A Winter Retreat at Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort

Parksville is synonymous with beaches. In the summer, families and beach lovers flock to its wide sandy shores to soak up every last ray of sun. But while many think of visiting only in summer, a cozy winter retreat at the edge of the ocean—when the crowds have died down—can be especially appealing.

Sunrise Ridge Resort sits on a ten-acre narrow stretch of shoreline, just south of downtown Parksville. They offer a range of accommodations from waterfront villas to cozy, affordable studios, as well as the beachfront access that many visitors crave during the stormy BC winters.

Arriving at Sunrise Ridge, you first enter the warm and inviting main lodge, with its stone columns, vaulted ceilings, and nicely lit interior. The lodge backs onto a well-manicured lawn, which features a stone patio and a seasonal pool (only available during summer). From here, a short path leads down to the beach.

There are a few coveted waterfront villas available, but you’ll mostly find one-, two-, and three-bedroom modern Condo-style units (along with some studios, too). All units come furnished with a fully equipped kitchen, living and dining areas, and a balcony or patio. Additional details, like a fireplace in the living area, and jacuzzi tubs in the bedroom, offer an excuse to hunker down on particularly stormy weather days.

Winter Activities in Parksville

But half of enjoying the comforts of (a temporary) home comes after braving the elements. Sunrise Ridge is ideally located to access some of Central Vancouver Island’s most popular year-round activities. Rain or shine, these are great ways to take in the beauty of the area.

Roaming the Beach in Parksville

With so much access to sandy shoreline, exploring the beach is an obvious choice. Take a stroll along one of the many beaches and scour for shells, bits of polished sea glass, or pieces of weathered driftwood. Snap a picture, but be sure to leave it there for others to enjoy too. (And if you’re eco-conscious, be on the watch for ocean plastics and waste. While the beaches in Parksville are more pristine than most, it’s top of mind for many oceanfront properties in British Columbia, who are working hard to do their part to keep our environment clean.)

Cathedral Grove

Cathedral Grove’s towering forest canopy may offer some respite from the weather, but the wet forest floor with its distinctive foliage is a lovely reminder that from rain comes life. Here, let your lungs fill with the crisp, clean air and feel yourself begin to recharge. A walk through the trees (some of them the tallest and oldest on record in BC) and you’ll find a new appreciation for the connectivity of life and the tranquility the forest can bring.

Horne Lake Caves

Stalactites or stalagmites? Learn the difference with a tour to Horne Lake Caves. This
impressive cave system is one of the best to explore in British Columbia, and offers year-round
tours that will take you to underground waterfalls and intricate crystal formations. Not a fan of
dark spaces? There are above-ground tours, too.

Coombs Country Market

No visit to Parksville is complete without a visit to Coombs Country Market. Famous for the goats who are spotted atop its grassy roof, the market promises more than just a photo opportunity. Pick up ingredients for dinner at the Old Country Market, which boasts an extensive selection of baked goods, fresh produce, and local condiments.

If you don’t feel like making dinner, you’ll find a few options, including the popular Cuckoo’s Trattoria, which is housed in a former antique auction house. Tucked back from the street, the ambiance is just as inviting as the menu (and you’ll often find goats wandering the restaurant’s courtyard and gardens, too).

Downtown Parksville: Restaurants and Shops

If you prefer to stick close to Sunrise Ridge, take a stroll through downtown Parksville and wander amongst charming eateries, eclectic shops, and art galleries. With only a short distance to cover, you can experience the local flavour of this seaside town at a leisurely pace and still be back in time to watch the sunset, glass of wine in hand.

For more year-round activities and excursions near Sunrise Ridge, click here.

How to Get to Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort

Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort is located on Resort Drive, just south of downtown Parksville. Parksville is accessible via BC Ferries from Nanaimo, and a short drove north from Victoria or south from the Comox Valley.