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The Top 10 Things To Do Within One Hour Of Campbell River

The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River

Within one hour of the city of Campbell River there’s enough to do to keep you happily busy for over a week. The city and surrounding area are a snap to reach, especially with lots of direct flights on major airlines to Comox, a short 45 minute drive away. And even Victoria is just over a three hour drive away. 

From a trip I did in the summer I would suggest these 10 things to do in the Campbell River area – Courtney area.

• The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
The beauty of the forest in Elk Falls Provincial Park

Visit the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge

It’s a short, easy walk through the forest to the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge and cantilevered viewing platform from the parking lot in Elk Falls Provincial Park – located just 10 minutes by car west of Campbell River.

The falls themselves are a magnificent sight, plunging 25 metres to reach the Campbell River and gorge. While not everyone loves the airy feeling on a shaking suspension bridge, this is the best place to view the gorge.

Don’t miss your chance to stand in awe of massive Douglas fir trees while exploring a network of trails in the park on foot.

The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River - It's an airy feeling standing 60 metres above the Campbell River Canyon on the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge
It’s an airy feeling standing 60 metres above the Campbell River Canyon on the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge
The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
Beautiful Elk Falls
The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
Be wowed by massive Douglas firs in Elk Island Provincial Park

Visit the Haig-Brown Heritage House in Campbell River

It took me three times of driving past the Haig-Brown Heritage House to figure that this pretty house was actually the museum I was looking for. Because it’s also a B&B it can be a bit confusing. Believe Google when it’s giving you directions.

The 1923 home is the former home of Roderick Haig-Brown, a well-known conservationist and environmentalist, writer and magistrate, and his wife Ann Haig-Brown. Haig-Brown was a prolific writer, penning 25 books and over 200 articles that have “influenced fisheries biologists, ecologists and countless others interested in the evolving relationship between people and nature.” 

For six months of the year the house is run as a B&B with the library the spot where you go to hear the stories about Haig-Brown and to view his extensive collection of books. A writer-in-residence has the use of the house for the other six months.

You don’t really book a visit – you just show up and hope someone is around. Check out the website to get updated information on the time of the annual Haig-Brown Festival, the memorial lecture and the weekly tea and croquet parties.

The Haig-Brown Heritage House in Campbell River
The Haig-Brown Heritage House in Campbell River

Enjoy the view from the Mount Washington Scenic Chairlift

Enjoy a scenic 15 minute ride on Mount Washington’s scenic chairlift from approximately mid-June through until late September.

The chairlift takes you to the summit at an elevation of 1,588 metres where on a clear day you can see all the way from the Strait of Georgia to Mt. Baker in Washington. If you’re feeling energetic you can elect to walk back to the base.

It’s only a 40 minute drive from Campbell River to reach Mount Washington.

The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
The Mt Washington Chairlift is located in Strathcona Provincial Park
The Mt Washington Chairlift - One of the Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
What a view you get!
The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
Enjoying the view over Strathcona Provincial Park including the Comox Glacier, Mt. Arrowsmith, the Strait of Georgia

Walk the Discovery Pier in Campbell River

Located in downtown Campbell River, the 180 metre long Discovery Pier offers superb views of Discovery Passage and lots of people watching opportunities, at least on sunny days. It also offers easy access to some excellent recreational fishing.

You can even buy a license and rent a rod and tackle from the concession on the pier. Finish your visit with an ice cream cone.

The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
Discovery Pier in Campbell River
The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
Fishing off of the Discovery Pier

Visit the Discovery Passage Aquarium

If you’re visiting Campbell River with kids, don’t miss a stop at the Discovery Passage Aquarium for a hands-on educational and fun experience. Learn about the marine life and habitats in Discovery Passage from spring until fall every year.

The Discovery Passage Aquarium in Campbell River is ideal for families
The Discovery Passage Aquarium is ideal for families
Stop at the Discovery Passage Aquarium - one of the Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
Kid-friendly and hands on at the aquarium

Go salmon fishing

Did you know Campbell River is the salmon fishing capital of the world? It’s easy to hire a fishing guide at Painter’s Lodge for half a day or more. Even if you don’t catch a thing (I didn’t) it’s fun to bob on the ocean looking for whales and seals while enjoying the west coast backdrop.

