Buena Vista by the Sea – an Oceanside Escape


Qualicum Beach is an unusual town in that its town centre is inland from its amazing seascape, which is right on Highway 19A, suitably called the Oceanside Route.

(In fact the tourism board for the area was called Oceanside Tourism, but changed to Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism. Oceanside is a bit generic, so I see why they made the change, but the romance is lost for me.)

Along Highway 19A there is a series of accommodations that are perched on the water.

One we stayed at was Buena Vista by the Sea, which has x oceanfront suites. Because of the location, you pull off 19A and pull right up to the front desk and some of the suites. There’s an old-fashioned motel feel to all the water front properties.

But the magic starts at Buena Vista when you head out to the garden and the deck and the beach. It’s as if the entire rest of the world is gone. Even on a long weekend, we hardly noticed the rest of the world.

The owner-operators are Robbie and Claire and Claire’s garden is lovely. The enormous deck is suitable for sitting on and staring at the ocean or reading a book or totally vegging out.

The beachfront is public beach but it feels private. There’s a great deal of sea life — we couldn’t step any direction during low tide without scaring a tiny crab. Canada geese, crows, herons and funny noisy birds with long orangey beaks (called oyster catchers) gave us a show. It was lovely to see Canada geese in a more natural setting rather than in a public park hitting on tourists for food.

With the ever changing tides, you can enjoy different tide pools, some of which are a lovely muddy sand. You could spend hours in bare feet enjoying the water. It’s fairly warm as there’s a permanent pool of water that’s heated by the day light.

The suites have what you need to prepare basic meals, which is a money saver, but there are restaurants nearby including pubs in either direction, which are walking distance. We did not try any of these, so make sure to ask Robbie or Claire for recommendations.

If you are very careful (we checked with the Chamber of Commerce to see if there were fire bans) you can make a fire on the far side of the driftwood logs that separate the public beach from the properties. We had a magic time at sunset and past roasting marshmallows and make s’mores. However, you need to be insanely careful and check with Robbie and Claire.

The sunset, the lapping of the waves and roasted marshmallows were magic.

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