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Inland within easy hailing distance of the coastal communities is the charmingly rural area known as Arrowsmith Coombs Country. First stop closest to Parksville is Errington with its wildlife recovery centre, animal petting farms, trail rides and the loop hiking trails at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park.

Further along Highway 4A, thrill to a Formula One race-car experience when navigating the hairpin turns at a go kart track suitable for ages 11 and up.

Visit Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism to learn more.

The next stop will be delightfully eclectic Coombs, renowned for its rooftop goats, butterfly refuges, and a shopping strip custom-made for those seeking curios and good eats.

Coombs Rodeo Grounds features music festivals and other events nearly every summer weekend. Tour a fragrant coffee roasting facility, then explore the peaceful grounds of the Kathok Buddhist Meditation Centre.

Beyond Coombs, the road winds through thick forest past Mount Arrowsmith towards Port Alberni. Swimmers and boaters splash about in Cameron Lake. Towering Douglas firs cast their ancient shadows along Cathedral Grove’s famous trails (some wheelchair accessible). And campers flock to Horne Lake Regional Park and Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park.