When its Brant season at Rathtrevor Beach (late winter to early spring) we all have to work together to help this little sea goose. During this season it is imperative that we keep our pets off the beach. You will see many signs around the Parksville/Qualicum area asking you to please be mindful of the incredible journey the Brant are making and just how much you can help them by allowing them to feed in peace. There are so many wonderful trails and spaces for us to walk our four legged friends in the area without having to threaten the survival of the Brant. If they don't eat, they won't have the energy to make their journey to the high arctic to breed. It's life and death for the Brant. Let's help them out by keeping our dogs away from the beach. Check out the video below of our Park Naturalists Alli with Kait Burgan from Shaw TV Nanaimo discussing the needs of the Brant in previous years.
About the Park
There are over 5 km of trails in the park. The trails pass through a variety of unique and scenic ecosystems from a lush Douglas fir, Cedar and Alder forest that give way to a sprawling meadow and marshland, then transitions to an oceanside walkway. Many visitors also enjoy strolling along the massive white sand flats of Rathtrevor Beach.
There are many wildlife species in the park. Visitors can view and photograph deer, raccoons, squirrels, otters, eagles, hawks, turkey vultures, owls and many shore and migratory birds that use the park area during their spring and fall migrations. Birdwatchers can see large numbers of seabirds including the Brant Geese congregating in the spring for the annual herring spawn. During the Brant migration it is extremely important that Park Visitors stay well away from the geese and pets are prohibited from the beach area.
This park has a large day-use/picnic area directly adjacent to the ocean on the expansive and magnificent Rathtrevor Beach. The park has a network of trails. Most are easy and many are wheelchair accessible. A beach accessing wheelchair ramp was added in 2005. The day use area has a very large picnic area with many picnic tables, and both flush (seasonally) and pit toilets, change room buildings, fresh water taps, walking trails and an adventure playground.
The tide goes in and out over a very long shallow grade leaving many tidal pools that warm up in the sun and are ideal for small children to play in. At low tide, Rathtrevor Beach has expanses of clean white sand perfect for sun bathing and sandcastles. On a low tide, visitors can walk for kilometers over the soft sand. There are picnic tables in the day-use area near the beach and under the trees for those seeking shelter from the hot rays on a sunny day. It is illegal to remove any wildlife including shellfish from the park.
There are no lifeguards provided in the park.
The hidden gem in Rathtrevor is the Rathtrevor Beach Nature House with its natural history bookstore, gift shop, and refreshments. It is open to the public seasonally May-September. There are many interactive, kid-friendly displays featuring the natural and cultural history of Vancouver Island. There are also displays of live native specimens which may include tree frogs, banana slugs, or honeybees. The bookstore carries a range of products including field guides, books, nature toys, puppets, beach accessories, t-shirts and souvenirs.
There are also many programs offered including by donation programs in the summer for visitors. Please check www.naturehouse.ca for more information.
A large picnic area is located within this park adjacent to the beach. Picnic tables, fresh water, and toilet/change buildings are available.
Perfect for a family reunion, company picnic or any other gathering in the park, Rathtrevor also has two covered picnic shelters available for reservation. Picnic shelter #1 is situated amongst the majestic trees to the left of the visitor day use parking lot in the field beside the campground entrance. Picnic shelter #2 is situated closer to the beach and nearer the playground in the field beside the campground entrance. Both picnic sites include a shelter with picnic tables to seat approximately 40-60 each and water taps with water available mid-March to mid-October.
Please book the picnic shelters up to one year in advance by contacting Discover Camping.
Rathtrevor is world renowned for its beautiful campground and facilities. Each of the 165 non-serviced, forested campsites available within the campground is located within a five-minute walk of the beach. Each site has its own picnic table and fire ring. Campfires are allowed in designated fire rings provided. During a fire ban fires are not allowed anywhere in the park. There is a mature forest that blankets the campground allowing dappled sunshine to filter in. There are three washroom buildings located in the campground, which provide private hot showers as well as clean drinking water and flush toilets, fresh water taps, walking trails and an adventure playground. There is also an RV sanitation station available to empty waste tanks and to refill water tanks.
There is a large tenting field available, which allows walk-in visitors to set up their tents next to a picnic table and share communal fire rings. The sites provide full sun and the area is only a short distance from the beach and all services. Visitors are not allowed to drive their vehicles into the field but can park in a lot close to the site and transport their camping gear to the site.
There are 6 group sites located within beautiful and popular Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park! The main groupsite area has four sites and is situated just past park headquarters on the right before reaching the day use and campground portions of the park. Here there is a shower and washroom building as well as a communal wash station for dishes. Two of the sites here are located in the trees being more suitable to tenting with fewer camping units. The other two sites are in the open field area and more suited for campers, RV's, trailers, and tents.
Located closer to the day use area in what was once one of the day use parking lots, are sites 5 and 6. These sites are the largest of the groupsites and ideal for larger groups with an assortment of RV’s and tents.
Each group site contains a communal fire pit with surrounding picnic tables. Sites 1-4 hold a maximum of 40-50 and sites 5-6 can accommodate up to 75 per site.
Reservations are accepted up to 1 year in advance of arrival.
Campfires are allowed in designated fire rings provided that a fire ban is not in effect. Firewood is available for purchase in the park. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please do not gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park (this is a ticketable offence under the Park Act). Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil. It is illegal to burn wood or material from the forest because it is destructive and damages the protected ecosystems within the park.
Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park is located on central Vancouver Island 3 km south of Parksville on Hwy 19a. Take exit #51 from the Inland Island Highway (Hwy #19) and follow signs to the park. Parksville is located at the junction of Highway 19, which runs the length of Vancouver Islands east coast and Highway 4, which runs to the west coast of the island through Port Alberni to Long Beach.
Nearby parks within a 20 to 30 minute drive of the park include Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park, Spider Lake Provincial Park, Rosewall Creek Provincial Park and Cathedral Grove at Macmillan Provincial Park. This is an excellent park for visitors wanting to experience several different natural settings within a single park.
For further information, visit www.bcparks.ca