The east coast of Vancouver Island, from Duncan to Comox, offers lots of opportunities for family adventure. See dinosaur bones, explore caves, snorkel with seals, go ziplining between trees or chill out at a sandy beach or a family-friendly resort.
Comox has a laidback vibe that woos visitors with beaches and swimming, fishing, ocean kayaking,... Read more hiking and biking. Explore the area’s many parks and trails including Strathcona Provincial Park, the oldest provincial park in BC. Stroll Fisherman’s Wharf (you can buy halibut and salmon right off the boats), check out the boutiques or take the family to the Comox Air Force Museum. Wind up at Goose Spit Regional Park — the tide at Saratoga and Miracles Beaches rolls out as far as the eye can sees. Explore the Comox Valley coastline by kayak or canoe - several local outfitters offer tours or self-guided experiences.
Hike, camp, canoe, rock climb, or watch for wildlife among this park’s lakes and peaks. Adjacent Mount Washington Alpine Resort offers lift-accessed hiking in summer, and downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, tubing and tobogganing in winter. For an easy day out, walk along the Centennial Trail; for a backcountry expedition, hike to Della Falls, one of Canada’s highest waterfalls. Camp at one of the park’s many drive-in or hike-in sites, or stay at Strathcona Park Lodge and hone your outdoor skills at the lodge’s renowned Outdoor Education Centre.
Courtenay’s low-rise buildings, flower-filled streets and genuine friendliness make it... Read more feel more like a small village. There’s a lot for families to do from hiking and biking, to fossil hunting. Safe stretches of sandy beaches are perfect for exploring shallow tidal pools or building sandcastles in between dips in the ocean. In downtown Courtenay, check out the Elasmosaur skeleton at the Museum and Palaeontology Centre. Explore Miracle Beach Provincial Park and stop for ice-cream, play a round of mini-golf, or go go-carting while in the area, or take the whole family for a hike at nearby Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
Duncan is the unofficial capital of the Cowichan Valley. Dubbed the "City of Totems",... Read more there are more than 80 carvings located throughout town. Explore trestle bridges, trains and timber at the BC Forest Discovery Centre. Ride a train, check out an impressive collection of locomotives and see what life was like in a logging camp in the 1930s. More than 100 independent boutiques, galleries, book stores, restaurants and a handful of funky coffeeshops make downtown Duncan a lively spot. The Riverwalk Café, part of Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre, offers an opportunity to try traditional Aboriginal fare.
In winter, Mount Washington receives a lege...
Head to the historic seaside city of Nanaimo -- the ferry from Vancouver brings you right here.... Read more Visit the Nanaimo Museum for an overview of local history, and then stroll to the waterfront for a cannon-firing demonstration at the Bastion, a 160-year-old fortress. For an energetic day out, tackle the aerial adventure course at WildPlay Element Parks, where ziplines, bridges and rope swings are suspended high in the trees. In summer, hop the Nanaimo Harbour Ferry for a day of biking, hiking and beachcombing on Newcastle Island, a car-free island in the harbour.
Just north of Nanaimo is a long string of pristine beaches linking Parksville, Qualicum Beach... Read more and Nanoose Bay. With its wide sandy beach and warm water, Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park is a top spot for beachcombing with the family at Parksville. Drive to nearby Coombs to see the roof-top goats of the Old Country Market. Take the family sea kayaking in Nanoose Bay or go below in the Horne Lake Caves on a family spelunking tour. Resorts abound: Oceanside Village Resort and Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort are two family favourites.
In Qualicum Beach wander the charming pedestrian-friendly streets adorned with hanging flower... Read more baskets and streetside planters. You'll find boutiques, bookstores, antique shops, restaurants, outdoor cafés, and galleries. At the end of the day take the family for a relaxing walk along Qualicum’s postcard-perfect sandy beach. Just five minutes from downtown, visit the Heritage Forest of Qualicum Beach, 50 acres of rare old growth forest. At nearby Milner Gardens & Woodland follow winding paths through gardens of rhododendron, cyclamen and trilliums perched on a bluff overlooking the Strait of Georgia.
Element Activities include, Primal Swing, a super-speed 140 km/h pendulum from the trestle bridge, through the Nanaimo River Canyon.
Bungy Jump, a 150-foot p...
Enjoy the eight km Sea Walk a...
Scenery by land, air and sea: getting to Vancouver Island really is half the fun! BC... Read more Ferries has three routes that offer regular service between the mainland and Vancouver Island. These comfortable ferries also serve the Gulf Islands. Travelling car-free? Pacific Coach Lines offers downtown to downtown service. From Washington State, Black Ball Ferries, Washington State Ferries, and the Victoria Clipper all sail to Victoria. Prefer to fly? Daily flights connect Vancouver, Seattle and Victoria, while frequent floatplane service links all three cities. You can even go by helicopter, with Helijet’s Vancouver to Victoria service.
The airport is situated approximately 25KM (15.5...
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