Map from Nanaimo to Qualicum Beach OCEANSIDE communities:
Nanoose Bay - Fairwinds:
Nanoose Bay is approximately a 20 minute drive north of Nanaimo & the Departure Bay ferry terminal, and 15 minutes south of Parksville.
Keen seafarers from around the world flock to Nanoose Bay's shores each summer to spend sunny days boating, swimming, fishing, and digging clams. In fact, these hobbies are what convince many visitors to make Nanoose Bay their year-round home. With 20 kms of hiking trails, a 360-berth marina at Schooner Cove, and an award-winning golf course, there is never a dull moment here. The marina itself is a treasure trove of activities, offering sailing charters, diving, kayaking, and day trips on the open water. Charming bed and breakfasts give residents even more of an excuse to show the area off to their visitors. The Nanoose Bay lifestyle is an active and social one and those who live here live extraordinarily well.
Landlubbers are more than well taken care of in the Nanoose Bay area. Take a drive through the Fairwinds development, on gently winding Fairwinds Drive, and you’ll come across Fairwinds Centre. This beautiful 20,000 square-foot facility is available for the use of area residents and their guests, and offers a pool, hot tub, gym, billiards room, sauna, reading lounge, and so much more. As you journey further down Fairwinds Drive, you’ll find Fairwinds Golf Club, which attracts golfers from all over the world, due to its scenic vistas and challenging game. After a few hours on the links, players are always grateful for a fantastic meal at the Club House restaurant.
During the summer, the climate in Nanoose Bay is one of the driest in Canada, and its oceanside location tempers the heat, making it practically perfect. Homeowners and visitors can often be found taking in the beauty of their natural surroundings at Beachcomber Regional Park, or relaxing at a spa. Fairwinds homes are relaxing in and of themselves; with the option to live right on the oceanfront or golf course, or perhaps enjoy ocean views from afar. These executive homes within walking distance of the golf course or marina are hard to pass by. Living in Nanoose Bay or Fairwinds offers a very laidback and luxurious lifestyle that is still convenient to the healthcare/commercial conveniences available in Nanaimo. This is a great choice for those who do not wish to be too far away from such amenities, but are still eager to embrace a more relaxed pace than can be found in Nanaimo itself.
Parksville is located just north of Nanoose Bay, and south of Qualicum Beach
Parksville is known as the resort community on the island. Islanders gather every summer weekend on the shores of Parksville's gorgeous beaches to enjoy great scenery, great weather, and great company. Events like the Annual Parksville Beach Festival bring visitors from all overNorth Americaand across the globe to see the main feature of the festival: The Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition.
If sand and sun is not your thing, don't worry. Parksville offers some amazing restaurants and artisanal foods. Try out tree-top tapas at Parksville’s famous Tigh Na Mara Spa and Resort, or head to Little Qualicum Cheeseworks to sample fine cheeses crafted locally with pride.
Shoppers will enjoy how much retail therapy there is to be had in this seaside community. Parksville’s Downtown boasts a wide variety of locally owned and operated shops and boutiques. You’ll find everything from beautifully handcrafted soaps and bath products, to fantastic bookstores and art galleries chock full of unique items.
Living in Parksville means having easy access to activities, associations, and community events. It is a bit further north than Nanoose Bay, which means that the conveniences of Nanaimo are somewhat less accessible. Still, it is a great option for those who wish to embrace a community-oriented lifestyle with easy access to shops, dining, and the great outdoors.
French Creek is located north of Parksville & south of Qualicum Beach
Nestled between the communities of Parksville to the south and Qualicum Beach to the north, you’ll find French Creek. This sleepy seaside community is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. French Creek’s sheltered marina is a great place for boaters to stay a few nights while they visit friends and explore the area. Residents love to show off the natural beauty of French Creek to their visitors and there is no shortage of activities on offer that celebrate the great outdoors.
Six golf courses are located in and around French Creek, one of which boasts Vancouver Island’s most photographed hole. There is also a wealth of hiking to be done here, accessible to athletes of any skill level. Take a walk through arbutus groves, or meander through old-growth fir and cedar forests.
Those who fish will be delighted to know that one of French Creek’s main industries is fishing, both commercial and private charter businesses. Salmon, cod, and halibut are the common saltwater species here, while trout is available in nearby freshwater lakes and streams. Impress your visitors with a day of angling on the clear blue waters of the Salish Sea and take home your catch for dinner!
Qualicum Beach is about a 15 minute drive north of Parksville
If you love the thought of living in a close-knit and active community with plenty of events and festivals always on the go, think about Qualicum Beach.
Each Saturday from late February to December, local farmers and artisans hold the Qualicum Beach Farmers Market. This well-known seasonal event attracts visitors from many local communities eager to source fantastic vegetables, fruit, flowers, and other goodies straight from the producers.
Fruit and vegetables aren’t the only things on the grow in the Qualicum Beach area. Thanks to the mild island climate, this town is renowned for its incredible displays of flowers and plants almost year-round. Award-winning horticulturalists call Qualicum Beach home, and there are plenty of places to view their beautiful work. Residents love making regular visits to Milner Gardens for a walk around a lovely heritage home surrounded by stunning gardens.
Qualicum Beach is suitably located to take advantage of events going on in nearby cities like Parksville, (together these cities are called Oceanside by locals). Although a bit far from Nanaimo to be convenient to the hospital and ferries, Qualicum Beach is an excellent choice for people who want to let go of the stress of the city without slowing down.
Nanaimo is central to the Island commute, providing BC ferry terminals with routes from Vancouver, Nanaimo's Airport, and approximately a 2 hour drive south to Victoria.
Location, location, location. Nanaimo is known as the Hub City because it allows you to quickly get anywhere you want to go on the island. Just an hour and a half to Victoria by car, and the same to Vancouver via ferry, this harbour city is convenient for anyone with a will to wander. However, that’s not to say that Nanaimo doesn’t have its own attractions to keep visitors and residents engaged and entertained.
Originally, a coal town, Nanaimo experienced an economic shift in the 1940s as lumber became the chief commodity in the area. Nowadays, the provincial government is the largest employer in the city, along with the Harmac pulp mill. Retail and services also contribute to the economy, along with a surprisingly large (and ever-growing) technology sector. Vancouver Island University is the academic centre of Nanaimo, bringing students from all over the world and enriching the economy and culture of the city.
In terms of activities, the possibilities are endless for Nanaimoites. Residents are a fun-loving and welcoming bunch who can be found hiking up Mount Benson, boating on Long Lake, or paddling around Nanaimo Harbour with their dragon-boat team. For a city of almost 90,000 people, there is a surprising number of great restaurants, pubs, and lounges, not to mention a theatre attracting world-class musicians, comics, dance troupes, plays, and so much more. Nanaimo may be poised to be a great launch pad for other endeavors, but any local will tell you that it can certainly hold its own as a wonderful place to live, work, study, and play.