Canada's warmest shores

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of June 6-12, 1996
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Canada's warmest shores
Question: I'm heading to Vancouver Island in late July and I'm looking for outdoor activity ideas. Can you recommend anything in the Parksville area?

Kyle Johnson
Minnetonka, MN
[email protected],

Vancouver Island catches its warmth from Georgia Strait
Adventure Adviser: Considering its wide sandy beaches and the warm, off-shore waters of Georgia Strait, it's no big mystery why Parksville is a huge draw to sun- and water-seeking vacationers. In fact, this small town on the east coast of Vancouver Island lays claim to having "the warmest waters in Canada," not to mention easy access to an assortment of inland rivers, provincial parks, and great camping.

Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, about a mile and a half south of Parksville is the town's main attraction, with its great beach, wooded nature trails, and stellar bird-watching opportunities. If you plan on camping, get there early in the morning to stake out a site, or head west about eight miles along Highway 4 to Englishman River Falls or about 15 miles to Little Qualicum Falls, the next closest provincial parks, where--due to an obvious lack of water and beaches--campsites among the towering cedars aren't as hard to come by (C$9 per night).

If you can tear yourself away from the beach, spend an afternoon fishing the nearby trout-filled Englishman River in its namesake park. Freshwater swimmers have their pick of several waterfalls and crystal-clear--albeit, cold--swimming holes that are an easy walk from the parking area. Once you're there, you might as well keep driving farther inland to Little Qualicum Falls, where there's more of the same--waterfalls, short hiking trails, and campsites; still, it's definitely worth a look. Make your next stop Mount Arrowsmith, about an hour and a half from the east coast, where you can start the long, but relatively easy, seven-hour round-trip schlep from the Cameron Lake picnic site to the summit and back down again.

For more information, call the folks at the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce InfoCentre at 604-248-3613.

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