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Qualicum Beach is a town in Central Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Informally considered a twin city with neighbouring Parksville, it's a popular vacation area in summer with a number of provincial parks, warm beaches, family fun parks and charming downtown.


Map of Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach has a population of 9,000 (2016), and sits at the foot of Mount Arrowsmith, along the Strait of Georgia on Vancouver Island's eastern coast. Qualicum's natural environment and proximity to Victoria and Vancouver have made it a tourist destination, with rental cottages along its coast. It is also a retirement community, and has one of the oldest average populations in Canada.

  • 1 Qualicum Beach Visitor Centre (Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce), 2711 Island Hwy W (intersection of Highways 19A and 4), +1 250-752-9532, . April 1-Victoria Day long weekend: Tu-Sa 9AM-4PM; Victoria Day long weekend-Labour Day: Daily 9AM-5PM; Labour Day-Thanksgiving: M-Sa 9AM-4PM.


The name "Qualicum" comes from a Pentlatch language term that means "Where the dog salmon (chum salmon) run."

In May 1856, Hudson's Bay Company explorer Adam Grant Horne, with a group of Indigenous guides, found a land route across Vancouver Island from the Qualicum River to the Alberni Inlet.

In 1864, the botanist and explorer Robert Brown led the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition through the area. He found the area deserted as a result of the small pox epidemic of 1862. The first settlers arrived in the 1880s. A road was built from Nanaimo to Parksville in 1886 and extended to Qualicum in 1894. The E and N Railway reached Parksville in 1910 and Qualicum in 1914. H.E. Beasley, a railway official, sponsored the creation of the Merchants Trust and Trading Company which organized the original layout of the town and built the golf links and a hotel in 1913.

Qualicum Beach was incorporated as a village in 1942, and became a town status in 1983. The area is growing quickly with new housing subdivisions and a major new highway. It is a favoured retirement and golfing community.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Qualicum Beach is just off of the Island Highway (Highway 19), about 35 minutes north of Nanaimo, take exit 60. The nearest ferry terminal with connections to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland is in Nanaimo.

By bus[edit]

  • BC Transit. Route 91 Intercity provides service from Parksville and Nanaimo M-F 15 times a day, and Sa 12 times. $2.50 cash fare, children 5 and under free.

By plane[edit]

By train[edit]

Via Rail passenger rail service to Qualicum Beach ended in 2011.

Get around[edit]

  • BC Transit. Route 98 provides service around Qualicum Beach. $2.50 cash fare.


  • 1 ECHO Players Village Theatre, 110 2nd Ave W, +1 250-752-3522, . ECHO Players has been presenting live community theatre on the Village Theatre stage since 1975. They produce four Mainstage shows per season. They also host the Vancouver Island Juried One-Act Play festival every November.
  • 2 Milner Gardens, 2179 Island Hwy W, +1 250-752-8573, . A seaside garden, a 28-hectare site perched on the edge of an oceanside bluff overlooking the Strait of Georgia.
  • 3 Qualicum Beach Museum, 587 Beach Road, +1 250-752-5533, . Chronicles the history of Qualicum with a collection of objects displayed in period settings. The Museum features a grand mural by local artists depicting the early days of Qualicum which three walls of the second floor galleries. The museum also houses fossils primarily found in British Columbia, the collection was assembled and is curated in conjunction with the Vancouver Island Paleontology Museum Society.


View from Qualicum Beach
  • 1 Qualicum Beach, Island Hwy West (stretches from Crescent Rd to Memorial Ave (Hwy 4)). A long stretch of sand that is popular for walking, swimming, skimboarding, kayaking and stand-up paddle boards. A paved walking path beside the beach for much of its length provides some nice views. There are several free parking areas along the side of the Island Highway. Qualicum Beach (Q22634610) on Wikidata
  • 2 Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course, 469 Memorial Ave, +1 250-752-6312, . This public golf course was opened in 1913, making it the fourth oldest course in British Columbia. One of Canada's most scenic courses, offering breathtaking ocean views, it's open year round due to a mild climate and boasts excellent drainage.


  • Qualicum Beach Downtown (the Village). Wander the pedestrian-friendly streets in the Qualicum Beach downtown core exploring unique shops, bookstores, antique shops, restaurants, outdoor cafes, and galleries.


