Vancouver Island

Sep01

Surfing Tips!

Have you ever gone surfing and caught the biggest wave? Whether or not you are a seasoned surfer or first time catching a wave we have a few tips for you as you set out on your way.

Here are some hot tips provided by Surfer Today!

1. Learn to Pick the Right Wave

2. Fine-Tune the Position on the Peak

3. Eye Your Target

4. Keep a Low Center of Gravity

5. Paddle With Nearly-Closed Fingers

6. Check the Time Period Between Waves

7. Adjust Your Feet While Riding the Wave

8. Set One Goal and Improve It

9. Manage the Wave Face Timing

10. Watch Wave Videos in Slow Motion

11. Analyze Your Mistakes

12. Broaden the Working Area on the Wave Face

13. Pick the Right Surfboard for the Right Wave

14. Focus on Rail-to-Rail Surfing

15. Learn How Waves Are Formed

Most importantly Breakaway Vacation reminds you, and your family to have fun!

Jul05

Picture this: You spent the entire day in the Qualicum Landing pool and hot tub splashing and playing in the sun. But your stomach begins to rumble and you are ready to eat! No worries! In under 20 minutes you can be in Coombs at one of our favourite local spots: Cuckoo Trattoria!

Cuckoo is located in the Coombs Market (famous for their goats on the roof, amongst other things!) So head over a bit early and take your time wandering the local shops before heading in for dinner.

Cuckoo boasts a large menu of delicious authentic Italian cuisine made with local West Coast ingredients. The best traditional Italian recipes we all love! From pasta, to Italian thin crust pizza, homemade desserts and more.  Head Chef Fausto Bellicini was born and raised in Italy and brought all his expertise to us locally in the heart of Coombs. You can read more about Chef Fausto here. Choose to eat in or take out, but I recommend staying and enjoying the ambiance!

A few of our favourite dishes:

Fettuccine Salmone – The Italian spin on a West Coast classic, with wild B.C. smoked salmon, garlic, capers, dill and a touch of white wine in a light cream sauce

Boscaiola – Flavours of the forest, with local wild chanterelles and a medley of seasonal mushrooms sautéed with garlic & thyme, topped with mozzarella cheese on a creamy mascarpone cheese base, drizzled with Italian truffle’s oil

Mussels – Fresh steamed mussels served Neapolitan style with garlic and white wine, or yellow curry and coconut milk

Your taste buds will be tingling the minute you walk in the door with the aroma of fresh, local, delicious, homemade Italian meals and ingredients.

Be sure to check out Cuckoo Trattoria during your stay at Qualicum Landing!

Realm Local Food
Jun28

Looking for a taste of local food during your Tanglewood stay? We have loads of tips on local treats and eats, and Realm Food Co is high on our list! Realm is a great place from breakfast, to on the go bites, tacos, sandwiches and so much more!

Located minutes from Tanglewood in Parksville is Realm is a great pick for a meal out. All the items on the menu are sourced locally right from Vancouver Island, and we all know you can’t beat the taste of local. Check out Realm Food Co’s website to see all the items on the menu and explore more about them.

A couple of our favourites on the menu are:

Ramen (vegan options available) – poached egg, bone broth, carrot, cabbage, kale, wild mushrooms, rice noodles, nori, bone broth, chili-hoisin gastrique choice of chicken, pork or tempeh

West Coast Bowl – seared albacore tuna, avocado, carrot, beet, sprouts, cabbage, marinated kale, rice, nori, chipotle-basil aïoli, ponzu sauce

Local Sandwich -basil chèvre, marinated tomato, cucumber, apple-thyme slaw, greens, sprouts, turmeric aioli

Looking to bring the deliciously fresh food back to your Tanglewood Beach Home patio – Realm offers take out so you can bring it back to your beautiful beach home for the entire family to enjoy.

Haven’t booked your island vacation yet? Make sure to check out our rentals page to see all that we offer – and get in touch if you have any questions at all!

Eat Local, Eat Fresh!

