This town of 9,000 (and about 50 km north of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island) is a popular summer resort, famous for its 4 km of white beaches, nearby Little Qualicum Falls, and its ferry to False Bay on Lasqueti Island.
The town has great views across the Strait of Georgia at Texada and Lasqueti islands, with the stunning snowcapped mountains of the mainland right behind (including Mount Garibaldi, which rises above Whistler).
There is lots to do around town, along the beaches, inland at Coombs, various outdoor regional parks, including Horne Lake which is famous for its fabulous caves. About a half-hour’s drive to the west is Cathedral Grove alongside Cameron Lake, with its stunning Old Growth Forests.
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 through Qualicum Beach all the way to Campbell River.
Qualicum Beach Attractions
Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery
12 km north on Hwy 19, the 1 block west on Fisheries Rd.
This fishery grows millions of chum, coho and chinook salmon, as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout. See holding ponds, incubation units and rearing channels. Watch the spawning salmon in the fall form the shoreline hiking trails. Open daily from dawn-dusk. Allow 30 minutes. Free admission.
Butterfly World & Gardens
1080 Winchester Rd, Coombs, BC V0R 1M0
See butterfly species from around the world, with hundreds of free-flying species as well as tropical birds in the specially constructed Tropical Garden.
Cathedral Grove Provincial Park
Highway 4 west (halfway between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni)
This day park is located at the top end of Cameron Lake, and has a a grove of 800 year old giant Douglas firs, which can be seen from the interpretive trail system, which lets visitors see blown-down trees to count the tree rings for themselves.
Good Earth Farm
5 km north on Hwy 19, west on Texadea Rd to Ganske Rd, the 2 blocks south
See a garden with seasonal floral displays and a pottery workshop & showroom with hand-made stoneware, porcelain and raku (a Japanese style of pottery)
Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park
3905 Horne Lake Caves Rd, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 2L7
This park features an extensive cave network, with two caves accessible to the public for self-exploration, with guided tours offered for the deeper caves (From 1 to 3 hours, equipment provided).
Horne Lake Regional Park
890, Horne Lake Caves Rd, Qualicum Beach, BC
The recently opened (in 2002) 270 acre waterfront park, beside the provincial park. Offers camping, boart launch ramps, sandy beaches, and picnic area. The park’s trails link up with the regional trail system running down the Big Qualicum River to the fish hatchery.
Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park
4001 Alberni Hwy, Qualicum Beach, BC B9K 1X7
Just off Highway 4, where Cameron Lake empties into the Little Cameron River over a series of waterfalls. The trails from here connect to Mt Arrowsmith via Cameron Lake.
Milner Gardens & Woodland
2179 West Island Highway, Qualicum beach, V9K 1G1
(On Old Highway 19A)
This 10 acre garden, is contained within a 70 acre old-growth forest, showcases plants picked by the original owner, Mrs Veronica Milner, on her world wide travels. The 1930s era home has hosted the Queen and many members of the royal family. Open 7 days a week from Mothers Day to Labour Day. Admission $10.
Mt Arrowmith Massif Regional Park
Pass Main, Errington
The trails in this park follow and old logging railway through a series of climatic zones, each with different vegetation and forest cover, right up to high alpine meadows, with great views of the Strait of Georgia and the Oceanside region. The trail system connects to Cameron lake, and can take about 6-7 hours for the round trip.
North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre
1240 Leffler Rd, Errington, BC V0R 1V0
This centre helps injured wild animals recover, and hosts eagles, bears, owls hawks and more. There is a museum and nature walk to introduce visitors to the region’s wildlife. Open April to October
Qualicum Beach & Errington Farmers Markets
Qualicum Beach: 250-752-2857
Shop for the region’s freshest produce in season May – September Saturdays 9 am to 12 noon.
Spider Lake Park
Hwy 19, Nanaimo C, BC
(Just off the Horne Lake Road)
This is a smaller day-use park with fishing (its stocked with small mouthed bass and trout), a sandy beach ideal for kayaks and canoes. No motorized craft allowed on this lake.