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20 Things to Include in Your Comox Valley Itinerary

How does skiing with ocean views sound? How about jamming at a folk, roots, and world music festival? Comox Valley on Vancouver Island combines nature and culture to enrich the lives of its locals and woo tourists from further afield. A getaway here means immersing yourself in exhilarating outdoor adventures, unplugging, and becoming heavy-lidded at a hydro spa. It means squeezing lemon onto the freshest oysters, shopping for one-of-a-kind mementos, and craning your neck to gaze up at giant cedar trees. Let's get into the specifics.

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01 Mount Washington's Alpine adventures

Mount Washington Alpine Resort is right in the middle of Vancouver Island and welcomes visitors throughout the year. The winter months involve activities like snowboarding, snowshoeing, tubing, and cross-country skiing. During summer, hiking, ziplining, and mountain biking are top of the agenda. Instructors help newbies learn the first steps necessary to hit the slopes. The resort is family-oriented and guarantees an epic time.

02 Culinary journey in Courtenay

The year-round Comox Valley Farmers' Market sells everything from organic fresh produce and baked goods to art. Live music turns the market into a lively community staple. Farm-to-table establishments like Avenue Bistro and Atlas Cafe take the raw materials like amazing local seafood and turn them into flavorful dishes. Foodies can check out a tour like Island Gourmet Trails for a mouthwatering intro to what's on offer. Sweeten the deal and go to Hot Chocolates for truffles, caramels, and loads of other delectable treats.

03 Discover Comox Valley's waterfront

Comox Lake

Comox Lake is a beautiful man-made lake created in 1912 when the Comox Dam was built. Just a 10-minute drive from the Strait of Georgia, the lake is a recreational hub popular with anglers, paddleboarders, kayakers, and other water sports enthusiasts. Comox Lake Beach is free of boat traffic and safe for swimming. If you'd prefer to stay dry, hiking trails last up to two hours and ensure rewarding treks through verdant forests.

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04 Unwind at Kingfisher Hydropath

If R&R is your main priority or the weather isn't conducive to outdoor plans, then head for Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa where friendly staff are tasked with helping you decompress in a grotto-style setting. The Pacific Mist Hydropath here is hydrotherapy at its best with different temperatures and sensations. Relax in the outdoor heated pool, enjoy the hot tub, Swiss shower, waterfalls, baths, sauna, and steam room, and let your worries ebb away for a couple of hours. The minerals in the water are supposed to be detoxifying.

05 Shopping spree on 5th Street

Downtown Courtenay

Downtown Courtenay is a shopping mecca where you can find souvenirs, gifts, and everything in between at over 240 businesses. The boutiques' wares go beyond the run-of-the-mill. Think pottery, soaps, specialty teas, metal art, and records. You can purchase First Nations jewelry at I-HOS Gallery, high-quality essential oils from Green Valley Aromatherapy, and browse the glass art at Jan's Glass by the Sea.

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06 River tubing adventures

puntledge River

Floating on the Puntledge River is a thrilling and iconic summertime activity in the Comox Valley. As many as 2,000 people go tubing when the water is slow and warm. In spring, the water can be really cold. It's always worth looking out for public safety advisories and signage because conditions can change. For example, fallen tree trunks can become hazardous obstacles, and river flows are sometimes increased to assist migrating fish.

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07 Nymph Falls' natural beauty

Nymph Falls

You could spend an entire day here hiking, swimming, and shooting the breeze. The multi-use trails at Nymph Falls have user-friendly signage. There's a rope ladder to get closer to the water—it's an exciting element, but if you feel apprehensive, nearby steps will get you where you need to go. Nymph Falls Nature Park has an accessible trail for strollers.

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08 Biking the Bear Bait Trail

Bears Bait Trail near Nymph Falls sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. The relatively flat looping singletrack trail is suitable for all mountain biking abilities and poses no problems, whatever the weather. It's also dog-friendly, and you can tailor the route to suit your skill level. The best times to ride Bears Bait is between April and October.

09 Evening at Goose Spit Beach

Goose Spit Beach

Before COVID, beach fires were a common occurrence at Goose Spit Regional Park. These days, you're more likely to see a fiery sunset while taking a leisurely walk. Your canine bestie is welcome, but pets need to be leashed for the better part of March to May to facilitate the migration of Brant geese. Ample parking is available.

