With Victoria's hip city vibes and Tofino’s rich surf culture, it is easy to overlook what the rest of Vancouver Islands rugged outdoors has to offer. Look no further, because we’ve put together a list of the top 5 provincial parks to visit in the Qualicum, Parksville, and Oceanside area.
#1 Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park
If Vancouver Island had a batman, here’s where you would find him. Well... Maybe not. He would probably choose somewhere a little less peaceful. But if you’re a family looking for an activity for all ages, a single ready to mingle type trying to spice up your very first tinder date, or just an outdoor adventure fiend, Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park is one of the best springtime adventure playgrounds you could ask for.
Camping in the midst of breathtaking mountaintop views, surrounded by thick woods is only half the story here. There are countless trails waiting for exploration with wildlife around every corner. The real magic begins with the caves themselves were home to some seriously ancient fossils and crystal formations.
These caves offer a range of easy to navigate self-guidable routes. But for those more adventurous souls looking to journey into the heart of it, you might want to opt for one of the expert tours and find yourself rappelling down a 70-foot tall waterfall.
#2 Englishman River Falls Provincial Park
When people come to Vancouver Island in search of some seriously amazing outdoor activities, Englishman River Falls makes the list. The park itself features two gorgeous waterfalls that bury themselves deep into a riverbed and canyon.
The Park is large and has a lot of ground to cover by foot including a multitude of viewpoints and hiking trails. Some of that ground and those trails also being part of Vancouver Islands famous old growth forests. Picturesque as it is, you just might find yourself dropping the camera to swan dive into the crystal clear pools that await you.
#3 Spider Lake Provincial Park
Sometimes what you need isn’t an adventure into the unknown. Sometimes what you need is a quality place to take your family for a light, friendly, nature set outing. When this is what you need, Spider Lake Provincial Park is where you want to go.
With its warm waters and many bays it is perfect for lakeside strolling as well as many water based activities. You can find yourself here picnicking, hiking, boating or just laying around on the main beach soaking up some of that spring and summer sun.
#4 Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park
Little Qualicum falls is known to be one of central Vancouver Island favorite outdoor destinations. It’s home to not only beautiful mountain views surrounded by thick forest but also a beautiful waterfall which buries itself in a lustrous gorge. The views are breathtaking and its rich aesthetic will stimulate your senses and give you your breath right back.
Perfect for families or anyone trying to get a dose of some of the freshest air Vancouver Island has to offer. The park has a handful of amenities, which are friendly to visitors of all ages including swimming areas, shaded trails, and picnic facilities.
If you are looking for a little more adventure then your casual hikes and picnic parties, you’ve still chosen the right place. Located close to Cameron Lake, adventure seekers can find themselves fishing, diving, and sailboarding.
#5 Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park
Last but not least, Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park is a must-see destination for anyone traveling to central Vancouver Island. Surrounded by giant old growth forest, white sand beaches and ocean sunsets make this park one of the most inviting outdoor adventures spots Coastal British Columbia has to offer.
Whether you are in for a day trip or you’ve booked a weekend camping getaway, you will leave this place feeling refreshed, enlightened and ready to bring home some of those coastal nature vibes.
The shallow waters warm quickly and when the tide gets low you can find yourself walking for over a kilometer to get down to the water, making your beachcombing self-reflective strolls an open-ended ticket to inner peace. And, if you find yourself there during the spring time you just might be sharing some of that inner peace with some of the infamous migrating birds which local the area.