We are always on the look-out for unique trails that our entire family can enjoy. Which often means walking trails that are relatively flat, have visual interest, and in general, kid-friendly. As we live in Nanoose Bay, our go-to is the Oceanside area.
The following is a list of our favourite easy, kid-friendly trails in Oceanside, that also happen to be stroller-friendly too.
If you are looking for a similar post for the Nanaimo area, please read:
Easy Oceanside Trails
Location: Qualicum Bay and Bowser
This trail actually has two separate loops, the North Loop and the South Loop.
The South Loop parking lot is located at the end of Lioness Blvd (off Lions Way, off Hwy 19A) in downtown Qualicum Bay. The North Loop and Wildwood Community Park parking lot is located on McColl Rd in Bowser, one block inland from Hwy 19A.
Length of Trail(s):
- The North Loop is 2 km in length (Bowser)
- The South Loop is 2.5 km in length (Qualicum Bay)
the North Loop and adjacent Wildwood Community Park provide approximately 2 km of easy wandering, while the South Loop offers everything from a finished wheelchair accessible trail to woodlot road and rough trail experiences. Along the way, enjoy benches, picnic table, wood carvings, and a continuous tapping rail for the visually or balance impaired (South Loop).
Big Qualicum River Trail
Location: Qualicum Bay
The trailhead is located at the Big Qualicum River Salmon Hatchery on Fisheries Rd (off Horne Lake Rd between Hwy 19 and Hwy 19A). There is plenty of parking available.
Length of Trail: 10 km (one way)
The trail starts at the Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery and follows the 10 km-long, gravel hatchery service road the length of the river. Amble along under the riverside tree canopy, and while you are there make sure to explore the Hatchery. There is lots of fish action if you happen to be in the area in the Fall. The trail is also a great level route for family cycling groups.
Important to note: If you happen to make it to the end of the trail, you wind up just before Horne Lake Caves Rd, which is a narrow active logging road unsuitable for walkers and cyclists.
Location: Qualicum Beach
There are a few access points and parking areas for the Heritage Forest. The main access is next to the Crown Mansion on Crescent Road (292 Crescent Road East, Qualicum Beach). There is also parking available on Chester Road, Hemsworth Road, and St. Andrews Road.
Length of Trail: There is approximately 2 km of trails available for public use.
This little gem of a forest sits in the heart of Qualicum Beach. It’s a quiet unassuming place to take a leisurely stroll. You will be amongst ancient Douglas Fir trees, and will probably hear and/or see a variety of birds. On your walk, you will also view Western Red Cedar, Hemlock, Grand Fir and Sitka Spruce. Use the provided benches to sit and enjoy your surroundings. The bark mulched trails that meander through the 50-acre property are wide, flat and easy to walk on.
Location: Milner Gardens is located in Qualicum Beach off of highway 19A (West Island Hwy). The official address is 2179 West Island Highway, Qualicum Beach.
Length of Trail: Approximately 10 acres of woodland garden trails.
This seaside garden in Qualicum Beach offers 70 acres of unspoiled natural beauty. Stroll through the winding pathways lined with old Douglas Firs. Or meander through 10 acres of woodland gardens filled with rhododendrons and trilliums. End the afternoon with High Tea at the Historic Milner House, while ogling the panoramic ocean views.
Important to Note: There is a fee to access this garden, as well as limited hours of availability. Please check the website for Milner Gardens for up-to-date information.
Location(s): Coombs and Parksville
The Rail Trail follows along the south side of the E&N tracks between Coombs and Parksville.
- At the Coombs end, the Rail Trail starts at the kiosk across from Station Rd where a crosswalk and pedestrian controlled beacons help you cross busy Hwy 4A.
- At the Parksville end, the Rail Trail begins at Springwood Park on Despard Ave. The trailhead with kiosk is near the dog park parking lot.
Length of Trail: Approximately 7 km’s (one way)
This trail offers access to either Coombs or Parksville (depending on where you start). It is a 3 metre-wide tread surface trail finished with compacted gravel. Other than the first 200 m at the Springwood entrance, the entire trail has only a 5% grade, making it ideal for a family bike trip (as well as stroller-friendly, and wheel-chair accessible).
Location: Parksville Community Park (193 Beachside Dr, Parksville)
Length of Trail: Approximately 1 km (total)
The boardwalk, as it is known, is ideal for convenient access to the vast sandy beaches of Parksville Bay or for a beautiful stroll along the water. The boardwalk, which is 4.5 meters wide, accommodates pedestrians as well as wheelchairs and strollers. It is loved by all as is illustrated by the multitude of dog-walkers, joggers, families, cyclists, skateboarders and people on rollerblades using the path each day.
While you are there make sure to enjoy the various other activities the Community Park offers, including:
- Horseshoe Pits
- Kite field
- Playground and waterpark
- Picnic tables, shelters, and gazebo
- Skateboard Park
- Beach Volleyball Courts
- Tennis Courts
- Outdoor Gym area
- Concession stand(s)
Rathtrevor Beach Trail
Location: Rathtrevor Provincial Park (1240 Rath Road, Parksville)
Length of Trail: Approximately 3.5 km loop
This trail takes visitors through a mature Douglas fir and Western red cedar forest, along the top side of Rathtrevor beach, and through the Rathtrevor Provincial Park campground. The trail is level and wide, making it ideal for a family-friendly walk or bike ride, strollers and wheelchairs. There’s a good chance you’ll see Eagles and hawks soaring above, as well as hear the distant distinctive bark of the sea lions.
Did we miss any of your favourite easy trails in Oceanside? Let us know in the comments below.
To save this article for future use, please save this image on Pinterest.