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Visiting Parksville/Qualicum Beach: the Seven Wonders of Oceanside in one weekend

A cat relaxes at Milner Garden & Woodland

For a city-dweller like me, adventuring outside the concrete confines of the city limits can be a challenge. So when Vancouver Island's Oceanside Tourism Association and Seasmoke PR offered me the chance to go on an adventure, I leapt at the chance. I figured it would be difficult, but hey, who doesn't love a challenge?  

The challenge: Check out each of the Seven Wonders of Oceanside. You have one weekend.   

Friday, 3 p.m.: Catch a BC ferry to Nanaimo from the Horseshoe Bay terminal.

Day 1 of the challenge began with us heading to the BC Ferry terminal at Horseshoe Bay. It seemed like the perfect day to catch (whatever that means) a ferry: bright, warm, and not raining. Driving into the pay booths, my boyfriend and I were greeted by a line of happy and efficient ferry workers directing us to the right lane.

Heading into the Ferry Terminal at Horseshoe Bay

Driving onto the ferry can be a tad expensive, but utilizing the transit system to get to the terminal allows you to walk on for $14. The flexible traveller can also take advantage of cheaper rates mid-week with BC Ferries FareSaver rates during the summer.

After boarding the Queen of Coquitlam, we headed upstairs to enjoy the sunshine. Luckily for someone as fair-skinned as myself there are covered areas on the deck. I was able to tether my laptop to my phone and lazily get some work done while soaking in the sun (protected by the deck cover) and the beautiful coastal views.

Friday, 5:30 p.m.: The Beach Club Resort

From Departure Bay, Nanaimo, it is only a 30-minute drive to the Beach Club Resort in Parksville. Located on the beach and towering over the water, the Beach Club Resort is an impressive structure of stonework and wood. Almost every room overlooks the water, and we spent a moment on the deck enjoying some fruit and red wine as we took in all the beauty.

A peek at our bathroom at the Beach Club Resort

Looking down, the recently-constructed boardwalk spanned the beach from the hotel to the community centre park. I made a mental note to take an evening stroll post-dinner. I also noted the resort's indoor pool, Stonewater Spa, and Pacific Prime Steak & Chop Restaurant and Lounge.

Before I could delve into any of these amenities, we had to make our tee time at a nearby golf course. There are six local golf courses in the Parksville area, but I had my eye on something more... petit.

Oceanside wonder #1: Paradise Adventure Mini Golf

Located a mere five minutes walking distance from the Beach Club Resort, this adventure mini golf features two courses and a load of obstacles. Beginning with the pirate-themed course, I avoided the swinging pendulum, made it across the pirate ship, through the waterfall and managed to score second (not bad for my first game of the year).

Although Paradise Adventure lives up to its name, I didn't have time to take part in the bumper boats or arcade games that they also feature. I did manage, however, to get a picture with the infamous giant boot.

Paradise Adventure Mini Golf course

Walking back along the beach front, we stopped for some delicious seafood at the Beach Club Resort's Pacific Prime Steak & Chop restaurant. It was their first patio day of the year, and the perfect time to watch the sun go down over the horizon. The garlic mussels and grilled salmon agreed.

Saturday, 8:30 a.m.: Qualicum Beach Farmers' Market

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