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Why You Would Want To Live in Parksville

If you are looking for a “small town” community feel, but want all the modern comforts of a larger city such as a wide selection of restaurants, shopping venues, recreational facilities, and healthcare providers, then Parksville would be a great choice. 

Vancouver Island’s premier beachside community, Parksville attracts retirees, young families, and urban professionals who desire a good quality of life, a mild climate, and a west coast lifestyle. This area is increasingly becoming known as “Canada’s retirement destination,” and in response the community is being built out to cater to the older demographics, offering a noticeably high number of 1-storey, rancher-style homes perfect for aging in place, but its attraction for younger, growing families is also evident. 

Area Overview

Parksville is located just a 20-minute drive north of Nanaimo, and just south of Qualicum Beach on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Seasonally, Parksville is a tourist town with Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park and the main Parksville Beach being the primary draws. There are a number of resorts located along Resort Drive, just south of town, which provide easy access to the long, sandy Rathtrevor Beach. 

Service sector jobs catering to either tourists or the aging population are the primary economic drivers in the community. With Nanaimo just a 20-minute drive away, the option exists for professionals to reside in Parksville for the lifestyle benefits while making the daily commute to Nanaimo for work.


Parksville has 2 elementary schools, Springwood Elementary and Ecole Oceanside Elementary, where students attend from Kindergarten to Grade 7.

From Grade 8-12, students will attend Ecole Ballenas Secondary.


Parksville offers a good variety of shopping options. For essentials, Quality Foods, Thrifty Foods, and Save-on-Foods provide ample options for grocery shopping, with health products and prescription needs being met by drug stores such as Shopper’s Drug Mart. There is a Canadian Tire located at Wembley Mall and also a distinctly local flavour in the downtown stores, with a variety of local, specialty stores offering a variety of goods. Just a short drive away, the Coombs Country Market offers a selection of local shops, craft goods, as well as freshly grown produce. 

A 20-minute drive south will find you in North Nanaimo, home to Vancouver Island’s largest mall, Woodgrove Centre, a Costco, and a number of other big box and building supply stores.

Recreational Opportunities

Recreational opportunities abound in and around Parksville. Naturally, spending time at the beach is one of the primary draws. Swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding are all great options at one of Parksville’s many beaches. Nearby French Creek and Fairwinds Marinas at Schooner Cove provide convenient access for boating, sailing, and fishing. Golfers will appreciate the abundance of quality courses located within a 15-minute drive, including Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville and Fairwinds Golf Club in Nanoose Bay, two of the Island’s best. There are various hiking and walking trails found throughout the community, with the Englishman River trail being a local favorite. Following a busy day, a trip to one of the impressive spas at one of the area’s resorts is always a treat. 


Parksville has a number of family-friendly entertainment options. The Paradise Fun Park, complete with mini-golf, bumper boats, and an arcade, is always a hit with the kids. Alternatively, a couple of other options include the Riptide Lagoon Adventure Golf and Sunset Bowling Lanes. Throughout the winter, hockey fans will enjoy attending the Junior B Oceanside Generals games at Oceanside Place. Alternatively, junior A hockey is available just a short drive away in Nanaimo. 

Nearby Coombs, famous for the goats on the roof, offers a variety of options, including Butterfly World, North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, as well as Go-karts at the Fast Time Grand Prix.  


For the size of the community, Parksville has an impressive selection and variety of restaurants. 

Whether you are in the mood for Seafood, Fish & Chips, Indian, Thai, Chinese, or a more casual dining experience at a local pub, Parksville has a variety of quality, local options for you. In addition, chain and fast-food restaurants such as Boston Pizza, Smitty’s, McDonald's, Dairy Queen, and Subway, provide some alternative options while the Cuckoo Trattoria & Pizzeria in Coombs is another great choice, with residents of other Island cities often making the drive to experience the delectable Italian fare. 


Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park is a major draw, with its impressive sandy beach which at low tide appears to go on forever. The 39 acre Community Park along the waterfront is another popular attraction, offering such amenities as the waterfront boardwalk walkway, horseshoe pits, a kite field, lacrosse box, playground and waterpark, skateboard park, tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, and sports fields. Springwood Park is the community’s primary outdoor sports complex, while nearby Top Bridge Park, with its 5 km walking trails and prime swimming holes, is definitely a local favorite.  In addition, there are approximately 28 smaller parks scattered throughout the community, contributing to the great quality of life Parksville has become known for.