The story behind Pacific Threads is one that sounds very familiar to me: they were struggling to find a web developer who could handle the needs of their online store, so they decided to learn how to do it themselves. That is exactly how I’ve started both of my businesses: nobody was providing what I needed/wanted so I just had to do it myself!
I wrote this as a sample post for their blog. The Pacific Threads brand is all about the west coast lifestyle so I highlighted some of the best beaches on Vancouver Island in a listicle format and incorporated internal links back to specific product pages as well as linking out to other high quality sources.
I decided make the target audience of this blog post American tourists who will be visiting Vancouver Island, as they are the majority of our visitors during the summer months. When I was doing keyword research (I like to use ahrefs.com), I discovered that Miracle Beach is the most searched for beach on the island in the United States, so I included it specifically in the title. I also focused on including several different versions of the keyword (ie. ‘top beaches Vancouver Island’ ‘best beaches Vancouver Island’) as lately it seems that Google is favouring that approach rather than repeating the same keyword multiple times.
I have had the privilege of growing up on a not-so-little island off the west coast of British Columbia called Vancouver Island. As a kid, most summer days were spent trekking down to the little rocky beach off of my grandparents’ oceanfront property….where oddly enough we were often accompanied by the family cat. Staring into tide pools provided hours of entertainment with their abundant marine life: fish, anemones, starfish, lichen & my personal favourite the feisty little crabs. The surf and rocky shoreline were not ideal for swimming though so, on particularly hot days, we would pack up an umbrella and some beach toys and head out to one of the sandier beaches to cool off.
British Columbia is a popular tourist destination for visitors from the United States and Vancouver Island is no exception. You will need to take a ferry from Vancouver to get here, but it is well worth the trip and if you get lucky you may see a pod of whales or orcas on the crossing. Here are some of the most beautiful beaches on Vancouver Island:
Top 4 Beaches on Vancouver Island
1. Miracle Beach & Saratoga Beach, Comox Valley
About an hour and half north of the ferry landing in Nanaimo is the very popular Miracle Beach campground and provincial park. This is a bustling camping spot in the summer time, so it is highly recommended to reserve a camping site early once the reservations open. For most Provincial Parks in BC you can reserve up to 4 months in advance. If you want to camp on August 1st, you can make your reservation as early as April 1st.
The beach is on the protected east side of Vancouver Island and the waters here are safe for swimming and paddling. Many of the beaches on the island are rocky or pebbled, but this is a beautiful stretch of sand with picnic facilities, a playground for the kids, and many trails to explore. Saratoga Beach is also practically next door which is another one of the islands top beach destinations.
The weather in the summer months is typically quite warm and dry on the island, but even on the more protected leeward side it can get chilly at night. You should bring a few items of warmer clothing such as a hoodie that you can use to layer up in the evenings.
2. Chesterman Beach, Tofino
Tofino is world famous as a surfing destination, and Chesterman Beach is one of the most popular spots to catch a wave on the island. Located on the west side of the island that is open to the Pacific Ocean, Tofino is also popular as a storm watching destination in the winter months as you can see some truly spectacular shows of nature. There is a north and a south part of the beach as it’s quite a long strip of sand. In the north section you can visit a lighthouse.
Over the years Tofino has morphed into somewhat of a luxury destination, so there are numerous great restaurants and resorts to stay at in town if camping and cooking over a fire isn’t your style. It’s still very laid back though, you’ll be just fine in jeans and a t-shirt. And don’t forget a hat, the Tofino area is one of the rainiest micro-climates on Vancouver Island.
3. China Beach, Sooke
Moving to the south end of the island, China Beach is part of the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park near the province’s capital of Victoria. It is a bit of a trek, from the downtown harbour area it will take over an hour to get to China Beach but it does make for a wonderful day trip. The views from the beach are some of the most picturesque on the island with possible whale sightings in the fall and spring. If there has been enough rainfall recently you can also see a waterfall at the west end of the beach. You will need to make a bit of a hike to get down to the actual beach itself from the parking lot (about 15-20 minutes) but it is a very well maintained and low impact walk through a tranquil forest setting.
The beach is popular with dog owners as dogs are allowed year-round while many other beaches are closed to them during the summer months. There are outhouse facilities at the trailhead, and down at the beach as well.
4. Parksville Beach, Parksville
Located in central Vancouver Island, Parksville Beach was my favourite place to go swimming as a kid. The water is very shallow at this beach, and if you go in the afternoon after the tide has been out all morning the water is actually quite warm for the north Pacific. There is also plenty of wildlife to observe here, it is not uncommon to spot seals and the non-poisonous moon jellyfish in the water.
There are ample facilities at this beach park including showers, washrooms, volleyball courts, and a concession stand. It’s also home to an incredible sand sculpture competition each year that you can see for a nominal entry fee. There is very little shade at this beach so it’s advisable to bring your own sun umbrella or tent, and make sure to bring something to secure it with as it can get quite windy on the beach.
Please Keep our Beaches Clean!
Those are my top recommendations for beaches on various parts of Vancouver Island. On a parting note I would like to ask that all visitors do their part to keep our coasts beautiful. Make sure to either pack out any trash or use provided bins where available to keep the beaches and trails clean so we can all enjoy them for years to come. Enjoy the island!