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Beach fun in Parksville
Milner Gardens & Woodland in Qualicum Beach
Marinas at Nanoose Bay, French Creek, and Deep Bay
Comprised of 12 friendly and small communities, the Oceanside area stretches along the sheltered Strait of Georgia along Vancouver Island's eastern shore from Nanoose Bay in the south to Deep Bay in the north. Inland lies Horne Lake, the historic town of Coombs and Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve, a precious, UNESCO-designated ecosystem covering 800 square kilometers of untouched nature. And off-shore are Lasqueti, Sisters and Chrome Islands, a trio of funky, unpaved, off-the-grid getaways.

Most residents are based in the lively towns of Parksville and Qualicum Beach, both of which provide all the perks, conveniences and services of city living in crowd-free beachfront settings. The two centers are linked by a short drive on “the Oceanside route” along Highway 19A with the harbour community of French Creek in the middle. In fact, the entire Oceanside region can be crisscrossed quickly and easily as one moves from ocean to mountain, urban to rural. The advantage is that one can fill a day’s itinerary with more activities and less travel time.

Couples looking for a full day that satisfies both him and her might want to take the morning to tour artist studios in Bowser and Deep Bay (a.k.a. Lighthouse Country), then dedicate the afternoon to a round of golf at any one of the six courses in Nanoose Bay, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, and Lighthouse Country. Another option: an early a.m. stroll through the magical old-growth forest at Cathedral Grove followed a half-hour later by a brisk hike along Rathtrevor Beach – all accomplished in the time it takes many big-city commuters to drive to work. The bywords for visitors and residents alike: We’re living the good life, come out and play!
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