Secrets of the Off-season Surf, Sand & Sea
Who doesn’t love a beach vacation? The beaches of Vancouver Island aren’t exactly the best-kept secret, but from September to May these same summertime hot spots offer visitors exclusive off-season seclusion.
Rather than struggle through throngs of tourists and fight miles of unforgiving traffic, why not escape to the island during the temperate off-season to enjoy true relaxation? Don’t let deadlines and budgets and flaky dog-sitters stop you; take the time to take care of yourself, and make some beautiful memories that don’t include the frustration of bumper to bumper cars on the way to – well, everywhere.
Enlist a friend who owes you one to take Fido for a few days and hop on a ferry; the ocean is calling.
Home Base: The central location of Rathtrevor Beach is perfect for leisurely island exploration. Just steps from the comfort of your suite at Sunrise Ridge, enjoy an expansive ocean view and watch as the tide recedes to reveal almost a mile of sand heavily adorned with tidepools. Head out when the tide is low and discover the diverse oceanfront ecosystem hidden under the salty sea.
Sandy Stop #1: Unbeknownst to travelers and locals alike, a hidden mecca of oceanic exploration awaits around the corner from Rathtrevor Beach. Dolphin Beach in Nanoose Bay is not made for summer sunbathers, but its gentle tides and rocky waterline are ideal for beach sponges, rockfish, and more.
Sandy Stop #2: Parksville Beach tops every beach-goer’s must-see list. Though less outwardly diverse than its neighbour Rathtrevor, search the surf and you’ll find the sand teaming with life.
Sandy Stop #3: Take a day trip up to Courtenay and pay a visit to Bates Beach, home to a variety of bigger beach life – no beachcombing required. Take a stroll down by the water and you’ll come across a plethora of seals, birds, and maybe even a whale or two – so bring your binoculars!
Sandy Stop #4: Pack a lunch and head across the island to explore Tofino’s world-famous beaches. Though Long Beach is the gem of the Pacific Rim, head to Chesterman Beach for an off-the-beaten-path beach experience. Even in the off-season, the storm-season waves will be dotted with avid surfers, but the real action happens on the tideline. Crustaceans, starfish, and sea anemones are abundant, as are the occasional squid, sea lion, and even jelly fish – so watch your step!
Vancouver Island’s beaches are home to a wide range of species, and when you saunter down the shoreline you are entering their home without knocking. Avoid becoming an unwanted houseguest by following a few simple steps.
- Do Not Disturb: Leave the beach as you found it. Don’t leave anything behind and don’t leave with anything you didn’t arrive with.
- Find your Footing: Spread across the sand and surf are multiple fragile lifeforms; take care not to crush them!
- Be a Gentle Giant: You wouldn’t enjoy a giant picking up your whole house while you’re in it. Rocks and driftwood are homes too, and sea creatures don’t have home insurance.
- Capture the Moment: Bring your camera, because you’re not just exploring tidelines; you’re making memories.
Listen carefully; the sandy seas of the island are calling. Follow the sounds of the waves and spend some time recharging your spirit.