Visiting a destination in the off-season has its disadvantages but it also has merits. Nat and Tim from A Cook Not Mad were recently in Parksville Qualicum Beach, a summer destination for most in BC, and although a lot of the attractions were closed for the season they still had plenty to do to keep busy. They share some of the things worth experiencing in this beautiful part of British Columbia:
Catch your dinner, stop in at Nile Creek Fly Shop to get the low down on where the salmon are and which flies will attract them, Courtney and his staff are more than familiar with the on goings of fishing in the area and they will gladly share their knowledge. If fishing isn’t part of your wheelhouse, you should still stop by the Big Qualicum Hatchery. Seeing hundreds of thousands of salmon going up river to spawn is something to behold. One of those natural wonders that will leave you speechless.
Nile Creek Fly Shop- 6590 West Island Highway, Bowser, BC 250-757-2095
Big Qualicum Hatchery 250-757-8412
Enjoy Local Delicacies
There are plenty of places to grab a bite and enjoy some local delicacies. The West Coast is known for its sushi and though Parksville and Qualicum Beach are small communities, the sushi at Sushi Ichi rivals any big city sushi. We stopped here several times and were delighted. Sit at the bar and watch the sushi chef do his thing.
Another local favourite is The Black Goose Inn, a British/Scottish style pub in an historic house. They have an extensive menu including Fish & Chips, different steak pies (Steak and Kidney, Steak and Stilton, Steak and Mushroom) and Bangers & Mash and some great beers on tap.
If you go, grab a seat and then head straight for the bar, there you will be able to order a beer, peruse the menu, and place your order. When your meal is ready, someone will deliver it to your table. For dessert try the Innis and Gunn on tap, an oak aged beer with hints of toffee, vanilla and oak paired with their Sticky Toffee Pudding, one of the best pairings we’ve discovered in a while.
Sushi Ichi – 541 E Island Hwy, Parksville, BC 250 954 2020
The Black Goose Inn – 25-1051 Resort Drive, Parksville 250 586-1001
What could be more satisfying than walking into a forest and coming out with ingredients to make a delicious meal?
The forests around the Parksville and QualicumBeach area hold a cornucopia of mushrooms and other edible plants. We went out looking specifically for chanterelle mushrooms and found some straight away but you can also find lobster, cauliflower and hedgehog mushrooms, which are choice edibles.
If you’re not familiar with edible plants and mushrooms you can hire a guide or take a workshop, they are affordable and a good precaution to take. Wild Foods Guide Jessica Wolf is a trained biologist and gives workshops on edible plants in the area.
The seaside communities of Parksville and QualicumBeach boast 19 kilometres of near perfect sand. Imagine walking on a deserted or nearly deserted beach, sea birds by your side and flying over heard, the distant sound of waves crashing and finding treasures along the way. You may even find oysters and clams but due to sanitation reasons, harvesting is not allowed on the beaches.
If you’re less than enthusiastic about crowds, high accommodation prices and long lines at the ice cream stand the off-season may be the solution to your vacation frustration.
What are some of your favourite off season, summer destinations? Share them with us in the comments below!