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Photo by: Tim Melling
Photo by: Ross Bodeman

North Central

This region of Vancouver Island is known for the many hiking trails in Strathcona park, mountain biking around Cumberland and Campbell River and boating and kayaking up the many passage ways in Johnstone Strait. During the winter months you can find some great alpine skiing and snow shoeing on Mount Washington.

Cities include: Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland, Campbell River, Gold River

Top Things to do:

Courtenay Farmers Market

The Comox Valley has many acres of fertile farm land and both locals and visitor can enjoy locally made chocolate, bison sausages, apple juice, organic produce, wild caught seafood and venison from Vancouver Island’s largest fallow deer farm. The market runs every Saturday morning year round.

Mountain Biking Cumberland

Vancouver Island’s most renowned riding region is undoubtedly found in the forests of Cumberland. The vast trail network maintained by dedicated enthusiasts like UROC (United Riders of Cumberland), is encompassed by emerald canopies and watered by rushing creeks with rider built bridges crossing them. The trails skirt cliffs and canyons and drop into low lying basins with views of the surrounding mountains. They eventually finding their terminus on the shores of Comox Lake or in the eclectic village of Cumberland nearby. More on mountain biking…

Mountain Biking Campbell River

Campbell River’s century’s old forestry economy has some great spin offs. A recreational trail creation has become the largest and arguably most longstanding network of trails on the Vancouver Island. The Snowden Forest trails alone, beginning at the famous Pump House, encompasses more than 100 kilometres (62 miles) of single track. This mix of painless scenic loops tempered with some highly technical routes offers all day riding for any skill level. More on mountain biking…

Hiking

The Forbidden Plateau has some of the best hiking on Vancouver Island. Paradise Meadows, Mt Albert-Edward and the Comox Glacier are some of the favorites. Strathcona Provincial Park is 2458 square kilometers and has hundreds of trails and is also a great place for hiking.  Golden Hinde is the highest peak on the island at 2195 meters (7201 ft). Mt Colonel Foster is another great hike and is an extension of the Elk River Trail.

Kayaking Nootka Sound

Nootka has some unreal scenery and here you will feel like you are alone in nature. There are plenty of sandy beaches, rolling mountains in the backdrop and lush plants and trees on the shoreline. It is one of the more challenging places to get to and for some that is even better.

Saratoga Beach

Located about halfway between Campbell River and Courtenay, Saratoga Beach is considered by many to be the ultimate stretch of shimmering sand on the sheltered east coast of Vancouver Island. It extends for almost 2 km along the Strait of Georgia and being one of the world’s most extreme tidal areas, Saratoga Beach can smoothly slope half a kilometer down to the waters edge at low tide.  Slow currents make for a relaxing swim and during the summer months the water is nice and warm near shore. You can also beachcomb for shells, sand dollars and starfish.

Miracle Beach Provincial Park

Miracle Beach Park is a popular place to camp for many families visiting Vancouver Island. There is a playground here, trails and a large picnic area. It is also very close to Saratoga Beach, so there will be two place to take the family.

Saratoga Speedway

This is a favorite for those a 150 km north and south for over 30 years. Located between Campbell River and Courtenay and close to Saratoga and Miracle Beaches, it is a great place for some evening entertainment. Some of the favorites are Bomber cars, Drifters, Crash to pass, Oldtimers and Motorcycle racing.

Ocean and River Kayaking

For ocean and river kayaking you can bring your own gear, or rent one, or get a lesson from one of the local outfitters. The Puntledge River is a popular place to go after a good rain storm for those who want something a little more challenging.

Birds and Nature

Middlenatch Island is home to the largest bird colony on Vancouer Island. Here you can see Glaucous-winged Gulls, Black Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets and many other seabirds.

Almost 200 species of birds have been counted in the Woodhus Slough area about 2 km north of the Oyster River along the shoreline. Seal Bay Nature Park is a great place to see Steller Sealions and many other migratory birds.