Central Vancouver Island can be found on Vancouver Island, off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. With its beautiful beaches, this is the perfect destination for you if you love relaxing and spending your days at the beach. Fresh ocean breezes, beautiful blue skies, warm sand under your feet and the cool and pristine waters, what more can you ask for? Have a perfect get-away when you visit Central Vancouver Island.
Nanaimo, the second largest city on Vancouver Island, is one of the cities that attract most tourists. Being the third oldest city in British Columbia, it is a historic place where you can find the Nanaimo Museum which features Canada’s history. Galleries and exhibits about coal mining, coastal living and native arts and carvings will teach you a lot about Nanaimo’s history and are great reminders of the importance of such heritage. Well, if you want something historical aside from these museums and galleries, The Bastion is a perfect site for you to take a look around. Built in 1853 by the Hudson’s Bay Company as a sentinel over the harbor, this is one of the oldest of its kind in North America. With steep staircases, interesting artifacts and even canon firing, this will be a memorable and an educational stop. Though well-maintained and renovated, admission is by donation only.
You can also enjoy a nostalgic walk through the Old City Quarter where most historical buildings and architecture are located. Aside from its historical appeal, Nanaimo offers adventures to everyone such as Newcastle Island. This is a perfect destination for families who enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, canoeing and other activities. If you’re looking for a shopping spree, take a walk down Commercial Street; it offers nothing but the best. For a unique dining experience, why not try the two floating restaurants in the waters of the Nanaimo harbor: the Penny’s Palapa and Trollers. Or, if you want to bask in the beauty of Nanaimo while enjoying good food, ride a ferry and go to Dinghy Dock Pub.
For more fun under the sun, Parksville is another favorite tourist destination. Visitors are flocking to this area especially in summer. There are lots of activities you can enjoy and festivals you can join. The city hosts annual summer competitions on sand sculpting and kite-flying, really cool stuffs to witness. There are also different experiences worth trying like this Free Spirit Sphere that allows you to sleep in suspended pods that are attached to trees. Or the Landing Restaurant that takes pride in their 27,000 –liter aquarium that mesmerizes and gives the diners a totally unique experience. There are also galleries and studios that feature works of local artists such as the Gallery at the Parksville Train Station and the Oceanside Arts Council Gallery. You can enjoy everything without leaving the beach.
Another must-go is Qualicum Beach. Enjoy seawall walks, beachcombing and the friendly neighborhood in this seaside village. Stroll down the Seaside Promenade for spectacular views of the Strait of Georgia, a number of islands and the snowcapped tips of the Coastal mountains. Or you can have a look at the 28-hectare Milner Gardens and Woodlands. Feast your eyes on the collection of different flowers and trees that surround a well-preserved heritage manor. You can also take a long walk in the Heritage Forest that is, as the name implies, home to numerous old trees. Or if you want to learn about fishery, take the self-guided tour and trails that the Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery offers. For indoor activities, you can visit the Vancouver Island Paleontology Museum for a complete and detailed collection of Vancouver Island fossils or the Old School House Arts Centre which focuses on the art and culture of the area.
For whale watching, surfing and storm watching, why not visit Tofino. Being Canada’s surf capital, Tofino offers a number of beautiful beaches. With waves rolling in and constant water temperatures, these beaches allow surfing all year round. Chesterman Beach and Long Beach are the two most popular beaches in the area. For people who are still learning the art of surfing, Chesterman Beach is more preferable while Long Beach provides waves that are suited for more advanced levels of surfing. Cox Bay is another surfing beach you might want to consider. Another year round activity in Tofino is whale watching. The Pacific Rim Whale Festival officially opens the season every March and ends on October when the whales migrate to the Baja Peninsula. There are boats, services and tours offered to make the experience more enjoyable. Pacific Gray whales, Humpback whales and orcas are encountered. And when you are in Tofino, storms are fascinating sights. November up until March is the best time to witness perfect storms in the Pacific Ocean from Kwisitis Visitor Center located in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. This is one of the most exciting things to do while you are in the vicinity!