Exploring Parksville & Qualicum with a Toddler

The air is starting to feel cool, and I can see the rain clouds hovering today. As Fall approaches, I’m thinking back to our incredible summer filled with boating, swimming, and exploring. This summer, our family of three took a vacation to Parksville/Qualicum for 5 nights. Parksville is one of our favorite summer destinations. For a family of water babies, it’s the perfect get-away!

My husband and I had enjoyed a few summer vacations up island before Baby E was born. But this was our first time with Baby E! We stayed at the Sunrise Ridge Resort, which we really enjoyed. We had a nice 1-bedroom place with a pull-out couch, kitchen island, stove/dishwasher/microwave, patio, and BBQ! The resort has a pool, and a path down to the beach. It was a great home base for all of our adventures!

Seafood pasta at Coombs
Delicious seafood pasta at Cuckoo in Coombs.

Parksville and Qualicum have so many activities that you can do with your family – especially in the summer time! If you are vacationing in Parksville with toddlers, here are a few of the activities we would recommend:

  • Coombs: this is one of our very favorite places to visit. There is just a certain charm to this place that we can’t resist! We actually went there twice in the 6 days we were away! We always enjoy the market – the fun spices and sauces, the delicious baked goods, and the incredible wooden toys for children! The ice cream stand is one of our favorites, and now one of Baby E’s too. I have never seen so many flavours (55!!), and the prices are reasonable too. The statues and old turquoise car at Coombs are always great photo ops, and fun for the little ones to explore. And don’t forget the Italian restaurant Cuckoo in Coombs: Trattoria & Pizzeria. This restaurant has delicious food and a beautiful outdoor patio. I had an incredible seafood pasta there this time – and they even have a kids menu! Don’t forget to make a reservation as it gets busy in the summer. We never miss a chance to stop by Coombs when we are up island!!

    The icecream shop at Coombs
    Headed for an ice cream!
  • Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, Morningstar Farm:
    Morningstar Farm
    Morningstar Farm

    this is a working farm, that produces an array of delicious cheeses! You can watch the cheese makers in action, and buy (and sample!) one of their products. We also just love walking around and exploring the farm. There are cows, calves, donkeys, bunnies, pigs, sheep, goats … And even a picnic area and walking trail! It’s free to get in, and was definitely a hit with Baby E!

  • Tiger Lily Farm: This was our first visit to Tiger Lily farm, located in Erington, approximately 15 minutes from Resort Drive in Parksville. This farm has many of the animals that you can find at Morningstar farm, including donkeys, goats, a llama, chickens, and calves. This farm requires paid admission, and with your entrance you get a ticket for your child to ride a pony. This was a huge, huge hit for Baby E! Definitely the highlight of our visit to this farm!!
  • Parksville Community Park/Playground: this playground is incredible! There is so much to do here that I don’t think Baby E knew where to start. Swings, slides, pirate ships, helicopters, bridges … and even a water park in the summer! And all of this on an amazing beach! While we were there this summer, we had the opportunity to check out the Sand Sculpting Competition. The theme this year was Heroes & Villains, and the creations were amazing.

    Batman and the Joker
    Batman and the Joker sandcastle
  • Cameron Lake: Cameron Lake is a gorgeous lake not too far from Coombs. This lake can be a bit on the cool side, but it’s a stunning location, and still a beautiful spot for a swim.
  • Spider Lake:
    spider lake
    Spider Lake

    this was a new find for us this year, and we are glad that we checked it out! There didn’t seem to be a lot of space for parking here, but if you get there at 10:30am on a Tuesday like we did, parking isn’t a problem! Neither is finding a space on the little beach. The swimming here was lovely – warmer than some of the other lakes. We spent a number of hours playing on the beach and swimming in the lake!

It was a wonderful family vacation in Parksville. With so many fun activities for adults and kids alike, we’d love to make it a yearly vacation spot!

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