One of our favorite flying destinations is Qualicum airport. (See David’s video here: Qualicum Beach airport & Parksville Beach video ) It’s a very pretty flight over the Strait of Georgia, above jewel-green islands such as Texada and Lasqueti, and the white-beach sands of Buccaneer Bay, all of it under the austere gaze of the towering snow-capped peaks of the coastal mountain range.
Camping under-the-wing is permitted at Qualicum Beach airport for a $7.50 tie-down fee, and for those who don’t carry a campstove, The Final Approach restaurant is on-site.
We like to head down to Parksville beach after landing, which simply has to be the most spectacularly scenic beach in the world. It boasts a boardwalk with a fresh-water tap for foot-washing and bottle filling right on the boardwalk, near the Beach Club Resort restaurant, miles and miles of soft dark sand and shallow waters, prefect kite-flying wind, and a Dairy Queen nearby.
From Qualicum airport to Parksville beach by taxi costs approximately $23 (Oceanside Taxi 250 954 8294). We always call the taxi just after landing, after we’ve closed our flight plan and before we’ve locked up the plane and gathered up our beach towels and picnic lunch, because it usually takes about 30 minutes for the taxi to arrive at the airport.
For the overnight under-the-wing camper, bathroom access to the Qualicum Beach airport terminal building (which is a bit of a walk from the grass itinerant parking/camping strip) is until about 10pm each evening, opening about 6am in the morning when the first KD Air flight is due in.
At the end of runway 29, outside of the airport grounds and across Bennett Road, there is an official off-leash dog park, an arid bit of gated ground, with benches and shady sunbrellas for the non-canine visitors. An adjacent fresh-water pond just outside the fenced area is perfect for a dog to splash about in. An unmarked path from the pond to the northeast leads to an abandoned railway track that makes for a perfect ramble in sun-spackled shade, while roosters from nearby farms crow and the occasional rabbit hops across the trestles.
Parachuting activity is common over Qualicum Beach airport during the summer, and the sight and `shredding silk’ sound of the ‘chutes opening overhead in the blue is a lovely part of CAT4.