Airplane camping at Qualicum airport, BC, with nearby trails & Parksville Beach

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.

Buccaneer Bay, Thormanby Islands

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.

David, cooking camp-stove beans and wieners

We like to head down to Parksville beach after landing, which simply has to be the most spectacularly scenic beach in the world.  img_5988img_5925It 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.

 When the tide is coming in, the shallow pools of water are warm and wonderful to splash about in, heated from the sun-baked sand.

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.

We always ask to be dropped off at the beginning of the boardwalk by the Beach Club Resort, a landmark all the taxi drivers are familiar with, at the junction of Beachside Drive and McMillan Street North.

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.

The sun-bleached grasses an apricot-pink during dawn at Qualicum Beach airport (and Zeus, with his Eeyore blanket, which I take full blame for.

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. img_5786An adjacent fresh-water pond just outside the fenced area is perfect for a dog to splash about in. img_5781An 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.

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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.img_5916cat4

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