B.C. Forest Fires
Jul02

The truth is that B.C. is both heavily forested (which we love) and can be incredibly hot and dry (perfect for beaches)—but sometimes these two beautiful sentiments combine into something nefarious: B.C. forest fires. First of all: take a deep breath! You don’t necessarily have to cancel your trip and forest fire-related casualties are exceedingly rare (and more likely for emergency personnel like police and firefighters).   

That being said, here are 6 things you should know about B.C. forest fires before your trip.  

Many, Many Forest Fires are Human-Started  

This is the sad truth. So many forest fires could be prevented each year if campers, hikers, visitors, and locals worked together to adhere to fire safety rules. Never throw a cigarette butt on the ground; listen to fire bans in the area; make sure your fire pit is completely extinguished before going to sleep; never leave live flames unattended.   

B.C. Averages 1,352 Wildfires Annually, but…  

Many of them are small, quickly put out, or far away from human civilization of any kind. In fact, forest fires are a natural and important part of the ecosystem. It clears away dead matter from the forest floor and makes room for fresh, new growth. Sometimes controlled burns (human started and monitored) are used to “clean up” the ecosystem on purpose.   

COVID-19 Actually Decreased the Number of Fires in B.C.  

This is mainly because people were not travelling and therefore were not lighting fires or leaving them unattended. As stated before, please, please take care while camping or hiking so that you aren’t the cause of an unexpected blaze.   

Many B.C. Cities and Towns Are Not Affected  

Many areas don’t get that many forest fires and the most you see will be a bit of smoke in the sky. You will still be able to be outside, go to beaches, attend events, camp, and go about your daily life. The only time you need to take caution is when there is an air quality warning.  

You Can Track Current Wildfire Activity  

Worried about whether a fire will pop up in your area? You can track B.C. wildfire activity yearly using the B.C. government’s wildfire dashboard. Fires are very common but most of them are so small or isolated that you won’t even notice them during your stay.   

We Will Inform You of Noteworthy Fires Beforehand  

We send out newsletters that encompass everything from local events in the area to wildfire warnings. If something is amiss, we’ll let you know well ahead of time. This includes anything like water advisories, major highway shutdowns, and anomalous weather events. We strive to keep you informed all throughout your trip!   

Always be fire safe but also keep in mind that fires are a normal part of the first lifecycle and are usually not cause for alarm at all. Still have questions? Give us a call at Breakaway Vacations.  

You might also like Vancouver Island Cabin Rentals: 7 Things to Look for Before You Book

Parksville and Qualicum Beach events
May28

Visiting Vancouver Island this spring? Be sure to check out these Parksville and Qualicum Beach events (+ some greater area stuff) for June 2021. Be sure to follow all COBID-19 safety protocols during your visit. And, as always, respect and honour the local community!

1. The 5K Foam Fest
Sat., Jun. 5, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Arbutus Meadows Event and Equestrian Centre
1515 Island Hwy E, Nanoose Bay, BC

5k Foam Fest has 22 of some of the best and most exciting Obstacles in the world including the worlds largest inflatable waterslide, slip and slides, and mucky mud pits. Combine these with 2.5 million cubic feet of foam that we pump out at each event and you are destined to have an awesome day!

2. Rollin’ With It at Qualicum Museum
Thu., Jun. 10, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Qualicum Beach Museum
587 Beach Rd, Qualicum Beach, BC

For adults who want to get outside and bring your preschooler – in a stroller, carrier, or walking. Rain or shine. Book your spot here.

3. BC Shellfish And Seafood Festival 2021
Jun. 11 – 20

Vancouver Island Conference Centre
101 Gordon St, Nanaimo, BC

BC Seafood Festival is one of the largest seafood industry trade events in the pacific northwest attracting suppliers, qualified domestic and international buyers. Seafood lovers will enjoy sampling the food and even packing some up to take back home.

4. Munchkinland at Storybook Village
Fri., Jun. 11, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Qualicum Commons
744 Primrose St, Qualicum Beach, BC

Munchkinland is a free program for children birth to kindergarten age and their adult. Oceanside BLT Munchkinland in Qualicum Beach is part of the BC StrongStart program.

