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Vacation Tips for Parksville/Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

We just got back from another great week on Vancouver Island.  We zip over the border, catch a ferry in Tsawwassen, gaze at the beautiful scenery as we cross over to Nanaimo, drive 45 minutes north and enjoy the aptly named city of Parksville.  The first thing we did was drive to French Creek Seafood where we bough fresh salmon, oysters, clams, and scallops.  It's a bit tricksy to find, but worth it if you are ever vacationing in the area.
We enjoyed Kids Fest, a day of Child-Centered activities at the impressive Parksville Community Park.  There's a water-park, a fully tricked out play-ground (zip line even!), a boardwalk, a terrific sandy beach, a skateboard park, and more.  Will Stroet and the Backyard Band kept the kids and the adults entertained with his silly songs and easy manner.  Chickadee transformed into a superhero before our very eyes.
On an other day we drove to Nanaimo (20 minutes) where we took a ferry to Newcastle Island for a day of biking and strolling.  We rented bikes there and had a beautiful ride along pine-needle trails with a view of the seashore.  My kids have never seen me ride a bike.  They kept telling me how its done.  Somehow the bikes didn't make it into the pictures.  Here we are at resting point.

We spent a very nice afternoon at the Milner Gardens where we enjoyed a woodland stroll, a nice gift-shop, an lovely tea shop with scones and devon cream, and a beautiful view of the ocean. I doubt if the gardeners are too thrilled about the deer in the gardens, but we thought this little fawn was darling.

We also had a lovely time at the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks which featured a petting zoo, cheese samples, wine samples, gift shop, ice cream.

We enjoyed Miniature Golf at Riptide Lagoon where Chickadee got two hole-in-ones.  There are two miniature golf centers in Nanaimo.  Both are enjoyable.

And, as we do every year, we visited the Old Country Market aka "Goats on the Roof": import shop, food market for foodies, bakery, deli, cafe, ice cream, and goats.  The goats stroll about on the roof above you as you eat.

New finds this year include:
Springford Farms where we could have bought organic produce, eggs, beef, and chicken if we had found it earlier. 
Bread and Honey: a new lunch stop.  Freshly baked bread, sandwiches, cookies, really yummy soup.  Very friendly proprietresses. 

    Note to Self: Next year we want to make sure that we visit Little Qualicum Falls and the Historical Museum.


    Anonymous said...

    oh how fun. I spent a really nice long weekend years ago on Hornby Island, have you ever been there? So beautiful.

    bellini valli said...

    One of the best places for a vacation on the West Coast. I love Saltspring Island as well and Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast.Looks like the family made memories:D

    Anonymous said...

    lovely! the children are growing up so beautifully!