Read: The Campbell River Salmon Fishing Experience 

The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
Try your hand at salmon fishing

Take a Marine Wildlife Tour

Want to see what the area around Campbell River and the Discovery Islands looks like from a boat? Sign up for a three hour family-friendly marine wildlife tour leaving from Painter’s Lodge. You’ll see everything from bald eagles to whales, seals and sea lions. 

Read: Nature Up Close on a Campbell River Wildlife Tour 

The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
You’ll see lots of seals on a marine safari

Take a Fossil Tour at the Courtenay and District Museum & Paleontology Centre

If you or your kids are into fossils and dinosaurs you must visit the Courtenay and District Museum and Paleoontology Center. You can see the actual specimens of the Puntledge elasmosaur discovered nearby in 1988 by a father and his 12 year old daughter.

If you want a hands-on experience of looking for fossils sign up for their three hour tour. They run twice daily in the summer and via pre-registration from March to May and September to November.

The tours start at the museum with an introduction and video before heading out to one of the fossil sites along a local river, just 10 minutes away. And yes you’re allowed to keep any fossils you find.

The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
The fossil tour starts with at the museum in Courtenay
The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
The dinosaur that put Courtenay on the map

Discover the Comox Valley on a Bike

If you want to slow down and experience the Courtenay area by bike, sign up for a tour with Island Joy Rides. They can provide bikes and then a local’s perspective of the area with plenty of food stops to showcase the region.

Read: Discovering the Comox Valley by Bike

Stop to admire the beautiful beaches near Courtenay on a bike ride
Stop to admire the beautiful beaches near Courtenay on a bike ride

You have to eat

I had a couple of standout meals while in the Campbell River area. In Campbell River, try Dick’s Fish and Chips for an authentic west coast experience, replete with fresh fish like halibut and cod, not too greasy fries, mashed peas and coleslaw. Then go for a long walk! The restaurant is directly across from the Discovery Pier.

Dick's Fish and Chips in Campbell River - one of the Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
Dick’s Fish and Chips in Campbell River

At the Atlas Café in Courtenay the globally themed food with plenty of nods to the west coast (salmon, mussels and tuna) is so beautifully presented you may hate to ruin the dish.

The Top 10 Things to do Within One Hour of Campbell River
My colourful meal at the Atlas Cafe in Courtenay

Hike in Strathcona Provincial Park

There are loads of excellent hiking trails in Strathcona Provincial Park. One I’d recommend in particular is the Kwai Lake Loop hike. Over its 15.6 kilometre length it gains only about 200 metres of elevation. It’s not as hard as its length might suggest.

The hike takes you to some pretty sub-alpine lakes. If you visit in summer, you’ll be rewarded with some lovely wildflower-filled meadows. It is possible to camp by the lakes too.

Read: Vancouver Island Hikes: The Kwai Lake Loop

Walking the boardwalk on the Kwai lake loop hike
The beautiful Kwai Lake loop hike

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

Campbell River accommodation

If you stay at Painter’s Lodge, you’ll feel a tad removed from Campbell River – in a good way. It’s on the water so salmon fishing and nature tours leave right from its docks. Across on Quadra Island there is a sister property that’s a bit more rustic – April Point Resort & Spa. I liked the feel of this place and the gorgeous views.

I’ve stayed at the Coast Discovery Inn in Campbell River several times. Rooms are predictable, nothing fancy but fine for a night or two.

I’d also recommend the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa, 40 minutes from Campbell River – where I spent two delightful nights. I particularly liked being able to walk out my bedroom door to a lounge chair on the beach.

The docks at April Point Resort on Quadra Island
The docks at April Point Resort on Quadra Island

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

10 fun things to do within one hour of Campbell River, BC

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tourism Vancouver Island. All opinions and text are mine.

 

 

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

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