Stand-up Paddleboarding at Qualicum Beach, Photo Courtesy Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism
Best known for its miles of sandy beaches, there is in fact some 20 km (12 mi) of sandy ocean beach in the Qualicum Beach and Parksville area of Central Vancouver Island. The low tides and warm waters are ideal for paddling and beachcombing. When you want to be a little more active, there is plenty to choose from. Try diving. Local guides can outfit you and introduce you to the waters of the Northern Gulf Islands. You will find walls and passes festooned with congregations of anemones, large cloud sponges, and dwarf gorgonian corals. Horseback riding can be arranged in the backcountry. There is also golfing, hiking and fishing. If you like a little history, visit the Paleontology Museum which displays one of the most complete collections of Vancouver Island fossils and invites you to take a journey into the prehistoric past. Or, the Powerhouse Museum –you can test your own power on the Power Cycle and turn on the light. Visit Butterfly World in Coombs, wander through Milner Gardens, check out the birdlife at Hamilton Marsh, drop in at the Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery. There is so much to do in Qualicum Beach.
The term ‘Qualicum’ is derived from the word ‘Quallchum’, a Coast Salish term meaning ‘where the dog salmon run’. Qualicum Beach was officially incorporated as a village on May 5th, 1942 and received town status on January 7th, 1983. It is a popular retirement and golfing community and is growing as a tourist destination.