Vancouver Island boasts some of Canada’s finest beaches- it’s one of the main reasons we live here. But when it comes to family excursions, the epic task of packing, sun-screening and loading squirming kids into the car is work enough, never mind finding out there are no bathrooms when you get there! With the days finally long and hot enough to bring your tribe beachside, we’ve saved you some legwork by compiling a list of our favourite family-friendly beach hits in central Vancouver Island. All you have to do is pack and go!
The pride of Ladysmith, Transfer Beach Park is made for families. With warm water for swimming, a huge playground, water park, washrooms, snack bar and lots of grassy areas for picnics, you’re set for the day. There’s even an amphitheatre for summer tunes should you decide to jam on into the evening.
Beloved by locals and tourists alike, sandy Parksville Beach Park is a no-brainer. Home to the Parkville Beach Festival and the world-class Sand Sculpting competition in mid-summer, this beach is the heart and soul of Parksville. With a massive playground, water park, a warm-water sandy beach, washrooms and snack bar, there’s something for everyone here.
If your family is looking for something a little more serene in the Parksville/Qualicum Beach area, Rathtrevor Provincial Beach Park is a toddler’s (and parent’s) dream. At low tide, the ocean recedes up to 1km from the shore, offering endless flats for mini explorers. Forested trails and picnic structures offer refuge from the sun, while a play structure and nearby washrooms have your basics covered. Head to the day-use parking lot unless you brought your tent!
Back in Nanaimo, Departure Bay Beach (Kinsman Park) is a family fave. This crescent-shaped beach offers views of the ferry’s comings and goings, a lovely shady playground, washrooms, and often features summer food trucks for a post-play nosh. A roped off swim area and floating dock offers extra fun for your independent swimmers. Easily accessed from the street-side parking lot, Departure Bay is a fantastic low-maintenance option for a last minute adventure.
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