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Tofino, Vancouver Island
(Sean Frenzl photo)

Trip Ideas

Vancouver Island Family Activities

The east coast of Vancouver Island, from Duncan to Comox, offers lots of opportunities for family adventure. See dinosaur bones, explore caves, snorkel with seals, go ziplining between trees or chill out at a sandy beach or a family-friendly resort.

Things to Do

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Comox

Comox has a laidback vibe that woos visitors with beaches and swimming, fishing, ocean kayaking,... Read more hiking and biking. Explore the area’s many parks and trails including Strathcona Provincial Park, the oldest provincial park in BC.  Stroll Fisherman’s Wharf (you can buy halibut and salmon right off the boats), check out the boutiques or take the family to the Comox Air Force Museum. Wind up at Goose Spit Regional Park — the tide at Saratoga and Miracles Beaches rolls out as far as the eye can sees.  Explore the Comox Valley coastline by kayak or canoe - several local outfitters offer tours or self-guided experiences.

(Destination British Columbia photo)

Strathcona Provincial Park

Strathcona Provincial Par is a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike, camp, canoe, rock climb, or watch for wildlife among the park’s lakes and peaks. Next to the park, Mount Washington Alpine Resort offers lift-accessed hiking in summer, and downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, tubing and tobogganing in winter. For an easy day out, walk along the Centennial Trail; for a backcountry expedition, hike to Della Falls, one of Canada’s highest waterfalls. Camp at one of the park’s many drive-in or hike-in sites, or stay at Strathcona Park Lodge and hone your outdoor skills at the lodge’s renowned Outdoor Education Centre.
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Courtenay

Courtenay’s low-rise buildings, flower-filled streets and genuine friendliness make it... Read more feel more like a small village. There’s a lot for families to do from hiking and biking, to fossil hunting. Safe stretches of sandy beaches are perfect for exploring shallow tidal pools or building sandcastles in between dips in the ocean.  In downtown Courtenay, check out the Elasmosaur skeleton at the Museum and Palaeontology Centre.  Explore Miracle Beach Provincial Park and stop for ice-cream, play a round of mini-golf, or go go-carting while in the area, or take the whole family for a hike at nearby Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

Courtenay and District Museum

Visit the Courtenay & District Museum. For over 45 years, we've been keen about the natural & cultural heritage of the breathtaking Comox Valley & we like to show it off. Are we serious about what we do? You bet - science, academic research, in...
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Duncan

Duncan is the unofficial capital of the Cowichan Valley. Dubbed the "City of Totems",... Read more there are more than 80 carvings located throughout town. Explore trestle bridges, trains and timber at the BC Forest Discovery Centre. Ride a train, check out an impressive collection of locomotives and see what life was like in a logging camp in the 1930s. More than 100 independent boutiques, galleries, book stores, restaurants and a handful of funky coffeeshops make downtown Duncan a lively spot. The Riverwalk Café, part of Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre, offers an opportunity to try traditional Aboriginal fare.

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park

You can experience the magic of the underground world by spelunking in the many caves protected within this unique park. Knowledgeable guides can lead visitors through the caves to discover this magical world of crystal formations & ancient fossil...
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Morningstar Farm

Morningstar Farm is home to Little Qualicum Cheeseworks & MooBerry Winery, where we produce a selection of world-class cheeses and award-winning fruit wines. Come visit us - take a look around, sample the different cheeses, taste the various win...
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Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Mount Washington is home to one of the most spectacular coastal alpine settings in North America, with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop on one side and scenic Strathcona Park bordering the other.

In winter, Mount Washington receives a lege...

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Nanaimo

Head to the historic seaside city of Nanaimo -- the ferry from Vancouver brings you right here.... Read more Visit the Nanaimo Museum for an overview of local history, and then stroll to the waterfront for a cannon-firing demonstration at the Bastion, a 160-year-old fortress. For an energetic day out, tackle the aerial adventure course at WildPlay Element Parks, where ziplines, bridges and rope swings are suspended high in the trees. In summer, hop the Nanaimo Harbour Ferry for a day of biking, hiking and beachcombing on Newcastle Island, a car-free island in the harbour.

Nanaimo Museum

Discover our fascinating history & modern day contributions to Canada's west coast in our 1,486 sq m (16,000 sq ft) museum located in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Stroll through time in our main gallery to get a sense of what life was l...
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Parksville

Just north of Nanaimo is a long string of pristine beaches linking Parksville, Qualicum Beach... Read more and Nanoose Bay. With its wide sandy beach and warm water, Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park is a top spot for beachcombing with the family at Parksville. Drive to nearby Coombs to see the roof-top goats of the Old Country Market. Take the family sea kayaking in Nanoose Bay or go below in the Horne Lake Caves on a family spelunking tour. Resorts abound: Oceanside Village Resort and Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort are two family favourites.

Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park

One of Vancouver Island's most popular family destinations offering over 2 km of sandy beach; 5 km of hiking trails; close to city amenities; group camping; day use area; drinking water; pit & flush toilets; showers; sani station; reservations acc...
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Qualicum Beach

In Qualicum Beach wander the charming pedestrian-friendly streets adorned with hanging flower... Read more baskets and streetside planters. You'll find boutiques, bookstores, antique shops, restaurants, outdoor cafés, and galleries.  At the end of the day take the family for a relaxing walk along Qualicum’s postcard-perfect sandy beach. Just five minutes from downtown, visit the Heritage Forest of Qualicum Beach, 50 acres of rare old growth forest. At nearby Milner Gardens & Woodland follow winding paths through gardens of rhododendron, cyclamen and trilliums perched on a bluff overlooking the Strait of Georgia.

Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort

Reconnect at Vancouver Island's natural choice for your next getaway, retreat or corporate event. Located in picturesque Parksville, BC, Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre provides rustic charm in the heart of nature. Experience...
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Offer

Wild Play Element Parks

Cool, challenging, fun (and sometimes freaky) aerial adventures and ziplines.

Element Activities include, Primal Swing, a super-speed 140 km/h pendulum from the trestle bridge, through the Nanaimo River Canyon.

Bungy Jump, a 150-foot p...

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Places to Eat

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Atlas Cafe

Lat: 49.6902128
Lon: -124.997543
Cafes
52 reviews
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Aurora Restaurant

Lat: 48.7463226
Lon: -123.2236023
Canadian (New)
1 reviews
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Lefty's Cafe

Lat: 49.31956
Lon: -124.3054
Caterers, Breakfast & Brunch
32 reviews
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Locals

Lat: 49.6843491
Lon: -124.9879379
Seafood, French
34 reviews
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Mon Petit Choux

Lat: 49.1658739
Lon: -123.9366739
Bakeries, French, Coffee & Tea
42 reviews
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Syrens Bistro

Lat: 48.7468451324572
Lon: -123.226893967922
Burgers, Pubs, Canadian (New)
5 reviews
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Dog House Family Restaurant

Lat: 48.7756729
Lon: -123.6989822
Fast Food
14 reviews
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The Orange Bridge

Lat: 49.3167114
Lon: -124.2874374
Cafes, Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt, Desserts
0 reviews
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Tina's Diner

Lat: 49.1662691
Lon: -123.9369706
Diners
9 reviews
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Trollers Fish & Chips

Lat: 49.16678
Lon: -123.93565
Seafood, Fish & Chips
26 reviews
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Places to Shop

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Places to Stay

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Coast Bastion

Overlooking Nanaimo Harbour, the Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo, is the premier hotel with facilities to suit all travellers. Enjoy the convenience of staying at one of the best downtown Nanaimo hotels & take in the beautiful ocean view from each ...
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Driftwood by the Sea Inn and RV Resort

Welcome! Our Resort is located on the beach, in Campbell River just five minutes to downtown. Quiet & adult oriented, our resort offers short & long term or holiday stays for our local & international guests.

Enjoy the eight km Sea Walk a...

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Holiday Inn Express & Suites Comox Valley

Leisure guests and corporate travelers love our value added amenities such as the complimentary express start hot breakfast buffet, indoor pool with water slide, spacious indoor hot tub and business centre; which are just a few highlights. Select ...
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Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre

Reconnect at Vancouver Island's natural choice for your next getaway, retreat or corporate event. Located in picturesque Parksville, BC, Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre provides rustic charm in the heart of nature. Experience...
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Getting Here and Around

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Getting to Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands

Scenery by land, air and sea: getting to Vancouver Island really is half the fun!  BC... Read more Ferries has three routes that offer regular service between the mainland and Vancouver Island. These comfortable ferries also serve the Gulf Islands.  Travelling car-free?  Pacific Coach Lines offers downtown to downtown service. From Washington State, Black Ball Ferries, Washington State Ferries, and the Victoria Clipper all sail to Victoria.  Prefer to fly?  Daily flights connect Vancouver, Seattle and Victoria, while frequent floatplane service links all three cities.  You can even go by helicopter, with Helijet’s Vancouver to Victoria service.

Victoria International Airport

Victoria International Airport (Airport Code: YYJ) is the 10 busiest airport in Canada with over 1.5 million passengers per year. Victoria is well served with more than 120 daily flights.

The airport is situated approximately 25KM (15.5...

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