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10 Diving into kelp forests

A fascinating underwater world awaits you in Comox Valley. Seek out local divers and arrange to go scuba diving at Singing Sands. The currents here can be challenging, but with the right timing, you can safely catch a glimpse of a shipwreck. Marine photographers and videographers may even capture the giant Pacific octopus. Over at Norris Rocks, you can interact with sea lions.

11 Kayak to Tree Island

Woman Kayaking on a pristine lake, top view peakSTOCK / Getty Images

During spring, summer, and fall, you can set off from Union Bay Boat Launch and sea kayak for an hour to a sandbar near the northern side of Denman Island. This spot is unofficially known as Tree Island and is formally known as Sandy Island Marine Park. Camping on the island is possible, but fires are prohibited, and freshwater is scarce. Try and see how many different types of birds you can spot.

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12 Tribune Bay's tropical vibes

Tribune Bay Provincial Park

Vancouver Island is not known for being a tropical environment, and yet it comes pretty close at Tribune Bay Provincial Park on Hornby Island. The water has that aquamarine hue we normally associate with the tropics and the white sand is a stark contrast to the pebble beaches in these parts. Look for crabs and moon snails, snap pics of the rock formations, or snorkel and pretend you're in Bora Bora for a few blissful minutes.

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13 Celebrate at BC Shellfish Festival

Comox Valley produces half of British Columbia's shellfish and the most oysters in the country. This annual summer event recognizes the area's culinary importance and celebrates all things seafood. Chefs and producers gather, masterclasses enlighten, and competitions confer honors on worthy participants.

14 Courtenay's Atlas Cafe culture

Locals love Atlas Cafe for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. The outdoor patio is secluded with a pleasant atmosphere, and the servers are attentive. This is a great place for flavorsome modern global fare, and the vegan options are winners. The enchiladas come highly recommended, as do the enchiladas.

15 Exploring Comox Harbour

Comox Harbour

Comox Harbor Promenade offers incredible views of the Beaufort Mountain Range and the Comox Glacier. During the warmer months, food trucks keep locals' bellies full, shade is not hard to come by, and kids happily play in the open space. Across the bay, the hulks of 15 historic ships form a breakwater.

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16 Savor local spirits

Discover the essence of Comox Valley at its unique distilleries and breweries. 40 Knots Winery offers sustainable, biodynamic wines with stunning Salish Sea views. Beer enthusiasts will love Gladstone Brewing Company's diverse range, from Belgian ales to IPAs, in a historic, mechanic-themed setting. Wayward Distillery, pioneering spirits from B.C. honey, adds a sweet twist to the local palate. Each venue embodies the valley's commitment to quality and sustainability, making them must-visit destinations for connoisseurs.

17 Vibes at MusicFest

The Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds comes alive with the cosmopolitan strains of Roots, Folk, and Global Music. Previous performers include the likes of Sarah Mclachlan, Angelique Kidjo, Bonnie Raitt, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Vancouver Island MusicFest is a highlight on the local calendar, and workshops and jam sessions are an intrinsic part of the proceedings.

18 Nautical days in Comox

Comox Nautical Days Festival

Comox Nautical Days Festival is another local event worth shouting about. It checks all the boxes and will pique the interest of even the most cantankerous member of your household. A vintage car show revs the engines of those among us who love classic automobiles. Then there's a parade, a fireworks extravaganza, rides, crafts, races, and live entertainment. It's a weekend of nonstop merriment for the community.

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19 Racing thrills at Saratoga Speedway

Check out this exciting, affordable, and family-friendly attraction when you're in town. A monster truck ride, a go-kart race, stock car racing, and the Crash to Pass boat race are just some of the rotating events you'll find at Saratoga Speedway. Expect smashes, hoods flying off, and a hilarious announcer.

20 Golfing with a view

There are nine golf courses in Comox Valley and nearby areas. So where should you go as a beginner or avid golfer? Well, only six are open throughout the year so that may narrow your options slightly. Comox Golf Club aims to be the friendliest of them all, with reasonable fees. Then there's Crown Isle Resort which opened in 1992 and is as manicured as a royal garden.

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