5. Jett Auto Auction
Sat., Jun. 12, 11:30 a.m.

JETT Auction
861 Allsbrook Rd, Parksville, BC

We are a Wholesale Auto Auction Open to the Public! Over 100 vehicles for sale each week; chances are that you will find what you are looking for!

6. Saturday Breakfast Club at Family Place
Sat., Jun. 12, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Family Place (School District 69)
494 Bay Ave, Parksville, BC

Kids can come play at Parksville Muchkinalnd and the adults are given a breakfast-themed takeaway when they leave. Be sure to book ahead to secure a spot.

7. Topless Breakfast at Ricky’s
Sat., Jun. 12, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Ricky’s All Day Grill – Parksville
1480 Huntley Rd, Parksville, BC

Meetup for Breakfast with your convertible and some good conversation! After breakfast, for those interested, maybe go for drive to Cumberland. This is a local Meet Up event!

8. Art Bites ONLINE – Oil Pastels with Deborah Nicol
Sun., Jun. 13, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

McMillan Arts Centre
133 McMillan St, Parksville, BC

Try out this fun art medium with Deborah Nicol. Deb started her artistic endeavors with pencil portraits, quickly moving into Oil Pastels and Oils and expanding into landscapes and paintings of children. Deb also teaches Art Bites Acrylics classes.

9. Cruise Night – Parksville/Qualicum Beach
Fri., Jun. 18, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Parksville Community Park
193 Beachside Dr, Parksville, BC

Kick-off  Father’s Day Weekend with a cruise; open to everyone driving a classic vehicle who wants to join 400 plus enthusiasts for a scenic cruise of the Parksville & Qualicum Beach area. Food vendors and merchandise sales on-site including T-shirts, hats, souvenirs, raffles, and lots more.

10. Poker Run
Sat., Jun. 19, 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Parksville Community Park
193 Beachside Dr, Parksville, BC

Open to 150 pre-registered vehicles only due to limited space at our host location. Merchandise sales on site including T-Shirts, hats, souvenirs, and raffle tickets. Learn more here.

Need somewhere to stay on Vancouver Island so that you can make it to these great events? Contact us at Breakaway Vacations and we’ll set you up with the luxury vacation rental of your dreams.

Pender Island Attractions
May21

There’s a lot to love about Pender Island. Here are some of our favourite Pender Island attractions, sites, and hot spots.   

The Beaches  

Pender Island is divided into the North and South islands and both have plenty of beaches to choose from. Try Beaumont Marine Park or Brooks Point Regional Park (south island) or Roe Lake, Medicine Beach Sanctuary, or Roesland Gulf National Park (north island). Waterfront hot spots vary across the island so you might find rocky shore, silky smooth sands, or winding marina docks. 

Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards  

If you know anything about B.C., you know that we love our vineyards and wineries. Pender Island has one of its own: Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards. Their tasting room is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 PM. They were featured by SIP Northwest as one of the “9 Wineries to Visit Before You Die”.

The Parks  

Pender Island offers many parks and natural areas for the wilderness loving traveler. Check out Greenburn Lake or Bridge Trail park on the south island; or, try Community Park or Roe Lake on the north island. You can also access many areas of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, which has touchpoints on both island halves and spand across 15 islands total!

Mount Norman  

Mount Norman Park spans over 100 hectares of land covered by plains, forests, and mountain slopes. Mt Norman is actually a part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, as well. You can trek to the mountain summit (44 metres/800 feet) for an unparalleled view of the vistas and waters.

Kayak Rentals   

Pender Island is a great tourist spot for water sports like kayaking and canoeing. Check out Pender Island Kayak Adventure or Dog Mermaid Eco Excursions. These venues offer hosted tours, day trips, or DIY equipment rentals. Any waterway adventure has the potential to expose you to B.C. wildlife like eagles, sea otters, and whales.

