The Sunrise Ridge Guide to Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park

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There is no question that Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville, British Columbia is one of our most famous local assetsand for good reason. But there are likely some things you don’t yet know about this beautiful stretch of coastline. Here, from the Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort team, is your guide to all things Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park.


Rathtrevor Beach and its surrounding area were named after William Rath, an Irish gold prospector who arrived in Parksville in 1886 with his young family and first cleared the land that would become the original Rathtrevor Beach Campground, and later a Provincial Park.

Both Rath’s love of the land, and the Parksville community’s ongoing dedication to protecting this most stunning part of the world, are evident today in the preservation of so much natural beauty as well as the area’s bountiful wildlife.


Parksville and Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park are home to some amazing residents—those with fur, fins and feathers among them. Some of the most famous are Brant Geese, here for visitors’ viewing pleasure during their Spring and Fall migrations.

The Brants are migratory shore-bound birds who use Rathtrevor Beach as a feeding and resting area on their way to northern Canada and Alaska. Be sure to check out RLC Park Services for how, and when to best view the Brant Geese. And if you’ll be visiting through March 21st, don’t miss out on the annual Brant Festival to celebrate the migration!


Certainly, strolling the shoreline and birdwatching are wonderful ways to spend your time here in Parksville. But if you’re looking for something else to spice up your getaway, you’re in luck! There’s something for everyone, no matter the season:

  • The Amphitheatre and Nature House: The park is home to an all-ages amphitheatre and nature house that’s open every day of the week and offers activities galore for kids and kids-at-heart. With interactive nature displays, live bee-hive, field guides, built-in convenience store, the Jerry’s Rangers children’s program, and special seasonal events, it’s a must-do while you’re here.
  • Walking & Hiking: Trade toes-in-the-sand for a good pair of walking or hiking shoes and explore the park’s 5.5 kilometres of wheelchair-accessible trails! Winding both around the beach and through the surrounding area’s lush forest, these easy trails are a wonderful way to see the park. The trails will take you through campsites, as well as the scenic nearby heritage farm field.
  • Fishing: What better way to unwind than with saltwater fishing? Permitted as per Federal and Provincial fishing regulations, be sure to pick up your fishing or angling license before coming to Parksville so that you can enjoy our idyllic coast the classic way, seeking out Salmon, Red Snapper, Ling-cod, Halibut and crab.
  • Canoeing & Kayaking: Bundle up and enjoy this fantastic sit-down alternative for those longing to be out on the water. Accessible by canoe or kayak via the beach, Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park offers the chance to paddle alongside sea lions, harbour seals, and even killer whales!
  • Cycling: Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park features a scenic round-trip 10-kilometre route to both Top Bridge Municipal Park and Mountain Park, which is perfect for those looking to branch out and explore more of the surrounding area.
  • Swimming: When you’re just steps from the beach, taking a polar bear swim (or waiting for June, July, and August when the waters are summer-warmed) is a must-do. Whether you visit during low tide—when the ocean recedes by almost a kilometre—or high tide, the sea will be calling your name the next time you visit.
  • Windsurfing: Seeking the thrill of ocean spray in your hair? While more of a summer activity, windsurfing is perfect for those looking to engage in a higher-energy sport and is hands-down one of the most exhilarating opportunities Rathtrevor Beach has to offer. (If coming in February, be sure to don a wetsuit before heading out on the water!)


What adds to Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park’s all-year charm is its commitment to park-goers’ entertainment. The park’s 250 campsites are open only between March – October, but spacious group picnic areas, campfire rings, and playgrounds are available in all seasons.

Looking for more? Just a stone’s throw from the park’s boundary, you’ll find all kinds of Parksville activities and events throughout the year.

For example, the current Sunrise Ridge Events Calendar includes information about the popular Qualicum Beach Farmers Market (which runs year-round), the nail-biting theatre performance of “Tales for the Telling: Sky Burial”, and romantic live music performances.

Event spotlights for other seasons include May’s Fire and Ice event, which features ice sculptures and local chilli; the Seaside Cruizers Father’s Day Show and Shine in June, and the internationally-renowned Parksville Beach Festival featuring sand sculptors from around the world, July through August.


A seemingly endless stretch of some of the province’s most beautiful coast, lush parkland, meandering trails and countless activities and events year-round—it’s no wonder we love Rathtrevor Beach. What’s more, it’s just steps from Sunrise Ridge Resort, so our guests can enjoy it all with ease. It really is the perfect destination for a truly unforgettable experience.


Don’t let the idea of a provincial park in winter weather get you down—the moderating influence of our seaside location ensures a “just right” range of temperatures that rarely dip below 0°C.

Consider a romantic post-Valentine’s Day getaway with your sweetheart, a late winter holiday for the whole family, or a long-term stay so you can experience everything that Parksville and Rathtrevor Beach have to offer.

Check out our Sunrise Ridge Packages & Specials here, and be sure to ask about our Free Ferry Ride Special if you’re coming from the mainland and our Discounted Online Rates. See you soon!