From the Ocean to the Trees: Road-Tripping from Nanaimo to Cowichan

March 3, 2018

The road-trip from Nanaimo to Cowichan is full of adventure and endless possibilities. Make it a day trip or stay a little longer – you will not be disappointed!

Because Nanaimo is so central (it’s the ‘Hub’ city, after all) you can jump in your car, head out in any direction and you’re certain to find an adventure. Recently, our family decided to head south to the Cowichan Valley to see what that area had to offer – safe to say, we’ll be going back.

Camping: Gordon Bay Provincial Park

We took the 78-minute drive from Nanaimo to Cowichan’s Gordon Bay Provincial Park for three nights of camping. Located on the shores of Cowichan Lake (or Lake Cowichan – there was much discussion while driving with sleeping kids which was the proper term for the lake and which for the town), it’s a super campground for families or even just those wanting to get away from the big smoke for a few days. This 104-hectare Provincial Park offers main and group campsites, an awesome playground, plus a ton of features accessible by wheelchair including picnic tables, flush toilets and showers.

Golfing: March Meadows

The first two days were spent exploring the campground and the lake area, but by the third day I was itching to see more of what Cowichan had to offer. My five year old and I tootled around the small, neighbouring town of Honeymoon Bay on our bikes. We stopped at a couple of farm stands and an amazing homemade lemonade stand. It was just too cute out there. We came across the local golf course March Meadows, which my husband was quick to tell me is the home course of LPGA player Dawn Coe-Jones. Really, I’m not a golf nut like he is but found that little fact pretty cool.

A Touch of the Wild: Pacific Northwest Raptors.

After exploring what was close around, we decided to pack the kids up and head into Duncan to visit Pacific Northwest Raptors, better known now as The Raptors. If you are planning a day-trip to the Cowichan Valley, make sure you add this to your list of must-sees. Two thumbs (wings?) up.

There is so much to see as soon as you arrive. Because we arrived close to the time of the flying demo, we immediately meandered down the path towards the flying field. Cages house everything from a Great Grey Owl named Viola to a Marabou Stork named Gaston, from Africa. Everywhere you look are cool birds with interesting stories and facts about them displayed.

Once settled in the flying field, a staff member began the presentation about the 4 types of raptors in the demo: eagle, hawk, owl & falcon. As a result, we learned a lot about all the birds; he was super knowledgeable and great at getting the crowd asking questions. The staff train the falcons to work at airports in BC to scare away other birds that may want to land or roost near aircrafts.

The Raptors is great. Go, learn about birds of prey, support this facility and all it does for the birds.

A Road-trip Worth Taking

The road trip from Nanaimo to Cowichan is beautiful, dense with possibilities, and rich with adventure. You can do what we did, find a great campground and settle in for a deeper Cowichan experience, or take a tip from the pros with our Itinerary for the best Cowichan Day Trip.

But whatever you do, have fun out there.

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