The friendly seaside community of Qualicum Bay is situated in Lighthouse Country, which incorporates the small communities of Horne Lake, Qualicum Bay, Bowser and Deep Bay.
Combining natural scenic beauty with a wide variety of unique beachfront motels, cottages, bed & breakfasts, RV parks and campgrounds, visitors to Ligthouse Country can enjoy a wealth of outdoor activities, and are sure to leave with fond vacation memories.
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. Qualicum Bay is part of the 60 miles of coastline and sandy beaches in Lighthouse Country. You are always close to the ocean, overlooking Georgia Strait, with all the clams and oysters you can eat.
Qualicum Bay is accessed on Highway 19A, or off the parallel Island Highway 19 by exiting between Qualicum Beach and Fanny Bay. For much of the way between Courtenay and Campbell River the Island Highway runs beside Qualicum Bay, an area rich in seafood. Pullouts beside the road give easy access to the bay’s sand and pebble beaches. At several places you can buy fresh seafood, brought to the docks daily from local waters.
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.
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Arts: Lighthouse Country boasts world-class artists and artisans.
Just off McColl Road between Bowser and Qualicum Bay, 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.
Wildlife: Beyond the frothing surf along the shoreline, you’ll hear the playful barking of seals. Be sure to bring a pair of binoculars to watch the bald eagles, sea lions, harbour seals and the occasional killer whale pod.
Golf: Five minutes south of Qualicum Bay is the Arrowsmith Golf & Country club, an 18-hole full-service course with clubhouse. There are no fewer than 6 world-class golf courses in the Qualicum Bay area, and the pleasant, sunny climate means play continues year round. Other courses include the Eaglecrest Golf Club, Pheasant Glen Golf Resort, and the Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course. Vancouver Island Golf Vacations.
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.
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.
Rosewall Creek Provincial Park is located just north of Deep Bay on Highway 19. Rosewall Creek Park is a small roadside park devoted to riverbank casting at the entrance to Qualicum Bay, and is an important winter habitat area for waterfowl and shorebirds.
Immediately north of Qualicum Bay is the small waterfront community of Bowser. 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!
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. 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.
Baynes Sound north of Qualicum Bay 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.