Super Camping British Columbia
Super Camping British Columbia

Super Camping
British Columbia
GET - On Google Play

Travellers Know Before You Travel.  Province wide campfire bans in place - learn more.

Boardwalk in Parksville. Photo Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism

Sun, Sand & More in Parksville, British Columbia

By Sheliza Mitha

Our first introduction to the beachside hamlet of Parksville, British Columbia was its idyllic, vast expanse of sandy beach – complete with live music, soaring kites, food trucks and a dazzling sand sculpting competition. This is, for all intents and purposes, part of the town’s regular summer festivities.

Parksville’s Sandy Beach is Perfect For All | Photo: Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism

There’s a reason families across the Lower Mainland, across the country and – indeed – across the world flock to this city that sits on the east coast of Vancouver Island, about a 30-minute drive up island from Nanaimo.

Parksville Beach turns into a wonderland of sorts during the warm summer months. Live music wafts through the air while children fly kites, dig in the sand, rush into the soft waves and give up their screen time for the art of building sandcastles. And there’s plenty of inspiration for them.

Beyond the sandy shores and just a few feet from the entertaining musicians creating both rhythm and ambiance lays the impressive sand sculpting competition.  Considered the city’s best-known and most popular event, this international contest welcomes artists from across the globe and their breathtaking, Instagram-worthy sand sculptures. 

Awe-inspiring Sand Sculptures | Photo: Sheliza Mitha

The annual event is officially known as the Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition and runs from July 17 to August 20. Boasting a different theme each year, “Wonders of the World” is the focus in 2023. To watch these masters carving their sand sculptures visit when the actual competition is taking place July 14-16.

The year we visited, walking through this maze of sand art revealed details and intricacies one wouldn’t think possible using sand and water.  We saw gravity-defying sand statues of Jimi Hendrix, complex molecule links, a hungry lizard and fantastical sea creatures – among other show-stopping creations. 

Parksville Spray Park Promises a Good Time | Photo: Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism

Just beyond Parksville’s beach is its community park – where you’ll find an array of food trucks throughout the summer, along with plenty of picnicking spots, a water park and an adaptive playground for all ages and various abilities.

One of Many Food Trucks in Parksville | Photo: Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism

Our evenings were wholesomely spent playing rounds of air hockey and mini-golf with the kids at Paradise Adventure Park, enjoying some treats and attempting holes-in-one among the mini-mountains and rapids at the bright and colourful Riptide Lagoon Adventure Park… as well as simply indulging in some Island Farms ice cream while taking in the spectacular, multi-hued sunsets. 

Paradise Mini Golf & Fun Park | Photo: Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism

All this translates to a sort of ideal island getaway for children and their (sometimes) fatigued parents. 

Throughout our short visit in this international destination, we heard no fewer than a dozen or so languages spoken on the beach and around town – Cantonese, French, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Punjabi and Spanish… to name a few. 

Parksville’s popularity comes as no surprise when you consider the allure – a refreshing antidote to what may be a typical see-it-all, snap-it-all, do-it-all holiday that leaves you needing a holiday from the ambitious, exhausting one you just had.  Rather, this island escape leaves you with a grateful feeling of a true holiday – with plenty of surf and sand to keep the young and old happy as a clam.  Oh, Parksville has those too. 

TIP: If you find this blog interesting why not subscribe to the enewsletter and never miss another story!

Other blogs in this area Finding Summer at Stunning Saratoga Beach, BC and Nanaimo British Columbia Raises the Bar.

For accommodations in the area and elsewhere in British Columbia go to

Share your BC travel pictures using hashtag #Travelinbc

There’s always somewhere to #Travelinbc


Published: July 13, 2023
Last Updated: July 13, 2023


About the Author

Sheliza is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys blogging about her family’s adventures throughout British Columbia. For the latest on food and travel, connect with her on Twitter via @shelizawrites or visit her at


Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989