Coastal Hotel on Vancouver Island with Complimentary Kayaking
On Vancouver Island, you can get gorgeous views of mountains and the surrounding bay. Pacific Shores Resort & Spa is located here, and many of the resort activities are geared toward enjoying the natural world. For example, you can check out a kayak or go on a nature walk, where you’ll hike the seashore and estuaries and visit a nearby salmon hatchery.
The resort is also pretty in its own right—there are 15 acres of botanical gardens on the property; you can stroll among the exotic and indigenous plants on a complimentary garden tour or get your hands dirty alongside the groundskeeping staff (gardening gloves are provided).
Earth tones and nature art make up the decor in the guest rooms. At The Landing West Coast Grill, the onsite restaurant, you can sample West Coast and Mediterranean cuisine, including the restaurant’s signature dishes: wood-fired cedar-plank salmon and rotisserie-style ribs. Dine inside beside a giant saltwater aquarium and fireplace or head outside to the heated outdoor patio. You can see the wide expanse of Craig Bay from the restaurant and from the outdoor hot tub and thermal pools.
Parksville, British Columbia: Mountain Landscape Across the Bay from Vancouver
Parksville lies on Vancouver Island’s eastern shores, just across the bay from Vancouver. The community is known for its spectacular mountains, lakes, and mile-wide beaches. The golden, hard-packed sand is ideal for sandcastle building; each year the city hosts a sand-sculpting competition, where artists carve their masterpieces over the course of three days.
Giant douglas firs line Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park, some of them standing at more than 250 feet (75 m) tall and more than 29 feet (9 m) in circumference. It’s also easy to make a day trip to Vancouver from Parksville. The ferries pick up visitors in Nanaimo, about a 30-minute drive south.