We were recently invited to explore the Parksville, BC area for a few days. Chrissy & I packed up our bags and headed over on BC Ferries! Our visit included meeting some friendly goats at a popular market, exploring the depths of Horne Lake caves, eating as much amazing food as we could fit in and soaking in rejuvenating mineral pools. Can’t wait to share this adventure with you!
About thirty minutes north of Nanaimo is Coombs, BC. Our first stop of the day was at the Old Country Market. What a surprise! This market is over 30 years old and is full of unique features such as goats on the roof, imported food from all over the globe, a fantastic Italian restaurant, a garden centre and great boutiques.
Our next stop was Morninstar Farm, home of Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and MooBerry Winery. This is a great agritourism destination in Parksville, where folks of all ages can enjoy farm tours, tractor rides, wine tasting (for those 19+, of course) and cheese sampling.
Little Qualicum Cheeseworks has recently been awarded a gold medal for their island brie cheese. We brought home a wheel of this delicious brie as well as a bottle of MooBerry blackberry wine – a great pairing!
We then headed up to Horne Lake to go caving! Horne Lake Caves offers tours for all ages and it was an amazing experience. I’m claustrophobic so I wasn’t sure this was something I would enjoy, but it was fascinating and not as small as I had imagined. We had a fantastic time – check out the video below to see some of our caving adventure.
Apres caving we were hungry from all that climbing and exploring! After a quick change of clothes at our hotel, we were treated to dinner at The Landing Grill located at Pacific Shores Resort & Spa in Nanoose Bay. First of all – look at this awesome restaurant! The huge aquariums are an impressive sight. We missed the fish feeding which happens daily at approximately 11AM – if you are in the area around this time, apparently this is quite a fun thing to watch. We hope to catch it next time!
Our dinner at The Landing Grill was excellent. We enjoyed smoked pork back ribs and filet mignon with Qualicum blue cheese gratin. Overlooking the ocean with great food, after a busy day of exploring, was pure bliss. Thank you to Oceanside Tourism Association for treating us!
That evening we relaxed at our hotel and walked along the Parksville beaches. Parksville beaches are so serene. They are vast, quiet and full of little critters. At all times of the year, regardless of the weather, the beaches are always full of families, couples and folks walking their dogs. The tides retreat quite a ways back during the day, so it’s a wonderful place to play in the sand. Sand dollars and shells, tiny crabs and lots of birds join you as you breathe in fresh ocean air.
The following day was that of complete relaxation. We were treated to the Dip & Dine package at Tigh-Na-Mara resort. This alone is worth the trip to Parksville!
This package first includes some time in the calming Grotto Mineral Pool. The Grotto Mineral Pool is soothing, quiet and absolutely fabulous. Sit under a waterfall, warm up in the hot tub and repeat. It is so rejuvenating.
When you are done in the pools, guests are asked to change into a warm and comfy spa robe and head upstairs to Treetop Tapas & Grill.
One word of advice: do NOT eat much before you visit for the Dip & Dine package! You are about to enjoy all you can eat exquisite tapas and you will literally be presented with all you can eat! We enjoyed delightful creations such as beef ramen; raclette & yukon potato croquettes; grilled flatbread with duck confit, goats cheese, hoisin caramelized onions; tiger prawn and coconut risotto with lemongrass and fresh snow peas – and so much more. We were able to squeeze in a tiny bit of dessert and oh WOW was it ever yummy! What an indulgent treat.
Parksville and surrounding areas are honestly one of my favourite places to relax. I love the beaches, I love the relaxed pace and the new places we discovered on this visit make it even more special. We hope to return really soon!
This is a great destination to visit for a girl’s getaway, a family vacation or a romantic rendezvous. There is something for everyone to thoroughly enjoy in this fantastic part of our province.