The Hiking Trails   

Pender Island has plenty of hiking trails to choose from with varying degrees of difficulty and length. Do some research on the paths before you depart. You can try Beaumont Trail, Greenburn Lake Look Out, William Walker Trail, as well as smaller local hidden gems.

Pender Island Golf & Country Club  

Pender Island Golf & Country Club is very close to Otter Bay and has been in operation since 1945. This 9 hole public golf course is open year round and the property includes access to a well stocked golf shop and the El Faro lounge. You can also book golf lessons with trainers on site.

The Coffee Shops  

Pender Island shirks big chain venues in favour of small, locally owned cafes like Vanilla Leaf Bakery Cafe and Slow Coast Coffee. Wherever you are staying will have its secret spots and local favourites. Be sure to ask around or do a bit of online searching to see what’s around.

The Summer Markets   

Both North Pender Island and South Pender Island have their own major farmers’ markets. Up north, keep a look out for the aptly-named Farmer’s Market on Pender Island; down south, look for Nighthawk Farm Farmers’ Market. Both have a wide variety of local goods.

Breakaway Vacations Cottages

Big, sterile hotel chains are so blah. As a tourist hub, Pender Island offers visitors a broad choice of where they want to say. For example, a luxury lakeside vacation cottage with access to a pool, BBQs, outdoor seating, and firepits. Contact us at Breakaway Vacations and ask about Pender Island vacation rental availability for summer.  

What Pender Island attractions are you most excited for? Let us know so we can help you plan the perfect getaway.

Vancouver Island Cabin Rentals
May14

Vancouver Island is a perfect vacation location in Canada. People from across Canada and around the world travel to British Columbia to enjoy the hot weather, expansive beaches, and vibrant wineries. You might be looking for Vancouver Island Cabin Rentals as an affordable and personable alternative to corporate hotel brands. If so, there are a few things you should consider before booking your cabin rental.  

What is Your Budget for the Trip?

Vacation budgets vary wildly and also depend on how long you’ll be staying and what type of activities you’ll be participating in while there. the Island is a great destination because there are plenty of free activities to partake in, like exploring the local parks.   

Sit down with a spreadsheet or checklist and brainstorm how much you are looking to spend on lodgings, food, activities, and travel expenses like gas or plane tickets. Remember: You’ll be spending a lot of time at your rental cottage and will want it to be comfortable, spacious, and safe. You can skimp on your food and drink budget but it’s best not to skimp on where you’ll be sleeping.   

Regardless, there are vacation cottages on Vancouver Island ranging from $100/night upward so you are sure to find something that fits within the range you set for yourself.  

How Many People Are Staying with You?

This will help you determine how many beds and rooms are needed within your vacation cottage of choice. More rooms tend to have a higher expense. Fewer rooms will allow you to save money. See if anyone in your group is willing to sleep on a couch or pullout bed—these tend to be located in the den area and don’t add much extra cost.   

1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom cottages are pretty reliably available, as they tend to be the more popular sizes. You can also consider splitting your group up into smaller, more manageable parties and booking separate rentals for each clan. For something like that, you might want to seek out a rental cottage community so that you are still in close proximity to one another. 

Are Pets Allowed at Your Cabin?

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Not every vacation property allows pets so be sure to call ahead and get a clear yes or no answer before you pack Fido up in her kennel!  

Are There Budget Vacation Deals Available?

Watch for booking deals for longer stays, last-minute rental discounts, or off-season specials to save a bit of money on your per-night rate. The best way to do this is to follow local Vancouver Island tourism companies on social media, where they are most likely to post and advertise these sorts of things. For example, you can find Breakaway Vacations on Facebook!

How Well-Cared for are the Vancouver Island Cabin Rentals?

Check online ratings, look at photos (and ask how recent they are), and email the cottage owner about cleaning regulations between guests. You don’t want to be stuck in a place that looks like it’s falling apart, nor do you want to be deceived by interior images that are way out of date. Don’t be afraid to push a bit here and get all the information you need to make the best decision.  

Does it Come with Any Perks (pool access, WIFI)?

