Vancouver Island

woman swimming in deep water

One of the best parts of visiting B.C. during the summer is the warm weather and the sandy beaches. Fun must go hand-in-hand with safety, though, so here are some waterside tips for families to follow.

1. Check for Flags & Signs

Some beaches use flags and signs to denote location-specific warnings, like hazardous areas or dangerous marine life in the area. Any on-duty lifeguard will be able to explain these signs to you in they are unclear. If there is no lifeguard on duty, a quick Google search or a call/visit to a Visitors Information Centre should do the trick.

2. Apply and Reapply Sunscreen

Obviously, UV rays can damage our very sensitive skin and even lead to melanoma and other permanent damage. Water, sweat, and physical activity can rub or wash away applied sunscreen throughout the day so you can’t just set it and forget it. Reapply any time you come out of the water and/or every 2 hours. You should also put sunscreen on 30 minutes prior to sun exposure to ensure it’s properly absorbed by the skin beforehand.

3. Maintain a Safe Distance From Others

Not only does this stop the spread of infectious diseases but it also prevents accidents and is proper beach etiquette. If you can, maintain a safe 6-foot distance from others. Try visiting the beach during “off hours”, like while locals are at work, or hunting for more spacey spots to sit, even if they are farther from the water.

4. Know Some Swimming Basics

Make sure everyone in your group knows basic swimming and water safety. At the very least, they should be able to dog paddle or hold their breath and float on their back. Swim in pairs (or more) for maximum safety. Younger children should wear floating devices or lifejackets if they are at risk. If you are a weak swimmer, keep an open water float nearby.

5. Keep Near to a Source of Shade

Whether it’s a tree or a beach umbrella you brought along, a source of shade is important to protect against burns as well as sun sickness/stroke. Be sure you are drinking plenty of water, too, which will also help against the latter. Heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and sun poisoning are always a risk when it’s bright and hot outside.

Keep these beach and swimming tips in mind and ask a lifeguard in the area if you need more assistance. No lifeguard? Defer to the strongest swimmer in the family, watch out for one another, and travel (swim) in groups. Swim safe and have fun!

No beach plans yet? Maybe it’s because you haven’t found the right vacation spot yet. Contact us to book one of our cottages or rental properties for your family vacation.

Winter Sports

3 Places for Winter Sports on Vancouver Island

Mountain landscapes are idyllic in the wintertime—glittering, powdery snow lining elegant slopes; rays of bright sunshine peeking through the clouds; sentinel-like fir trees topped in fluffy white caps. The perfect way to take all of this in is skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing across kilometers of fresh, fantastic trails.

Is there skiing and snowboarding on Vancouver Island? You bet! Sure, there is more variety on the mainland but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out the local haunts on the Island. Luckily, our vacation properties in Qualicum Beach and Parksville are a few hours’ drive from some of the best winter sports hubs on the Island.

  1. Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Mount Washington Alpine Resort is the only ski hill on Vancouver Island with maintained trails, hence it’s rabid popularity. The resort is open for outdoor activity year-round but wintertime is obviously the hit season. As soon as snowfall lands, guests will be privy to 1,700 acres and 505 vertical metres of alpine terrain, 55kms of cross-country skiing and 25kms of snowshoeing trails along with a dedicated Nordic lodge, Tube Park, and Fat Bike trails.

  1. Mount Cain

Mount Cain is Vancouver Island’s only 100% Canadian owned and operated ski resort, which makes it stand out for that reason alone. Mount Cain opens in early December (snow permitting) and closes early April, conditions permitting with an average snowfall of 1500cm/30f annually. They offer both groomed and ungroomed territory with varying levels of difficulty. Mt. Cain is located near Schoen Lake provincial park and is run by the Mt. Cain Alpine Park Society.

  1. JumpCamp

JumpCamp is a registered non-profit organization with youth programs and opportunities and partnerships with other like-minded companies who support community initiatives. JumpCamp is a snowboard camp with a mix of natural terrain and man-made terrain park, along with various sizes and shapes of jumps and rails. The camp is located one hour north of Nanaimo on the Island Highway 19.

Skiing Safety and Tips:

  • Build your endurance with light cardio before you hit the hill
  • Go slow at first and keep your knees bent
  • Make sure you have proper equipment, rental or owned
  • Take a lesson, even just for a day, if this is your first time on a hill
  • Dress in layers so that you can accommodate changing temperatures
  • Wear sun protection, reflection off the snow can cause tanning and burns
  • Use eye protection always
  • Dress in water and wind-resistant material

What are you waiting for? Let’s hit the hills!

Don’t hesitate to check out the many winter sports opportunities during your stay on Vancouver Island. Canadian winters may be chilly but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a ton of fun. Check out our rental properties and start planning your winter getaway today!