Parksville occupies a prime slice of south-central Vancouver Island beachfront.
The town is a half-hour's drive north of Nanaimo, and 146km/91mi from Victoria, British Columbia's capital. Northwest across the Strait of Georgia is Gibsons, Sechelt and British Columbia's Sunshine Coast framed by the peaks of the coastal mountain range.
Drive to the top of Little Mountain in Errington to really get the lay of the land west of Parksville. The views from this rocky peak sweep across a forested valley towards Mount Arrowsmith and a series of smaller peaks in the Beaufort Range, a subsection of the rocky spine that runs the length of Vancouver Island.
At 1,817m/5,960ft, Arrowsmith is the highest peak on southern Vancouver Island. It's the crowning point of the Mount Arrowsmith UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – one of 13 such reserves in Canada and one of two west of the Rockies. (The other is Clayoquot Sound, directly across these mountains on Vancouver Island's west coast).
Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve
The largely forested Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve stretches for 793 sq km/306 sq mi down the steep mountainside to encompass the Englishman River, French Creek and Little Qualicum River watersheds. Both Parksville and its sister resort town of Qualicum Beach are also part of the reserve, as is 400sq km/154sq mi of ocean extending out into the Strait of Georgia.
Climate and Weather
The moderating influence of the ocean ensures a "just right" range of temperatures – neither too hot nor cold – for most of the year in Parksville. Daytime highs at the peak of summer rarely exceed 22°C/72°F, and that's even without a cloud in the sky on most days. Evening strolls on the beach can be a bit chilly once the sun sets, so pack an extra sweater or windbreaker.
The rains fall steadily from November to March, keeping the landscape green year-round and making resort accommodations all the more cozy.