Forgotten Places in my Backyard | Part 2
Parksville, a Vancouver Island Getaway
Every time I travel to Vancouver Island, I am amazed that you can go from the city to chill beachy town in roughly an hour and a half ferry ride. This time round, my family and I travelled on the Easter long-weekend to Parksville, a small community a half hour drive from Nanaimo. Parksville is a very quiet resort town, and people often miss it on their way to Tofino. It’s a shame really, because you don’t have to travel very far to walk along the beach.
One of the best places to stay in Parksville is Tigh-na-mara Seaside Spa & Resort. I have been here before when I was a kid. Although it has expanded and all the buildings have been renovated, it really hasn’t changed that much in nearly five years.
What will really captivate you when you stay here is the rustic and cozy cabins nestled in the forest, kind of like an enhanced campground. Except everyone has running water, heat, wifi, a kitchen, fireplace, bathroom and the comfiest beds. You only need to walk down the road to access the beach.
And… the resort also has a spa (Grotto Spa) located at the far side of the resort, across the main road. I haven’t experienced it for myself, but from researching the spa it looks breathtaking and an oasis of relaxation. It’s the perfect hideaway from the world!
The food at Tigh-na-mara is super delicious and more high-end than what you will find in the town of Parksville. However, that doesn’t mean local restaurants aren’t good - I was impressed by the casual restaurants. The food was just as good as the fancier restaurant at the hotel.
Here’s our restaurant rotation for the long weekend:
Breakfast and dinner at the Cedars Restaurant and Lounge at Tigh-na-mara. I had the best rack of lamb for dinner!
Breakfast at Lefty’s. Seriously the best coffee in town, had a least three large cups.
Dinner at Aïoli- I treated myself to the tastiest lobster mac n’ cheese. I enjoyed the perfect blend of creamy-ness, lobster, prawns and pasta!
Breakfast at Pacific Brimm Cafe for classic eggs Benedict.
This was definitely a relaxed holiday where we primarily explored the beach, the cabin, the hotel restaurant and those of the centre of Parksville. I had a pesky cold this weekend, so a slower pace was very welcome! The cabin was perfect for reading and watching a ton of Netflix.
But, don’t worry there’s so much to do in Parksville and its surroundings! Unless lounging is your thing you sloth, then disregard the list below. Otherwise, read on!
For the nature lover and fitness enthusiasts:
a) Go for a hike at the nearby Provincial Parks such as Quallicum Falls Provincial Park and/or Rathrevor Provincial Park.
b) Go kayaking and take a tour of the Strait of Georgia and small nearby islands!
For the treasure hunters and foodies:
a) Explore the cute nearby towns of Quallicum Beach and Coombs. Quallicum Beach is the quintessential beach town where nothing happens except more of the same, such as exploring the farmer’s market, galleries and boutiques. There’s also of course beautiful coastal views.
b) Coombs is a very small town outside of Parksville where the main attraction is the Old Country Market made famous by the alive, actual breathing goats on the roof strutting their stuff!
With my overview of two places in BC that don’t get much attention, I hope you take the opportunity to explore your backyard, wherever you are from! You may just love your home more and more!