Local boutique shops, quaint cafes, oceanside and mountain activities, an array of award-winning restaurants, wineries and distilleries are awaiting our arrival with open arms (at a distance)! We’re incredibly proud to be part of some amazing coastal communities such as The Comox Valley. And, just like any good neighbour, we’re committed to supporting each other, eh! With the pause on international travel there’s no better time to travel and support locally. And maybe, you’ll discover a new hidden gem along the way! We have compiled a list with recommendations on where to eat, shop, play, sip and stay in The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island that make for an unforgettable West Coast trip! Did we miss something?! Tag us in your local reccos and we’ll spread the neighbourly love!
Winter, spring, summer, and fall – this region really has it all! Perfectly situated halfway up the east coast of Vancouver Island and nestled between Parksville and Campbell River is one of the Island’s hidden gems – The Comox Valley. The small community of over 66,000 has the sea at its front door with a glorious mountain range as it’s backdrop. The Valley is comprised of three communities where each is just as unique and diverse as the next! From the charming city of Courtenay, the quaint and loveable town of Comox and the village of Cumberland including the stunning surrounding rural farm areas – you’re bound to fall in love with this charming small town and discover it’s touch of urban sophistication and taste! With an easy 35-minute flight between Comox and downtown Vancouver, you can travel safely with ease. And now, you can travel even longer! (Psst: Flights are now available until November 19 and resuming earlier than ever before on Feb 19!)
A big day of small-town adventures always begins with a bold cup of joe and hefty breaky! A local go-to spot in Courtenay is Early Bird Café – stop by for a perfectly overstuffed breakfast and a strong coffee. A waterfront post-flight breakfast can be enjoyed just steps from our Harbour Air terminal at Tidal Café; a locally owned must-visit joint that serves up mouthwatering bowls, bennies, sweets, and a modern twist on your favourite classics. Enjoy menu items like a salmon benny, buttermilk pancakes and southern comfort (eggs, bacon, and country gravy) is all you need to know!
Craving something sweeter? Swing by Bigfoot Donuts in Courtenay for a classic island treat – “They’re legendary.” Serving up a variety of handcrafted donuts made from scratch each day including savory options along with their house-made chai and World Community Coffee! Just like the west coast, ice cream is a sweet treat that can be enjoyed all year round! Blue Spruce Ice Cream in Courtenay is the Comox Valley’s must visit ice cream spot. Inspired by a walk in the woods, a dash of nostalgia and a little hometown pride, Blue Spruce is an homage to the amazing flavours and foods that come from right here in Comox. They proudly use locally sourced, artisanal ingredients in all their traditionally made, handcrafted ice creams; Yes, they even have nondairy desserts!
The smell of fresh baked breads, loaves, and pizza crust swirl the air on Courtenay’s 5th street from Denman Island Bakery and Pizzaria! Perfecting the perfect baguette, sourdough loaf, buns, and pizza breads. Still hungry? Walk just around the corner to Yiamas Greek Taverna for delicious Mediterranean cuisine like souvlaki, garlic prawns, spanakopita, and massive platters to share! – great for a power–up lunch or dinner with your closest crew. Another great spot is Toscano’s Mediterranean Grill for amazing classic Greek dishes! Vancouver Island has no shortage of amazing local taco shops; Biblio Taco in Cumberland aims to bring a little southern warmth up north, while adding in the west coast influence that makes their community so special. They create their menu items from scratch, using local meats, fish, and fresh produce. Even their hot sauces are made in house! It is simple food, done right.
Trip to Italy postponed? Il Falcone Italian Restaurant in Comox will transport you (and your tastebuds) to the charming restaurants of Venice without the jetlag! Specializing in 2-5 course set dinner menus with items like Insalata Caprese, Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Saddle of Alberta lamb, and Butterscotch Panna Cotta you’re bound to fall in love and be Inspired by the joyful Italian approach to cuisine! Want to get out of the kitchen for Thanksgiving this year? Check out their Italian Thanksgiving Lunch on October 12th!
Looking for a fun and nautical atmosphere?! Stop by the Blackfin Pub to take in the ever-changing views of the majestic Comox Glacier, Beaufort Mountain Range, and the Comox Marina. Enjoy the fresh flavours from Vancouver Island and beyond with their colourful seafood, pasta, and classics menu! Comox is known for its fresh local seafood, and, the Black Fin Pub delivers! Just steps from our terminal in Comox Harbour it’s easy to stop by for lunch or dinner before for a pre/post flight meal!