  • 1 Bistro 694, 694 Memorial Avenue, +1 250-752-0301. Th-Su 4-9PM.
  • 2 CView Restaurant & Lounge, 2690 Island Hwy W (at the Qualicum Beach Inn), +1 250-752-6914, .
  • 3 Giovanni's Ristorante, #4 180 West 2nd Ave, +1 250-752-6693, .
  • 4 Lefty’s Fresh Food Restaurants, 710 Memorial Ave (corner of Fern Rd & Memorial Ave), +1 250 752-7530. Su-Th 8AM-8PM, F Sa 8AM-9PM. Local chain (the other in Parksville) that does breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast options include pancakes, toast, granola and a variety of egg dishes. Lunch covers sandwiches, salads, burgers and pizza. Dinner options include pizza and a variety of meat, fish and pasta dishes. Portion sizes are good and both locations have small patios. $10-20 for breakfast and lunch, $15-25 for dinner.
  • 5 Shady Rest Pub & Restaurant, 3109 Island Hwy W, +1 250 752-9111. 11AM-9PM daily (restaurant), pub open until 11PM M-Sa and 10 PM Su. On the beach with a wrap-around patio. Sandwiches, burgers and pizza, with some fish, seafood and steak/rib options, too. Brunch is served on weekends from 11AM-2PM. $10-25.
  • 6 French Press Coffee Roasters, 692 Primrose St, +1 250-594-4477. M-Sa 8AM-4PM, Su 9AM-2PM. Coffee shop with sandwiches, all day breakfast and baked goods. Food is good quality and the breakfasts are particularly good value. Baked goods are freshly made in-house. Breakfast $7, sandwiches $11.50, teas and coffee $2.60-$5.



  • 1 At Nautica Tigh Bed and Breakfast, 2519 West Island Highway, +1 250-752-0084, . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10:30AM. Three-room bed and breakfast near Qualicum Beach. The Upper Deck Room looks out over the ocean and sleeps up to four. The Patio Room and Secret Garden Room are situated on the ground floor and have private patios. The Patio Room accommodates four and the Secret Garden Room accommodates two. All rooms come with a microwave, fridge, toaster oven, coffee maker and other kitchenware. $70-110.
  • 2 Buenavista by the Sea, 3285 West Island Highway, +1 250-752-6661, . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
  • 3 Casa Grande Inn, 3080 West Island Highway, +1 250-752-4400, toll-free: +1-888-720-2272, . 17 rooms with ocean view rooms and suites. Kitchens and kitchenettes available, wheelchair accessible, and an elevator for your convenience.
  • 4 Crown Mansion Boutique Hotel, 292 East Crescent Road, +1 250-752-5776, toll-free: +1-800-378-6811, . The Crown Mansion in Qualicum Beach offers luxurious accommodations within the fully renovated boutique hotel constructed in 1914. Off-season: $179-279; peak season: $209-299.
  • 5 Ocean Crest Motel, 3292 West Island Highway, +1 250-752-5518, toll-free: +1-888-234-5661, .
  • 6 Qualicum Beach Inn, 2690 West Island Highway, +1 250-752-6914, toll-free: +1-800-661-0199, .
  • 7 Sand Pebbles Inn, 2767 West Island Highway, +1 250-752-6974, toll-free: +1-877-556-2326. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. 21 rooms near Qualicum Beach Visitor Information Centre and is just 10 minutes from downtown Qualicum Beach.
  • 8 Seaview Beach Resort, 911 McFeely Dr, +1 250 752-6671, toll-free: +1-800-995-8285. Four cottages and two duplexes ranging from studio to three bedrooms. All units include BBQs and Wifi and most have full kitchens. Only the three bedroom duplexes have a full bathroom, the other units have (small) showers instead of baths. The setting is great with the complex on the ocean next to a pebble beach, fantastic views and very peaceful. $140-190 per night in high season (mid-Jun to mid-Sep), priority given to weekly bookings in summer.
  • 9 Shorewater Resort, 3295 West Island Highway, +1 250-752-6901, toll-free: +1-888-450-3811, . Self-contained apartments on the waterfront. Lower units on the beach are studio with one queen bed, a pull-out sofa and patio, upper beachfront units have a loft with an additional bed. All units come with kitchen and free Wifi. Common amenities include private beachfront, picnic area with BBQs, and coin-operated laundry. From $200 (peak season).


Go next[edit]

Routes through Qualicum Beach
TofinoCoombs  W BC-4.svg E  END
Campbell RiverLighthouse Country  N BC-19.svg S  ParksvilleNanaimo

This city travel guide to Qualicum Beach is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.