Local Recreational Opportunities
Within the Qualicum Beach area you will find many opportunities to enjoy some of the world's most spectacular forest and marine environments. Hike an alpine trail leading up to the Mount Arrowsmith lookout. Follow gentle paths amongst 850 year-old Douglas Firs at MacMillan Park's Cathedral Grove. Walk sylvan trails through old growth forests alongside the cascading waterfalls of the Englishman River Falls Park and the Little Qualicum Falls Park.
Explore the depths of underground caves full of impressive crystalline formations and take advantage of basic or advanced instruction in rock-climbing and rappelling techniques. Hop a mini-ferry or charter your own sail or powerboat to picnic or swim on our off-shore islands. Ride on horseback through tall timber and along mountain streams. Catch your dinner of salmon or trout with a local fishing guide. Kayak the calm waters of Georgia Strait or nearby Horne, Spider or Cameron Lakes. Local companies offer kayak rentals, instruction and guided tours. Bring your bike or rent one here and tour the village, cruise the beachfront or, for extreme adventure, hit mountain or forest trails.
For a bird's-eye view of our Oceanside area, consider a "flightseeing" tour from the Qualicum Beach Airport. For 25 minutes or for as long as 2 hours you can soar like an eagle over towns, beaches, islands and mountains. Or, discover Qualicum First Nation culture: visit a traditional wood smoke house to choose your own piece of local salmon or admire Salish, Westcoast and Kwakiutl arts and crafts.
If diving is your passion, local guides can outfit you and introduce you to the waters of our Northern Gulf Islands. Here you can find walls and passes festooned with congregations of anemones, large cloud sponges and dwarf gorgonian corals. During the summer months off the southeast corner of Hornby Island the rare and elusive six-gill shark makes its appearance. In Nanaimo, just to the south and 22 fathoms underwater, lies HMCS Saskatchewan, British Columbia's newest artificial reef.
For serious ornithologists and amateur birders our area offers more than 250 species of birds who make their home in our coastal estuaries, woodlands and alpine meadows. Several local sanctuaries provide excellent opportunities for easy viewing, while hiking trails along streams and creeks and on the slopes of nearby Mount Arrowsmith beckon the more adventurous 'rambler'. Our two area fish hatcheries are favourite haunts of the popular bald eagle. On Big Day Birding, as part of our annual Brant Wildlife Festival in early April, teams from across British Columbia and beyond compete for the prize of seeing the most species. This year the top team observed no fewer than 109 species, with the highlight bird of the day, a Lapland Longspur, an exciting find.
Qualicum Beach is the perfect hub for day trips to more distant Island attractions. Less than a two hour drive away, Mount Washington is a magnet for skiers and snowboarders in winter and for summer visitors who love its spectacular ocean to alpine views. A day of whalewatching on the Island's West Coast is both affordable and easy to arrange through our Visitor InfoCentre. Alternatively, check out local tour operators and leave the planning and the driving to the experts