Posted on June 7, 2012
The Great Outdoors: Picnicking
Lunch from an icy cooler, swimming in the sun and Old Dutch ketchup chips are a few of the memories that come rushing back when I remember picnicking as a child. Vancouver Island is a virtual playground of parks, swimming holes and perfect places to spend with friend and family on sunny weekends.
Here are a few of my favourites…
Elk Falls Provincial Park
Not far from Campbell River, Elk Falls provides a quick and convenient escape. Boasting a thundering waterfall and year-round salmon fishing, it’s no wonder that Elk Falls is always a popular spot. Day-use areas make visiting the nearby Quinsam fish hatchery an easy stop before an afternoon swim.
Photo: Karl Johnson on Flickr
Features: hiking, camping, swimming, children’s playground, picnic tables, tap water, dogs on leash. Please exercise extreme caution while near the waterfall.
Miracle Beach Provincial Park
North of the Comox Valley and not far from my family’s home, Miracle Beach is one of my favourite places to bring Jordy for some off-leash fun in the sun. While Miracle Beach features easy hiking trails through a lush canopy of trees, camping and an intriguing “nature hut”, the beach is the big draw. Expect its sandy shores to be packed on long summer days.
Photo: Scott Leslie on Flickr
Features: hiking, camping, swimming, fishing, canoeing, amphitheatre, nature conservation, picnic tables, dogs on leash (or off-leash in designated areas).
Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park
Stop in at nearby Coombs on your way, grab local eats for lunch and spend a day at Little Qualicum Falls and the adjacent Cameron Lake. While the cascading falls in this park are certainly impressive, Little Qualicum Falls offers a tranquil spot to picnic, hit a few non-challenging trails or dip in the glassy lake.
Photos: Calypso Orchid on Flickr
Features: hiking, swimming, canoeing, fishing, water-skiing, scuba diving, picnic tables, camping, dogs on leash. Please exercise extreme caution while in waterfall areas.
Cowichan River Provincial Park
On any given hot, sticky day, it’s not unusual to find Duncan locals floating down the Cowichan River in inflatable tubes. Featuring no shortage of recreational activities, this jewel of the Cowichan Valley is also part of the Trans Canada Trail. Be sure not to miss the lovingly restored trestles.
Photo: Harold Gillis on Flickr
Features: hiking, swimming, fishing, horseback riding, dogs on leash, camping, cycling, picnic tables, viewpoints and sight-seeing.
Goldstream Provincial Park
Just 16km north of Victoria, Goldsream draws visitors from all over with its towering forests, impressive waterfalls and abundance of wildlife. Home to Western Red Cedars and ancient Douglas Firs, Goldstream holds a lot of wonder for nature lovers. Arrive early and if you’re camping, book well in advance at this well-loved park.
Photo: John on Flickr
Features: hiking, swimming, viewpoints and sight-seeing, cycling, dogs on leash, camping, picnic tables.
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