A Sweet Expedition

Go on a local “road trip” around Parksville Qualicum Beach to satisfy your sweet tooth

Road trips are fun, but most of the time they also bring to mind stressful packing and long days. Sometimes we just don’t have the time to invest in a week-long adventure. But have you ever gone on a local, themed “road trip”? It’s the perfect way to spend a day with friends or family without the stress of a classic trip. The various communities within Parksville Qualicum Beach provide the perfect opportunity for a scenic drive by ocean beaches, verdant forests and quaint communities.

As for the theme, it could be anything—from breweries to desserts or farm stands and patios. For a particularly “sweet” trip, gather the gang in the car and head to some of the many popular bakeries and treat shops and collect an assortment of indulgences to fuel your memories.

Begin in Qualicum Beach, where you can pop into two places with just one stop. Swell Sweets makes the perfect start, because nothing says indulgence like chocolate. They carry a variety of B.C.-made chocolate and other confections, including the famous Roger’s Chocolates from Victoria. Then just a few steps away, you’ll find Qualicum Beach Bakery and Cafe. Having recently changed ownership, the bakery offers European specialties as well as an ever-growing menu of Indian dishes and treats.

After this, drive six minutes to Wild Culture Artisan Bakery (only open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12pm to 5pm). They offer a variety of sweet baked delights—and if you want to keep from overdoing it purely on sweets, this would be a great place to try a savoury scone or a sausage roll. Especially because the next stop is a candy-lover’s paradise; Sweet Treats Candy Shop in Coombs has all your favourite candies, and hundreds of others you’ve likely never tried before. Pick up an assortment to go as you drive to your next destination, Trees Restaurant and Bakery in Errington. There’s a whole lot of sweet variety here—choose between brownies, pies, croissants, cinnamon buns, cupcakes, Nanaimo bars and so much more—including a wide selection of gluten-free options.

Fill your bellies and your bags, but leave room for more; next up is Sweet Spot Bake Shop in Parksville. This is a cookie-lover’s paradise, with melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter, shortbread, and stuffed cookie options. After this, it might feel good to stretch your legs and move a little, so consider walking to your next stop, less than a kilometer away—Brazen Poppy Bakery Cafe, where turnovers, muffins and cinnamon buns, and amazing poppy seed buns await you.

Finally, pile into the car one last time and continue your scenic journey to Nanoose Bay. Find The Pie Factory, and if your sweet tooth still demands it, take a fruit pie home to bake fresh. But just in case you’ve had your fill of sweets, the other reason to end your sweet trip here is because they also make a bunch of savoury pies perfect for dinner later—like roasted chicken, pork and mushroom, and spinach and feta.