11+ Things To Do In Courtenay

11+ Things To Do In Courtenay

Ever wondered where a cozy city meets stunning nature?

That’s Courtenay! It’s a cool spot on Vancouver Island’s east coast. Can you picture the tallest, oldest trees and the chill vibe of the North Pacific Coast?

I sure can!

I spent my last summers soaking up this place—splashing in rivers, and paddling in the ocean. Courtenay is like a storybook town, full of charm and character.

There’s so much to explore, from waterfalls to awesome trails. Let’s dive into the 20+ best things to do here. Get ready for a mix of nature’s wonders and city fun—Courtenay’s got it all!

Also Read: 14 Pros And Cons Of Living In Vancouver Island

7 Amazing Things To Do In Courtenay

Amazing Things To Do In Courtenaya

Oh, Courtenay!

It’s a vibrant city brimming with character and natural beauty on Vancouver Island. With a population of about 30,000, it is situated on the ancestral grounds of the K’ómoks First Nation, a group with a history dating back more than 4,000 years.

Picture this: a city where the sun-soaked summers hit a cozy 20-25°C, while the winters sway towards the cool side, around 6-8°C, with its fair share of rain from October to May. But hey, that lush temperate rainforest that envelops the city? It’s pure magic!

And let’s talk about the heart of Courtenay—the Puntledge River. It’s the lifeblood flowing from Comox Lake, the water source for over 49,000 locals. While it’s more of a river city, those stunning beaches just a short drive away add an oceanic charm to the mix.

Speaking from personal experience, Courtenay feels like a hidden gem. Sure, it might not shout about its treasures, but that’s where the magic lies. Summers here meant diving into the Nanaimo River and kayaking through the ocean—pure bliss!

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. Courtenay isn’t just charming; it’s an adventurer’s dream. Waterfalls, lakes, beaches, and hikes along riversides? Check! And when you’re not soaking in nature’s wonders, there are quirky shops, eateries, and galleries waiting to be explored.

So, whether you’re a local seeking hidden gems or a visitor eager to uncover Courtenay’s essence, buckle up for an adventure. With its rich history, natural splendor, and a touch of island magic, Courtenay awaits—a place where every corner tells a story worth discovering!

Float down the Puntledge River

Ready for an epic tubing ride along Courtenay’s Puntledge River?

Let’s kick off your adventure at the Puntledge Hatchery, gliding through a serene paradise flanked by lush trees and gentle rapids.

Picture-perfect views await as you drift from Powerhouse Road to Condensory Bridge—a full hour of sheer excitement!

Feeling the groove?

Extend the fun to Lewis Park for an extra 45 minutes of laid-back tubing.

Grab your tubes from Blue Toque Sports—they’ve got singles and doubles for a stellar river float. Don’t forget your water shoes, sunscreen, and a trusty waterproof bag. Safety first—consider life jackets, especially for the kiddos or non-swimmers.

With smart planning and two vehicles in tow, this adventure down the Puntledge River is not just thrilling but also free!

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Visit The Old Church Theatre

Visit The Old Church Theatre In Courtenay

Take a short walk from 5th Street and find the Old Church Theatre, a really old but cool place covered in vines.

It used to be a church way back in 1938, but now it’s a theater where you can see local art shows and musicals. It adds a lot of color to Courtenay’s history.

The building looks kinda like those old Gothic-style buildings and used to be a Catholic church. It’s important to the town because it shows how much it has grown over time.

An architect named William Hagarty made it look simple but amazing.

There are shows here almost every month, like music and plays, and the theater can fit 180 people. People from the town and even from other places perform here. It’s like a big party of different cultures!

This place is more than just an old building; it’s a piece of Courtenay’s story. So, come and see it for yourself, and you’ll feel the mix of history and creativity in the heart of Courtenay!

Shop in Downtown Courtenay

Ready to explore and shop in downtown Courtenay? Well, You’re in for a treat!

Wander around 5th Street to find a bunch of cool shops, cafes, and even a brewery. It’s pretty big and has loads to offer – think clothing stores, bookshops, gift spots, and places to grab yummy bites.

My top picks?

Hot Chocolates for delicious handmade treats, Blue Toque for sports gear, West Coast Karma for local artist designs, and Laughing Oyster Books for a fantastic book collection.

Feeling hungry Now?

Try Pizzeria Guerilla for amazing pizzas, Nikkei Ramen-ya for cozy ramen, Atlas for unique dishes, or Bigfoot Donuts for fluffy, flavorful doughnuts.

And don’t miss the vibrant murals around the city!

If you’re into thrift shopping, Too Good To Be Threw is a must-visit. Also, check out Laughing Oyster Book Shop for a fantastic book selection and Artifact Shop for beautiful Canadian art and gifts.

Try the legendary Bigfoot Donuts

Bigfoot Donuts In Courtenay

Craving a taste of bliss?

Look no further than Bigfoot Donuts! Located on 5th Street, this family-owned gem offers a cozy haven for doughnut aficionados. Step in for a warm welcome and a whiff of freshly baked delight.

Every day, they churn out heavenly doughnuts in a dozen unique flavours that’ll make your taste buds dance. Trust me, once you’ve savoured these, those Tim Hortons treats won’t stand a chance (sorry, Timmies!).

For just about $3 CAD, indulge in their scrumptious creations. Bigfoot Donuts isn’t just a doughnut haven; it’s a community hub, crafting flavours that tickle your imagination. Their house blend of Chai and World Community Coffee complements these mouthwatering treats perfectly.

