Lighthouse Country is located on the east coast of central Vancouver Island, across from Denman and Hornby Islands, incorporating the small communities of Horne Lake, Qualicum Bay, Bowser and Deep Bay.
Rich in history, folklore and Native culture, Lighthouse Country offers its many visitors a genuinely friendly welcome in a charming rural atmosphere – a fabulous vacation destination with 60 miles of coastline and sandy beaches to explore.
This area provides access to some of the most pristine natural wilderness, beautiful parkland, crystal clear lakes and ancient caves. The trees are huge, the area is green all year round, and the scenery is breathtaking.
Combining natural scenic beauty with a wide variety of unique beachfront motels, cottages, bed & breakfasts, RV parks and campgrounds, visitors to Lighthouse Country can enjoy a wealth of outdoor activities, and are sure to leave with fond vacation memories.
The two lighthouses after which the region is named are the Chrome Island Lighthouse off the southern tip of Denman Island, and Sisters Lighthouse off the northern tip of Lasqueti Island in the Strait of Georgia.
Location: Lighthouse Country is situated in the Oceanside region of central Vancouver Island, and is accessed along the Oceanside Route (Highway 19A), or off the parallel Island Highway (Highway 19) by exiting between Qualicum Beach and Fanny Bay.
The Oceanside Route follows the coastline from the Nanoose Bay area all the way to Campbell River. Enjoy the sights of Parksville and Qualicum Beach and the Lighthouse Country communities of Qualicum Bay, Bowser and Deep Bay. Follow the Oceanside Route through the charming communities of Fanny Bay, Buckley Bay, and Union Bay and continue north through Merville, Black Creek, and Oyster River to Campbell River. Parks, beaches, golf courses, and dozens of attractions are located along the Oceanside Route, making it one of the Island’s most popular driving tours.
Qualicum Bay has a nice clean and endless beach protected from traffic noise by a barrier of private land. During lower tides you’ll find lovely sandy areas, relatively warm water for swimming, and good beachcombing for little treasures. You are always close to the ocean, overlooking Georgia Strait, with all the clams and oysters you can eat.
The small waterfront community of Bowser is the main community centre of Lighthouse Country. The Bowser Hotel made history in the 1930’s (and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not) by having a bartender dog that served beer to patrons, collected their money and returned with their change!
The small oceanside community of Deep Bay is a town seemingly devoted to angling. Mapleguard Point is the elbow of an arm and spit that protect Deep Bay’s natural harbour beside much larger Qualicum Bay. A peaceful BC resort community, Deep Bay is a fisherman’s delight, where chinook salmon in the 20-pound range top the scales each year.
Beaches: Lighthouse Country has over 60 miles of coastline and sandy beaches. You are always close to the ocean, overlooking Georgia Strait, with all the clams and oysters you can eat.
Arts & Crafts: Lighthouse Country boasts world-class artists and artisans.
Just off McColl Road, Wildwood Park beckons travellers to stop and rest. An existing 1-km trail will ultimately become the northern trailhead of a proposed Lighthouse Country Hiking Trail, stretching south to Qualicum Bay.
Golf: The Lighthouse Country communities are located within a 20-minute drive to many of the top golf courses in the area, including the Arrowsmith Golf & Country Club, an 18-hole semi-private golf course located 10 minutes south of Bowser. Vancouver Island Golf Vacations.
Deep Bay: Visit the docks at the excellent natural harbour at Deep Bay to watch the commercial fishing boats return with their catches. Deep Bay’s prolific herring spawn and shrimp hatches attract the larger Chinook salmon, some up to thirty pounds.
Fishing: Nicely sheltered by Mapleguard Point, Deep Bay launches sport fishing boats for the rich coho and chinook salmon grounds along the coastline and offshore islands and rocks. Anglers’ dreams are fulfilled for both fresh and salt water catches. Two lighthouses in the area stand as constant reminders about the dangers of the rugged shoreline on this section of the east coast of Vancouver Island.
Baynes Sound offers excellent and easily accessible birdwatching, and is also a popular viewing area for Bald Eagles. Baynes Sound is used extensively by Western Grebe, Common Loon, Trumpeter Swan, Brant, Mallards, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, and mergansers are common. Bald Eagles congregate in large numbers at the mouth of salmon streams during winter. A colony of Brewer’s Blackbird has been known to nest on a gravel bar in Rosewall Creek.
Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park is located along the Qualicum River, southwest of Qualicum Bay. The 123-hectare park protects seven caves in the Horne Lake Cave system, named after a Hudson Bay Company explorer. Dress warmly and appropriately for caving, and carry a flashlight. Other adventures include canoe and water safety instruction on Horne Lake, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and fishing. There is a private campground adjacent to the park with a boat launch.
Spider Lake Provincial Park encompasses Spider Lake and its shoreline, south of Qualicum Bay. This quiet and peaceful 65-hectare park is a day-use only recreation area, and a great place for a family outing, with the warm water lake being noted for its excellent swimming, canoeing and kayaking potential. Paddlers can spend a peaceful afternoon exploring the shoreline and the many secluded bays. Shaded lakeside trails and a lovely sandy beach make Spider Lake a favoured destination.
Rosewall Creek Provincial Park, just north of Deep Bay on Highway 19, is a small roadside park devoted to riverbank casting at the entrance to Qualicum Bay. Rosewall Creek is an important winter habitat area for waterfowl and shorebirds.
Take a break from the beach and drive north to Buckley Bay for a visit to Denman Island and Hornby Island, located just offshore from Lighthouse Country. These tranquil and enchanting southern Gulf Islands are accessed by a 15-minute ferry ride on the ferry route from Buckley Bay to Denman Island, and a second ferry trip to Hornby Island.