trip beforehand.
You will need a car once you are on Vancouver Island as public transport is not as accessible as Vancouver.
Since we don’t own a car we rented one from Enterprise Nanaimo using carrentals.com for only about CAD 35 per day. Depending on the car rental company they may offer free pick up and drop off service to and from the ferry terminal.
Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort is well-known for its famous Grotto Spa named #1 spa in BC. The resort is unique with its rustic cottages, oceanview rooms, and spa bungalows located in a tranquil forest close to the ocean.
A rustic cottage with a wooden fireplace, plush bathrobes, and unexpected snow makes for a perfect WINTER cabin getaway!
Tigh-Na-Mara Resort is only a short half-hour drive from the Nanaimo ferry terminal on Vancouver Island.
Parking is complimentary and each cabin has a designated spot for your vehicle.
Book a stay at Tigh-Na-Mara on Agoda for the cheapest rates.
Staying at Tigh-Na-Mara Resort is enjoyable in every season of the year. We stayed in winter particularly to utilize the fireplace and for that cozy rustic cabin feel on a winter’s night!
In the summertime, there’s a great beach within walking distance from the resort that has the warmest ocean waters in Canada!
Englishman River Falls has two waterfalls: the Upper and the Lower. The Upper Falls is the BEST of the two and is not a long walk-in. It’s a raging unique waterfall cascading into a deep canyon!
When you arrive at the parking lot of Englishman River Falls you will see two signs: Upper Falls Trail and Lower Falls Trail. You can start on either trail as they will both eventually lead to the other.
It’s a 1.3km trail and an easy flat walk. Allow around an hour to spend here.
In summer, Cameron Lake is the perfect spot for a picnic and swim! It’s a beautiful lake with mountains as a backdrop!
Little Qualicum Falls is another gorgeous waterfall that is easy to get to. Take the trail to Lower Falls and this will do a loop of the Lower Falls and the Upper Falls.
It’s an easy 2km walk and will take you around an hour to complete.
Just a short drive from Tigh-Na-Mara Resort is Goats on the Roof at Coombs Old Country Market. It’s famous for the goats that roam around on the grass-topped roof of the market!
Coombs Old Country Market sells international foods, freshly baked goods, and unique toys, gifts, and games. Their freshly baked goods are delicious!
Not far from Goats on the Roof and Tigh-Na-Mara Resort is Little Qualicum Cheeseworks a cute little farm with an abundance of farm animals.
You can stroll around the farm and pet the goats, cows, rabbits, etc. Morningstar Farm opens from 9-6 pm daily. They have a self-guided tour you can take which is pretty interesting!
There is also a farm-gate store that has cheese tasting!
The Grotto Spa is rated number 1 spa in British Columbia for its beautiful blue-coloured pools, stunning waterfalls, and inside cave decor.
There are many spa packages you can choose from but I recommend the Soak, Sip, and Savour package!
The Soak, Sip and Savour package is an evening experience and starts with an hour of soaking in the Grotto Mineral Pools.
After an hour of relaxing and soaking in the pools, you will enjoy lounging in front of an electric fireplace, sipping on Chardonnay, and savouring a traditional charcuterie board featuring meats and cheeses (a vegetarian option is also available). The charcuterie board and beverage costs are included in the package.
Book a spa package in advance by either phone or on their website.
An experience at the Treetop Tapas and Grill is also included in some Grotto Spa Packages. Here you can dine on endless tapas in the comfort of your bathrobe and sandals, in fact, it’s compulsory! Visit the Grotto Spa website for more options for spa treatment packages!
Parksville is a great place for a mini-vacation as there isn’t a ton to do here. I hope the above things to do in Parksville are useful for when you’re planning your trip there!