The Comox Valley is a place that tempts the taste buds, soothes the soul and fires the imagination of adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Just over an hour’s drive up-Island from Nanaimo you’ll find the spectacular Comox Valley, home to three unique and distinct communities: Cumberland, Courtenay and Comox. Once a hidden gem, the Comox Valley has been discovered. It’s one of those precious places on Earth where you can ski in the morning and swim in the sea in the afternoon. Surrounded by some of Vancouver Island’s richest farmland, the Valley is fast becoming known for its authentic fine dining, wineries and craft breweries. Throw in some resorts, spas and spectacular scenery and you’ll discover why so many of those who come to visit decide to stay.
Believe it or not, the Comox Valley isn’t really known for its beaches and that’s really weird because it boasts some of the finest beaches on Vancouver Island. Kye Bay, Kin Beach, Goose Spit and Tribune Bay are just minutes away from the commercial centres and well worth the travel. Swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing and fishing charters are all on offer
What is the Comox Valley known for? Why it’s that towering mountain just up-Island. In winter and spring, people come from all over the world to enjoy Mount Washington Alpine Resort’s superb snowboarding and skiing, both downhill and cross-country. In summer and fall, you can ride the chair lifts to the top for alpine hiking and mountain biking, as well as bungee trampolining and mini and disc golf.
When the last ice age melted, extraordinary Cretaceous fossils were exposed along the Puntledge and Trent rivers and just out in the Strait of Georgia on Hornby Island. The folks at the Courtenay and District Museum and Paleontology Centre are keen to take you out fossil hunting along the Puntledge River, and even show you the spot where two amateur fossil hunters found the enormous elasmosaur that’s on display at the museum.
The Courtenay and District Museum and Paleontology Centre isn’t the only museum in the Valley. The Nim Nim Interpretive Centre features the treasures of the local K’ómoks First Nation and the family of the late Chief Nim Nim. The Cumberland Museum & Archives explores that funky community’s coal-mining past. In Comox you’ll find the Comox Museum & Archives and the HMCS Alberni Museum and Memorial. Canadian Forces Base Comox invites you to tour its Comox Air Force Museum, featuring an outdoor Heritage Airpark with real jet fighters!
DENMAN & HORNBY ISLANDS
These funky, rural, scenic Gulf Islands are just offshore from Courtenay-Comox and can be easily accessed via a nearby vehicle ferry. The islands are incredibly scenic with unique shops and eateries, organic farms, rolling hills, sandy beaches and spectacular views of the Strait of Georgia. Great for cycling!
COMOX GLACIER TOUR
49 North Helicopters, based at the airport in nearby Campbell River, offers 45-minute tours over the impressive Comox Glacier, the mountains, Strathcona Park and the sparkling Strait of Georgia. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Bring your camera!
COMOX FISHERMAN’S WHARF
Park anywhere in downtown Comox, tour the unique shops, galleries and eateries and then stroll out along scenic Fisherman’s Wharf. Chat with the fishermen getting their boats ready, wander the walkway and the breakwater and enjoy spectacular views of Comox Bay, Comox Glacier and more.
FILBERG HERITAGE LODGE
Tour master builder William Haggarty’s 1929 arts-and-crafts-style summer lodge, a work of art in stone and timber. Then stroll through nine acres of extensive gardens, featuring a stream running through a natural ravine, rare and exotic trees from all over the world, hundreds of rhododendrons, beds of annuals and perennials, an herb garden, a cutting garden and more.
The Comox Valley is surrounded by mountain peaks, alpine plateaus, rushing rivers and waterfalls. It’s truly a hiker’s paradise. Nearby Strathcona Provincial Park offers 250,000 hectares (617,763 acres), including Lupin Falls, Lady Falls, Upper Myra Falls and Della Falls. Then there’s Forbidden Plateau, Paradise Meadows and the Comox Glacier. The trails range from scenic strolls to challenging climbs, something for every adventurer.
With all that downhill there have to be mountain biking trails, right? Try 250 of them. Pick up a guide at the Visitor Centre or at any bike shop.