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Get off the beaten path and uncover these five hidden gems and local favourites on your next visit to Parksville Qualicum Beach.
Whether it’s your first time visiting Vancouver Island or your fiftieth, there’s always something new to discover here. Do you think you will try all six of these hidden gems on your next visit to Parksville Qualicum Beach?
Locals love visiting this old-growth forest of Coastal Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Hemlock, Grand Fir, and Sitka Spruces, just five minutes from downtown Qualicum Beach. Walk the two kilometres of wide, flat paths and meander through 50 acres of forest dating back hundreds of years. Look for deer and many bird species, including Flycatchers and Warblers in the springtime. To protect the delicate ecosystem, always stay on the trail and keep pets leashed at all times.
Experience fresh, organic, and traditionally-made bread, sweets, and pizza at this incredible local bakery in Qualicum Beach. The owners at Wild Culture Artisan Bakery source grain from hand-picked organic suppliers and mill many grains on-site in a German stone mill! Stop by for a delicious treat and chat up the bakers to learn more about traditional fermentation and baking techniques.
“ Feel the sea anemones and other marine life with your hands in the touch tank and learn about marine conservation issues. ”
Visit a working research station designed with sustainability in mind at Vancouver Island University's Deep Bay Marine Field Station. This unique green facility and Science Center hosts a wide variety of activities, including tours, school groups, meetings, and weddings. Feel the sea anemones and other marine life with your hands in the touch tank and learn about marine conservation issues. Take in views of Baynes Sound or even attend a workshop or concert.
“ Birdwatchers and naturalists will appreciate the largest waterbird brood marsh on this part of Vancouver Island... ”
Two local fish hatcheries help to protect populations of Pacific salmon and serve as research facilities for scientists to further study salmon behaviour. Visit the Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery too see a topographical model of the project and watch fish at eye-level in the viewing area. Enjoy lunch in the picnic area and walk the nature trails. You may call ahead to book a guided tour of the Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery, while nearby Little Qualicum Fish Hatchery offers self-guided access. The best time of year to see salmon at both locations is from mid-September to mid-November.
Hamilton Marsh is located just a few minutes from Parksville Qualicum Beach. This beautiful wetland is 3 kilometres long and ½ a kilometre wide - the largest wetland between Nanaimo, Cumberland, and Port Alberni. Birdwatchers and naturalists will appreciate the largest waterbird brood marsh on this part of Vancouver Island and the surrounding woods that are home to many red and blue listed species. In addition to the over 130 species of birds recorded at Hamilton Marsh, it also has plenty of amphibians, fish, and many other critters. For directions and more information on Hamilton Marsh, click here.
For even more travel inspiration, request a copy of the Discovery Guide and start planning your visit to Parksville Qualicum Beach today.
Parks & Nature
Our unique geographical setting provides a wide range of parks, gardens, rivers, lakes, and trails where you can unplug and reconnect with nature. Within minutes of downtown, you can visit our parks to escape the everyday.Learn More
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Parksville Qualicum Beach
Deep Bay Marine Field Station, VIU
Vancouver Island Universities’ Deep Bay Marine Field Station is a shellfish research facility that is open to the public,...