From blissful relaxations to full-on adventures you’re bound to find something the whole crew will love in the Comox Valley! Get a grip on one of BC’s best mountain biking destinations and experience the tails that draw two-wheeled adventurers from near and far. The Valley’s trail network surrounds massive forests and delivered masterly crafted trails for all abilities. A paradise in powder during the winter months, Mount Washington Alpine Resort is a biker’s dream when summer and fall rolls around. Their bike park is equipped from beginner to expert runs – Discover a new hobby or perfect your craft with day tours with Island Mountain Adventures and ride with the pros and discover tips and tricks from local riders! Want to explore on your own two feet? The resort is also great for hiking and experiencing the amazing views of the Comox Valley and beyond! For young families and little adventurers, we suggest relaxing nature walks through Nymph Falls and Goose Spit Park; equipped with easy walking trails to experience the stunning beauty of Vancouver Island!
The PGA Tour may be put on hold but a round with your closest crew is still in full swing! Designed by Graham Cooke & Associates Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community is a superbly manicured and award-winning Platinum-Rated golf course. A course playable for golfers at all levels and is designed with a dynamic set of tees to meet the needs of any member! Play an entire 18-hole round or practice on their driving range, chipping and putting greens or practice bunkers!
With charming boutique stores in Courtenay like Cherry Wine Fashions for unique clothing finds to Unbridled Bridal Boutique for life’s bigger moments; you’re sure to find something special to take home with you on 5th street! Pick up a bouquet for a special someone or treat yourself to bundle from 5th Street Florist and a sweet treat to-go from Atlas Cafe. Buy local, eat local, and now, cook local! Swing by Butcher Block Meats for a vast selection of fresh meats; Specializing in custom cuts, homemade sausages, and deli slices!
Take time to stop and smell the…lavender! Looking for a fun fall activity with your travel besties? Swing by Shamrock Farm in Comox and explore their vast property with fresh produce like garlic, winter squash, lavender essential oil, and goats milk soap! Their Lavendar Line is harvested in the summer months and you can join in during their Lavendar Harvest Days in July! The Fall Harvest Market runs through October where you can pick you perfect pumpkin for fall – how lovely!
A full day of adventures and explorations deserves a proper cheers and a hydrated sendoff! Clink your glasses and celebrate a day well spent at some of the Valley’s finest breweries, bars, and wineries! Rediscover some of your favourite classic lagers and ales at Gladstone Brewing Co in Courtenay or Cumberland Brewery Co. Looking for a place that has it all? Temp your tastebuds and discover a new brew at Cornerstone Taphouse in Courtenay. Experience the 24 rotating craft brew taps along with a diverse menu of signature and classic cocktails!
No need to travel to Europe to experience fine wines and spirits. The Comox Valley is home to many wineries, vineyards and distilleries that are refreshing, tasteful and soothe the soul! From Bold reds, refreshing whites, unique rosé, ciders, and spirits – It’s easy to discover your new favourite fall bevvy in the Valley. Test out a new flavour palette at Blue Moon Winery and Ciderworx in Courtenay; Hand–crafted artisanal fruit wines made with 100% British Colombian fruit and tinkered to perfection. Plus, Ravens Moon Craft Cider will take you by surprise with its unique and bold flavors like Apple Blueberry Cider or Hopped Apple Plum Cider! With the cooler weather arriving, many of the island’s gems are closing their barrels to prepare for Spring; however, their shops are uncorked and ready to welcome you! Grab a bottle (or two…or three…) from 40 Knots Vineyard and Estates, Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery, and Coastal Black Estate Winery! Looking for something a little stronger? Stop by Canada’s first distillery that produces spirits using 100% BC honey at Wayward Distillery in Courtenay or travel further north to Shelter Point Distillery in Oyster River for distinctive artisanal spirits.
The Comox Valley is home to a number of stunning local resorts, hotels and hostels boasting stunning oceanfront views and amenities; you’ll want to make these stays your secret home away from home. Nestled in a coastal forest on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa offers breathtaking ocean and mountain views. Pamper yourself at their luxury Pacific Mist Spa with treatments that focus on rich ingredients from the sea. Plus, save 20%* off room rates when you fly with Harbour Air! Get a little closer to the green at Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community. The villas are tucked in the trees along the first fairway that provides a perfect tranquil nature escape just steps from downtown Courtenay. Our Stay ‘n Play packages start at $199* and include accommodations, complimentary green fees and shuttle service between the Comox Marina seaplane terminal! Looking for a good night’s sleep for a day filled with adventures in the great outdoors? Looks no further than the Riding Fool Hostel Located in beautiful Cumberland on Vancouver Island. They take pride in offering high-quality accommodations in a fun, safe, and social environment while catering to all travellers including eco tourists and those exploring the region by bike! Perfectly situated by the Forbidden Plateau & Mt. Washington for exceptional recreational activities such as hiking and skiing!
As more businesses begin to open their doors safely, the opportunities to explore your own backyard on the Comox Valley will expand, too. We can’t wait to continue to support our communities. Stay in touch and reach out to your favourite local spot to see what they’re up to. Check in and give them a follow, like, or share on Social Media! Plus, stay up to date on how they’re keeping guests and employees safe during this time. It’s time to return the favor – support, buy, and travel local this year!
By Alannah Kennedy
Photos provided by: Destination British Columbia