Not all cottage rentals will come with extras, nor should they, but it’s always a nice thing to have! Ask about:  

  • Free WIFI access   
  • Private yard space (with furniture?)   
  • Pool access   
  • Firepit access  
  • BBQ access  
  • Boardgames   
  • DVDs or Netflix login  
  • Any other perks you can think of 
  • How Long are You Staying? Is It During Busy Season?

If you are planning a longer trip or booking for the busy season (summertime, holidays, and so on) then be sure to start looking far, far in advance to make sure you get what you need before it sells out.   

Do You Need Some Expert Help Picking between Vancouver Island Cabin Rentals?  

Give us a call or email at Breakaway Vacations if you need help picking a cabin or cottage rental that works best for you. We have several luxury cottages available across the main Island, Pender Island, and more.    

Group Trip Blog banner
Jan08

A group trip with friends seems like the ideal way to spend a long weekend or week away. Who doesn’t love seeing new sites with a close-knit pack of friends and family? Together, you can book group activities, split costs, and—most importantly—share memories.   

However, group trips can be daunting if not done right. Try these 5 tips to plan the perfect, hassle-free group trip.   

1. Pick a Leader and an “Accountant”   

You’ll want one person sending out all the group emails, making spreadsheets, researching activities, and planning carpools. Another person (or the same person) should be responsible for dividing costs and collecting payments from everyone in the group. Collecting money can be a bit of a drag—that’s why we suggest taking it off your Leader’s plate and having a dedicated team “accountant.”  

Bonus Tip: For payment splitting, try apps like Splitwise or Venmo.   

2. Use a Survey for Big Questions   

Getting everyone on the same page is tough. Where do you want to go? When do you want to leave? How much do you want to spend? What do you want to do while there? Planning a group trip relies on “majority rules”, otherwise we would never get anywhere. Try free survey apps like Google FormsSurveyMonkey, or Zoho Survey to gather feedback and share results as you go.   

Bonus Tip: Make sure you have an ongoing group chat to keep everyone up to date. Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts are free!   

3. Pick a Budget (and Keep to It)  

Choosing a budget for a group trip is often one of the most difficult things to do. You’ll want to tailor the budget to those with both small and large amounts of disposable income. One way to do this is to travel off-season or keep an eye out for flight deals using apps like Hopper. You can also have “optional” activity days where those who want to buy tickets to this or that can while others enjoy a cheap/free day at a pool, beach, or park.   

4. Book By-Owner Rentals Instead of Hotels   

Hotels are high cost and low personability. Not only that but they tend to be less environmentally friendly than their rental-by-owner counterparts (think AirBNB or Breakaway Vacations many rental properties). By-owner rentals have the same sense of professionalism and luxury but are more ingrained within the community in which they are established. They are also more likely to pair with local businesses for promotions and events!   

5. Pre-Plan an Activity or Two Per Day   

Group trips are the perfect opportunity to try new things abroad. You can book adventure activities like bungee jumping or scuba diving; you can focus on cheap activities like hiking or seeing local landmarks; or you can pick out some of the best food and drinks hangout spots to try. Daily activities are the key to getting the most out of your trip and your time together. However, for everyone’s sanity, make sure to leave room for free time, too!   

Conclusion   

Planning a group trip doesn’t have to be a burden. If done correctly, it can be a ton of fun for yourself and everyone else involved. If you need somewhere to stay in British Columbia, check out our vacation rental locations in Kelowna and on Vancouver Island.

Travel 2021
Jan01

COVID-19 put a damper on travel and recreational plans around the globe. Our wanderlust has to be put on hold while the word began to heal. Near the end of 2020 summer, we saw travel restrictions begin to ease. As the pandemic ebbs and flows, we must play the role of a knowledgeable and conscious global citizen. Now, it’s a new year. What will the 2021 travel landscape look like?   

We want all you travelers to stay safe and stay healthy, so we’ve compiled some things you need to know.   

