Parksville and Qualicum Beach are small neighbouring cities in Central Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It's a popular vacation area in summer with a number of provincial parks, warm beaches, family fun parks and Qualicum Beach's cute downtown.
Service sector and resource processing jobs make up the largest part of the Parksville economy. The three largest types of occupations in Parksville are the service industry; the construction industry; and the business, financial, and administration industries. These are the largest sectors of the city's economy largely due to the summer tourism industry, and a large influx of retirees moving into the area. There is also a fair amount of fishing and forestry in the surrounding areas of Parksville. There is an industrial park in the south-east section of the city, which includes many small tradesman shops.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to explore the area in 1791. In Spanish maps, the Englishman River is called "Rio de Grullas," (River of Cranes, i.e. herons) while French Creek is named "Punta de Leonardo."
The first European settler in the Parksville area was John Hirst, who pre-empted 120 hectares (300 acres) of land on both sides of the Englishman River in 1873. The River, as it was known, remained an outpost until the turn of the century when a road was built from Nanaimo.
A post office followed in 1877, with mail distributed from the cabin of Nelson Parks (to which Parksville owes its namesake). At that time, logging was a major industry and the extension of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo (E & N) Railway in 1901, to McBride Junction spurred Parksville’s growth and the beginning of a tourism boom, mainly Vancouver Islanders who travelled to Parksville to enjoy the beaches. Motels, stores, resorts and campgrounds soon followed.
Parksville-Qualicum Beach is located just off of the Island Highway (Highway 19), about 30 minutes north of Nanaimo. Exits 46 and 51 connect with Parksville and Exit 60 provides access to Qualicum Beach. The nearest ferry terminal with connections to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland is in Nanaimo.
- The 1 Parksville Bus Depot at 540 East Island Hwy, +1 250-248-5332, is served by Tofino Bus, which provides a daily connection to Nanaimo (including the ferry terminal), Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino. Service is up to three times a day during the summer and once or twice daily in winter. Adult fares range from $10 (to Coombs) to $40 (Tofino).
- BC Transit. Route 91 Intercity provides service from Nanaimo M-F 15 times a day, and Sa 12 times. $2.50 cash fare, children 5 and under free.
As late as 2011, Via Rail provided passenger rail service to Parksville. There has been talk of reintroducing rail service, but it is not available at this time.
BC Transit Route 88 provides service around Parksville, while Route 98 provides service around Qualicum Beach. $2.50 cash fare.
- 1 Little Qualicum Cheeseworks & MooBerry Winery (Morningstar Farm), 403 Lowrys Rd, ☏ . 9AM-5PM daily. Small working farm that produces and sells about 12 varieties of cheese. There’s a gift shop with samples so you can try before you buy. It also includes a tasting counter for the MooBerry Winery associated with the farm that makes blackberry wine. Visitors are free to walk around most of the buildings, take a look at the animals (cows, horses, rabbits, a donkey), watch the cows get milked, relax at the cafe or take a walk on the trail (about 30 minutes) that provides views of Mt. Arrowsmith. Free.
- Parksville Beach Festival, on the beach. 3 weeks in August. Annual sand sculpture contest and festivities.
- 1 Paradise Mini Golf and Fun Park, 375 Island Hwy W, Parksville, ☏ , toll-free: . Open early-Mar to mid-Oct. Summer hours: 9:30AM-10PM; spring and fall hours: 10AM-7/8PM. Popular family attraction with two attractive mini golf courses, bumper boats and a giant shoe that can't be missed from the highway. There's also a concession stand and gift shop. $8.75/$6.50 (adult/child) for one course, $11.60/$8.60 for both courses. Bumper boats are $6.75/$5.90 for five minutes, additional rides are $3.75 each. $15.75/$12.75 for both courses and one ride on the bumper boats.
- 2 Parksville Community Park & Beach, Island Hwy & Cornfield St N (access is from Cornfield St N). Large park with access to Parksville Beach and the 0.5 km boardwalk. Close to the beach is a kids playground and waterpark, as well as a skatepark. There are also sports fields and tennis courts.
- 3 Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, Island Hwy (19A) & Resort Drive, ☏ . Very popular park and beach. The sandy beach stretches for 2 km and the water is quite shallow so it tends to be warmer. There’s also hiking in the forest, campsites and the Rathtrevor Beach Nature House that has information displays, snacks, gift shop and special events during the summer. Day use is free.
- 4 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.
- 1 Lefty’s Fresh Food Restaurants, 101-280 East Island Hwy, Parksville (next to the Thrifty Foods), ☏ . Su-Th 8AM to 8PM, F-Sa 8AM to 9PM. Local chain (two locations) 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.
- 2 Qualicum Beach, 710 Memorial Ave (corner of Fern Rd & Memorial Ave), ☏ . Su-Th 8AM to 8PM, F-Sa 8AM to 9PM.
- 3 Shady Rest Pub & Restaurant, 3109 Island Hwy W, Qualicum Beach, ☏ . 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 11-2. $10-25.
- 4 French Press Coffee Roasters, 692 Primrose St, Qualicum Beach, ☏ . 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 Arbutus Grove Motel, 1182 East Island Highway, Parksville, ☏ , toll-free: . Old-style roadside motel that has been recently renovated. All rooms come with microwaves and fridges, high speed internet and LCD TVs, and some rooms have full kitchens. Reviewers indicate the rooms are a bit small but the motel is excellent value for what you get. $85-105 (high season), $60-95 at other times.
- 2 At Nautica Tigh Bed and Breakfast, 2519 West Island Highway, Qualicum Beach, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10:30AM. Three room bed and breakfast located 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.
- 3 Beach Acres Resort, 25-1051 Resort Dr, Parksville, ☏ , toll-free: . Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 4PM. Beautiful ocean front resort located next to famous Rathtrevor Park and a mile of warm sandy beach. Accommodations are 2 bedroom cottages or townhomes and duplex cottages 50 feet from the beach. All accommodations have full kitchens, fireplaces and ground level access. Plenty of parking and space for the children to room. 7 golf courses nearby. $112-375.
- 4 The Beach Club Resort, 181 Beachside Dr, Parksville (close to Parksville Beach), ☏ , toll-free: . $269 and up during the summer.
- 5 Seaview Beach Resort, 911 McFeely Dr, Qualicum Beach, ☏ , toll-free: . 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. $90-155 per night in high season (mid June - mid Sept), priority given to weekly bookings in summer.
- 6 Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort, 1175 Resort Dr, Parksville, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10AM. Spread out in a studio, spacious 1, 2, or 3 bedroom suite, or waterfront villa. Rooms $119-139, Suites $179-439 CAD.
|Routes through Parksville Qualicum Beach|
|Tofino ← Coombs ←||W E||→ END|
|Campbell River ← Lighthouse Country ←||N S||→ Nanaimo → Vancouver / Victoria via|
|Parksville, British Columbia|