The Comox Valley is the perfect place to visit if you want to experience B.C.’s two main attractions—the ocean and the mountains—in the same day. Just over a 30-minute drive from Courtenay is Vancouver Island’s Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Open in early December, Mount Washington offers winter activities for everyone, including skiing, snowshoeing and snow tubing. If you’re looking for something a little outside the ordinary, try the mountain’s alpine or Nordic night skiing before warming up at nearby Ted’s Bar & Grill with an après ski drink.
If you’re a Vancouver brewery addict and worry that leaving the city will mean finding yourself adrift in a sea of big-batch beer, fear not. The Comox Valley is the home a growing craft-beer scene with suds that would make any hop-enthusiast happy. Some highlights include Cumberland Brewing Co.’s Forest Fog and Gladstone Brewing Company’s Fresh-Hopped Red Ale. Grab a draft, chat with the locals and escape the winter weather in the respective tasting rooms.
The Breakwater restaurant, just steps from your Kingfisher suite, focuses on local, seasonal ingredients, offering everything from wild Pacific salmon to a pork loin served with Little Qualicum cheese. The restaurant draws guests and locals alike, making a weekend reservation a near necessity. While the restaurant is open throughout the day, take advantage of the location and come for a leisurely brunch when the view is at its most impressive.
Kingfisher Resort and Spa
Located around an hour north of Nanaimo, the Kingfisher Resort and Spa is the perfect location for a secluded, oceanfront retreat. While there, take advantage of the scenery and opt for a beachfront suite which puts you steps from the ocean with an unobscured view of the beautiful, angry and surprisingly soothing winter waves.
The resort’s attached spa is well worth a visit. Whether it’s a massage, pedicure or facial that you favour, this spot offers them all. However, if you’re looking for something unique, sign up for the resort’s hallmark experience—the Pacific Mist Hydropath. This hour-long relaxing treatment takes you through a series of pools and showers designed to mimic the West Coast’s shoreline. After an hour of soaking, your city troubles will seem a world away.
When heading towards a relaxing weekend in Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley, you will be faced with a decision: take the quick (but boring) Highway 19 or drop down to the leisurely and scenic Oceanside Route. If time is on your side, the Oceanside Route is the clear choice. Tracing the water’s edge, this road will lead you through a series of small towns, oyster farms and stunning vistas. If this drive doesn’t sell you on the charm of island living, nothing will.
From wild landscapes to tranquil spas and fabulous West Coast cuisine, Vancouver Island's Comox Valley is a great escape from the city
Forget about the dismal exchange rate and take advantage of the B.C.’s local offerings this winter. Steer clear of busy island destinations like Victoria and Tofino and elect a quiet retreat in the Comox Valley. Made up of a surprising 10 communities (including towns, unincorporated settlements and two islands), the Comox Valley offers a perfect sampling of the always eclectic Vancouver Island.
Click through for our top reasons to book that ferry reservation now...