This town of 12,000 on the Strait of Georgia, about a half hour north of Nanaimo (40 km, via Island Highway #19), on Vancouver Island’s east coastline, has a 1.6 km long (mile long) sandy beach. The town is close to the Englishman and Little Qualicum rivers, with scenic waterfalls, and the area has many recreational lakes, trails and rivers.
There is an 8 km (5 mile) stretch of almost-white sand from Rathtrevor Bay (with its provincial park) north past the mouth of the Englishman River and around Parksville Bay, giving this area the feel of a Canadian Riviera. This town has 750 hotel rooms and 300 campsites.
Just to the south of Parksville is the scenic community of Nanoose Bay, accessible via NW Bay Road, which starts by the Parksville Visitor Centre (Island Highway at 19A, just south of town) and continues south and winds around, with little side streets leading to water’s edge.
To the west of Parksville is the market center of Coombs, best known for its “goats on a roof” Attraction which has gotten visitors to stop and gawk, and then shop at a variety of shops and restaurants ranging from “hippy” to high end crafts and sculpture. On the way to or from Coombs (via 4A) is the Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, with its waterfalling into a chasm, widening to a scenic gorge, surrounded by a variety of very tall trees, Large Leaf Maples, and low-lying ferns.
You can travel along the east coast of Vancouver Island on Highway 19A, the Oceanside Route, much more leisurely than Highway 19. This route extends from Parksville up to Qualicum Beach and continuing all the way to Campbell River. You can exit from highway 19 at Exit #46, about 20 minutes north of Parksville.
Parksville is also the starting point for the very scenic Highway 4, to MacMillan Provincial Park on Cameron Lake, Port Alberni, Sproat Lake, and form there on to Ucluelet, Pacific Rim National Park, and Tofino.
|Brant Wild life Festival
|Celebration of return migration of 20,000 Brant geese, with art, photography and festival 250-752-9171
|Oceanside Rhododendron Festival
|Wosops, displays and truss show, including private garden tours. Milner Gardens
|Coombs Rodeo Bull-a-Rama
|2 days of bull action, with BCBRA barrel racing, with a final on Sunday. BBQ dinner, dance and live entertainment. Coombs Rodeo Grounds 250-248-1009
|Swim , bike, and run in teams or individuals. This race is gear to first timers.
|Summer by the Sea
|July – Augest
|Every Tuesday from 6 pm to 9 pm, enjoy live entertainment as you shop in Parksville’s Craig Street stores and market..
|St Mark’s Fair
|St. Mark’s Fair is one of the Island’s oldest and largest markets with over 130 vendors selling quality local crafts, antiques, collectibles, rare and used books, jewellry and linens. The “New To You” womens’ clothing, and the flowers, jams and preserves at the “Country Market” attract many of the 10,000 visitors. The white elephant tables have something for everyone and the hamburgers are a gourmet delight. The hundreds of home baked pies go quickly, so be early! There’s entertainment, a petting zoo and face painting for all ages. The Fair is a partnership with St. Stephen’s Church and the Qualicum Beach Curling Club. All profits from the Fair are returned to the community through support for local Seniors’ homes and projects at our public schools. Fair Registration package will be available at the end of March. Since 1972.
|Western fun for everyone, with your favourite rodeo events, dances and more. Coombs Rodeo Grounds. 250-248-1009
|Parksville Beach Festival and Canadian Open Sandcastle Competition
|Sculptures from competition stay up until end of August. Family entertainment most evenings. Parksville Community Beach. 250-248-3613
|World Croquet Championship
|Coombs Country Bluegrass Festival
|Coonbs Rodeo Grounds 250-248-1009
|French Creek Fishing Festival
|Family event for all ages, including a kids dockside fishing derby. Daily fishing competitions for salmon and bottomfish. French Creek Marina
|Clowns, entertainment, face painting, storytellers for the family. Parksville Beach. 250-248-3252
|Largest beach volleyball competition in BC, with lots of prizes Amateur, Recreational and Pro events.
|Midsummer Nights Parade
|Downtown Coombs, starting at the Rodeo Grounds, with entertainment, contests and food for the family. 250-248-1009
Parksville Community Park
The park is bordered by Island Highway 19A to the south, by Corfield Street North and Surfside RV Resort to the east.
The waterfront Parksville Community Park with stunning Parksville Bay, is a gathering place and venue for community events and festivals as well as a variety of recreational facilities. Home to Lion’s Venture Playground and Waterpark, a curling rink, skateboard park, volleyball and tennis courts and a BMX track.
Craig Heritage Museum
1245 E Island Highway
Located adjacent to the Parksville Visitor Centre, this collection of historical buildings reflects pioneer life over a century ago. See a church, a log house, a fire station, a turn of the century schoolhouse and two post offices. Allow 30 minutes. Open June – Labour Day daily 9 am to 5 pm. Admission by donation.
Hilliers Rd S, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 2H9
Coombs Rd, via Highway 19 and 4
This is part of 100 acre (20,000 hectare) commercial forest land, and offers nature trails and bird watching during daylight hours. There are also nearby mini-golf courses and well-regarded spas adjacent the park. Hamilton Marsh (and surrounding wetlands) is the largest body of water in the French Creek Watershed on which thousands of residents rely. It’s the most prolific waterfowl brood marsh on this part of Vancouver Island and provides habitat for many species of wildlife.
Coombs Old Country Market (Goats on The Roof)
2326 Alberni Hwy, Coombs, BC V0R 1M0
Coombs Rd, via Highway 19 and 4A
See shops and restaurants, from very “hippy” to high end, with clothing, crafts, and sculpture.
Englishman River Falls Provincial Park
13 km southwest of Parksville, Near Erington
Take Errington Road off Highway 4, toward Port Alberni
This park has 2 spectacular waterfalls in the middle of the forest, with a crystal clear pool below the lower falls, perfect for swimming. In the fall, the parks is perfect for watching spawning salmon.
Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park
1240 Rath Rd, Parksville, BC V9P 2E2
3 km south of Parksville, at the mouth of the Englishman River
Take Exit #5 from Highway 19
This family-oriented park has nature displays, interpretive walks, sandy beaches with sandstone formations, and forested campsites. Rathtrevor has majestic old-growth woodland, beautiful ocean sunsets, and a wide, sandy beach with campsites nestled among the trees.
Tiger Lily Farm (permently closed 2020?)
1692 Errington Rd, Errington, BC V0R 1V0
Children will meet lambs, goats, chickens and be able to ride a pone or mike a goat in this fun, hands-on environment (note: it’s not about the Tiger Lilies). A greats top on teh way to/from Englishman Falls.
Top Bridge Regional Park
5 km up the Englishman River, on the Regional Trail
Popular park for mountain biking, popular with rider locally and from around the world, riding on purpose-built trails deep in the forest.