Guide to Wildlife Tours & Excursions

If you're looking to get up close and personal with some amazing wildlife, Parksville Qualicum Beach is the place to be.

A true nature-lover's paradise, the Parksville Qualicum Beach region offers unparalleled opportunities to witness incredible wildlife in their natural habitats. Get ready to be wowed by majestic whales, soaring birds, curious sea lions, and more on the fantastic tours, excursions and visits to wildlife centres covered in this guide.

Whale Watching

Few experiences compare to seeing whales in their natural habitat - and the Parksville Qualicum Beach area offers a front-row seat to these incredible creatures. Set sail on the Salish Sea for a whale watching tour you'll never forget.

  • Ocean EcoVentures With a focus on conservation, the tour at Ocean EcoVentures provides an educational experience, with knowledgeable guides pointing out killer whales, humpbacks, dolphins, and more during half-day, full-day, or sunset cruises.
  • Haida Gold Ocean Adventures For a more personalized adventure, book a private charter with Haida Gold Ocean Adventures and experience the thrill of sailing the Salish Sea, giving you an opportunity to encounter whales and other wildlife along the picturesque coastline.

Sea Lion Tour

Witness the incredible sight of herds of sea lions gathering along the coastline on a guided tour allowing you to view these boisterous marine mammals in their natural habitat from a safe distance.

  • Adventuress Sea KayakingFrom September-May, paddle along the seaside with Adventuress Sea Kayaking to see California Sea Lions. Time your visit for March to witness the sea lions at their most active as they feast on spawning herring.

Wildlife Centres

Learn about the region’s diverse wildlife by touring local wildlife centres and exploring interactive educational experiences during your visit.

  • North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre This rehabilitation facility has several engaging museums, immersive exhibits, and animal enclosures, inviting visitors to embark on an educational journey. Check their event calendar if you’re visiting in spring. Every year the centre celebrates the arrival of spring by releasing an eagle!
  • Deep Bay Marine Field StationOpen May - September, the Deep Bay Marine Field Station is a working research station with plenty to explore. Get up close to sea anemones and other marine life at the touch tanks, learn about marine conservation issues, and take in the breathtaking views of Baynes Sound.

Bird Watching

Discover the joys of bird watching in Parksville Qualicum Beach! Follow these bird watching tips and observe a wide array of species during a self-guided tour of the BC Bird Trail. Avid enthusiasts won't want to miss the annual Brant Wildlife Festival, a must-attend event celebrating the arrival of the Brant geese with special activities and exhibitions.

Forest Wildlife Hikes

Venture along the winding trails that weave through the region's lush parks for the chance to spot some wildlife while enjoying a hike. Keep your eyes peeled for birds flying overhead, fish swimming in the river, and other wildlife hiding in the trees.

Tide Pool Exploration

Uncover the hidden wonders that lie within the region's tide pools as the receding waters reveal intricate ecosystems teeming with life. Get up close and personal with vibrant sea anemones, scurrying crabs, and a kaleidoscope of tiny marine creatures as you explore these temporary aquatic worlds.

More Eco Adventures

For even more chances to see wildlife, visit during the herring and salmon spawning seasons to watch the fish gather in large numbers to lay their eggs. While herring spawn in March, different species of salmon spawn throughout the year, for more information visit our salmon spawning guide. If you prefer insects and are visiting from March to October, check out Butterfly World Coombs to see a variety of butterfly species up close.