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.

Elk Falls Rapids

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.

[Map] [Elk Falls – BC Parks website]

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.

Surf's Up Dude!
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).

[Map] [Miracle Beach – BC Parks website]

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.

Life on the wharf - Cameron Lake, Vancouver Island Full moon in September - Cameron Lake, Vancouver Island

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.

[Map] [Little Qualicum Falls – BC Parks website]

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.

Cowichan River Provincial Park
Photo: Harold Gillis on Flickr

Features: hiking, swimming, fishing, horseback riding, dogs on leash, camping, cycling, picnic tables, viewpoints and sight-seeing.

[Map] [Cowichan River – BC Parks website]

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.

Goldstream's "Niagara Falls" - View Large
Photo: John on Flickr

Features: hiking, swimming, viewpoints and sight-seeing, cycling, dogs on leash, camping, picnic tables.

[Map] [Goldstream Park – BC Parks website]

From now until September, make a donation to my BC SPCA Paws For A Cause campaign and you could walk away with a fantastic prize! Click here to find out more!

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One Comment on “The Great Outdoors: Picnicking

  1. I like Miracle Beach, been there only a couple of times, but when the tides go out, it’s a great place to hang out.

    Many childhood memories of Goldstream though :) It’s been a long time since I’ve been there though. Would like to go there for the day. I remember when you got to the end of the path, where the little visitor building was you could look up amongst the mountains and see the train trestle bridging.

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