Parksville and Qualicum started out as an outpost in the late 1800’s, and didn’t really get noticed until a road was built to Nanaimo. Then the E and N railway made an extension to the area and then it started developing into a community quickly after that. It is hard for me to picture that because it looks like the sandy beach would bring tons of visitors and merchants from far, even in the 1800’s.
But it is here now, and the town certainly makes use of their pretty seashore to allure locals and visitors with events like Beachfest. Every year, you can find something exciting to do on the shore, or at Oceanside, as the locals call it.
Summer’s Highlight is the Parksville Sand Sculpting Competition
The Parksville Sand Sculpting Competiton has been running since 1982 and is actually done on a professional level. This event is done within a 24 hour period stretched over 3 days. I can’t even describe what works of art I have seen there before, let’s just say it something you’ll want to see yourself!
When it’s over, onlookers can view the sculptors for a nominal fee for a few weeks after the competiton is finished. You’ll probably want to bring your camera for that. This year, it takes place on July 13th and the gates open at 2.
Parksville’s Kite Festival is Fun for the Whole Family
The Kite Festival is also a great way to see art in motion. Now in its 8th year, it’s scheduled for July 20-21 and is supported by the Lion’s Club and is held at Goodwinds Community Park. Anyone can participate for fun or prizes, or just show up and sky gaze for a while, some of the kites look amazing, worthy of just hanging as a piece of colorful art when not whizzing through the air.
And on the subject of color splashing the sky, Quality Foods is putting on the fireworks display on Aug. 17, an exciting way to end the night. And don’t forget about Kidsfest the next day on the 18th. They’ve got Bobs and Lolo as the main feature and have many other activities, booths, games and fun for you and your young ones.
Enjoy Rathtrevor Beach for the Day or Stay Overnight
Parksville and Qualicum are very popular in the summer, so if you are planning to stay overnight whether it’s camping or a B & B, you must reserve something far in advance. Ditto for Rathtrevor Beach, I have tried to get in there a couple of times for camping with no luck. So I was content to just spend the day there and camp elsewhere, but one day I hope to go back for the full experience.
Rathtrevor is about 3km south of Parksville and is a lovely continuation of the beach, but has a totally different vibe. Here is a refuge from the busy crowds and activities from town, yet you don’t feel totally isolated like at some campgrounds. There is about 5.5 km of walking trails, and most of them are wheelchair accessible. Bird watching, bunny chasing, wildlife spying, and beachcombing all across 347 acres of protected wilderness is one way to enjoy the park at any time of the year, not just summer. It’s quite breathtaking in the fall, and a little less busy.
If you have come for the Sand Sculptures or the Kites, or any other of the events at Oceanside, it will be easy for you to start to want to explore the rest of the area. There is caving, hiking, anything water related, and loads of shopping in quaint little places. My kids and I have always loved going to the Little Qualicum Cheese Works, an actual interactive farm where you can have a tour and see the animals. Each step of cheese making is explored here and you can sample and buy the artisan cheese in their store. Another couple of names in the farm food department are Morningstar Farm and Moobery Wines.
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