1. Solitary Travel is IN—Consider Touring a National Park, Camping, Hiking, or Bird Watching.  

If you are still feeling iffy about being in groups, never fear. There are ways to explore the world while allotting yourself some much needed (2-meter!) space. Camping or touring remote wilderness areas in small groups are just some of the ways that people are keeping travel plans safe. Research what National Parks are close to you to get some ideas. You might also want to try searching for the best hikes in your state or province and seeking them out!   

2. Keep Abreast of Travel Restrictions and Requirements—Go Above and Beyond in Following Them.   

Before you make any plans, be sure to know the ins and outs of any COVID restrictions in the area. Even if the restrictions are weaker where you’re from, it’s important to respect the community you are visiting and go above and beyond to adhere to their guidelines. Practice good travel hygiene by wearing a mask, carrying hand sanitizer, washing your hands frequently, and keeping a safe distance between your group and others. Better safe than sorry—especially when you are just a visitor in someone else’s home!   

3. Consider a Vacation Close to Home—Travel Within Your Country, State, or Province.   

If you don’t want to risk international travel right now, try something closer to home. Consider a weekend trip somewhere nearby, maybe a city or camping spot that you have always been meaning to try. There are plenty of places within your own “backyard” that you most likely have yet to visit. Try searching some must-see spots in your province or state and make a plan to check them out this year.   

4. Remember That Big Hotels May Not Be as Safe as COVID-Safe as Private Rentals.  

When filled to capacity, hotels can be quite a virus hotspot. Not to mention those big corporations tend to cut corners when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting shared spaces. That’s why we recommend private vacation rentals for any 2021 travel plans you may have. All Breakaway Vacations locations adhere to the strictest cleanliness standards—and we are available to chat at the venue anytime if you have issues. Find us on Airbnb or on the Breakaway Vacations website for a list of available vacation rentals.  

Conclusion   

We won’t know for sure what 2021 travel will look like. We might see travel restrictions ease and tighten as things change. Plan to be a respectful and conscious traveler this year. It’s going to take all of us working together to keep our towns and cities happy and healthy.

Winter activities
Dec04

You don’t need to be cooped up indoors during your stay at a Breakaway Vacation property in Parksville or Qualicum Beach from November through January. Vancouver Island, while renowned for its summertime affairs, has plenty to do even when the snow starts falling. Plus, you won’t have to fight the typical warm-weather crowds! Here are a few winter activities you can look forward to in the area.

  1. New Year’s Day Annual Polar Bear Splash

Don’t mind the chill? Want a challenge? Join the Parksville community on New Years Day as residents and visitors alike participate in the Polar Bear Splash. Dash into the winter-chilled ocean at Parkville Beach to brave the cold.

  1. Sports at Oceanside Place

Oceanside Place is a sports and ice area that is perfect for the whole family. They have an active skate schedule on their website if you want to pop by. You can also catch an Oceanside Generals game, if you want to watch the local hockey team.

  1. Winter Hiking

There are plenty of hiking areas that are open year-round, like Little Qualicum Falls, Top Bridge Park, Englishman River Falls, or Rathtrevor Beach. Most are empty during the winter months even though they are open, meaning you can have the trails and scenery all to yourselves!

  1. Take a Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tour

These are available year-round and offer trips suitable for families and seniors. You can pick the theme of your tour, ranging from nature tours to wine tours. The Salmon Spawning Tour is only available in October and November, making it a winter-exclusive activity!

  1. Horne Lake Caving, Winter Edition

We love caving year-round but winter caving tours tend to be less crowded and offer a different experience due to increased levels of moisture for the season. Horne Lake Caves offers October through January bookings with limited availability, so call ahead and save your spot.

  1. Visit Grotto Spa

The Tigh-Na-Mara Grotto Spa just outside of Parkville was named one of the top spas in Canada by Spas of America in 2018! Check out the large mineral pool, the relaxation lounge, various spa treatments, and finish your night with a meal from the attached Cedars Restaurant & Longue.

Vancouver Island has many, many things to do in the winter months. Want to hear more about where to stay to access these winter activities? Reach out to the Breakaway Vacation staff, we would be happy to help.