Visit Oyster River Potholes

You must visit the magical Oyster River Potholes, a breathtaking wonder! These natural pools, formed in the river’s rocks, create a serene oasis. I stumbled upon this gem after a hike at Elk Falls and relished a peaceful afternoon by the river’s melody.

Lounge on the rocks, find your personal hideaway in the water, and plunge into the chilly but refreshing river—just what you need on a hot day!

How To Visit Oyster River Potholes?

Navigate north on inland Hwy 19, turn off at Cranberry Rd, and look for the Oyster River bridge. Park along the road, then go through the fence and down to the river.

Saratoga Beach is only a 5-minute drive away. Parking can be difficult, so be cautious!

The river, fed by mountain glaciers, offers crystal-clear waters, perfect for a dip. Remember, the currents are stronger during rains in November and spring snow melts in May-June.

Explore both upper and lower Potholes; they’re fantastic spots for hiking, swimming, and nature’s embrace. Lower Potholes sit near Cranberry Lane off inland Island Highway 19, while the upper ones rest along Piggot Main. Dive into nature’s bliss at Oyster River Potholes!

Roam around Kye Bay Beach Day

Get ready for beach vibes at Kye Bay!

This gem near Comox Airport is one of my personal favorites—seriously stunning views of Powell River and those majestic snow-capped mountains. When the tides are low, the sands stretch for miles, perfect for a beach stroll. But even during high tide, you’ll find a charming mix of pebbles, driftwood, and sand.

But hey, I’ve got another ace up my sleeve—Air Force Beach nearby!

It’s a private spot managed by the local military base, but visitors are welcome with a parking pass. The golden sands and panoramic views are just as dreamy as Kye Bay. Want a hack?

You can actually walk there from Kye Bay, just a 2 km beach trek northward.

Now, here’s the scoop on Kye Bay: locals adore this quiet haven. Picture yourself soaking up the sun, wading in the warm shallow waters, and exploring the natural treasures—crabs, oysters, and starfish galore. Pack a picnic since there aren’t many snack options around, and trust me, you won’t want to leave!

For directions to Kye Bay, cruise along Ryan Road till you hit the base, then turn right on Pritchard. Follow to the roundabout, take a left onto Knight Road, pass the airport and farms, and find your left turn—the last street before the descent to Point Holmes.

And hey! That’s your ticket to beach bliss!

Kye Bay is perfect for a family beach day—bring your kids, your dog, and your beach gear. Don’t forget to soak up the warm waters as the tide comes in for an extra cozy dip. It’s a slice of paradise waiting for you!

Hike to Nymph Falls and Explore Barber’s Hole

Hike to Nymph Falls and Explore Barber’s Hole

Now let’s dive into Courtenay’s natural wonders at Nymph Falls and Barber’s Hole together.

I’m excited to show you these amazing spots!

Starting at Nymph Falls, just 1km round trip from where we begin, we’ll see the Puntledge River flowing over rocky ledges—it’s like a nature show made for us!

And the best part? These trails are super easy for everyone, including you and me!

But wait, there’s more!

A quick 0.5km walk through the forest leads us to Barber’s Hole—a calm spot by the riverbank. Imagine us cooling off there on hot days. And then, get ready for the powerful sight of Nymph Falls—it’s seriously breathtaking!

Plus, there are spots for picnics nearby, handy facilities, and the chance to see salmon leaping in fall. This trip is all about fun and respecting this beautiful place and its people.

More 8 Things You Must Do In Courtenay

Hit the slopes at Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Take a private tour of the local breweries.

Try the best sandwiches at The Yellow Deli

Savor organic farm-to-table sandwiches and desserts at this cozy spot.

Explore the District Museum and Palaeontology Centre

Tour around Goose Spit Park

Explore Coffee Love Bug

Comox Valley Art Gallery

Where To Stay In Courtenay?

When it comes to lodging in Courtenay, I’ve got a few favorites up my sleeve!

For those seeking a riverside retreat, my top choice is the Old House Hotel. Located by the Courtenay Riverway trail, it’s a picturesque spot with downtown just a five-minute drive away. Equipped with kitchenettes and full kitchens, the rooms cater to every need.

If budget’s a concern for you, the Westerly Hotel offers a wallet-friendly option, sharing the prime location with the Old House Hotel.

For a luxe treat, the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa, a mere 10-minute drive away, boasts spacious rooms and a mind-blowing spa experience in a West Coast shoreline-inspired environment.

Looking for a cozy B&B experience?

The Estuary House Reflexology B&B, perched by the estuary, offers stunning views and a budget-friendly stay starting at $100 CAD, including breakfast.

Fancy a touch of modernity? The Old House Hotel & Spa beckons with its outdoor pool and well-equipped rooms starting at $155 CAD.

But if golf’s your thing, Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community hits the spot. With mountain views and onsite amenities, it’s a golfer’s paradise starting at $250 CAD.

Whether it’s a riverside stroll or a spa indulgence, Courtenay’s accommodation options cater to every taste and budget, ensuring a memorable stay in this beautiful city!

Final Words

I hope these insights into Courtenay have ignited your wanderlust!

Dive into its charm, from the hidden trails to the serene beaches. Whether you’re kayaking the ocean or exploring quaint galleries, there’s magic here.

Embrace the stories in every corner and the history steeped in its soil. If this sparked your curiosity, our blog’s filled with more BC wonders.

Get ready to uncover your own Courtenay tales—there’s always something new waiting to be discovered! Safe travels and embrace the adventure!

Explore more BC wonders in our blog—some personal favorites await your discovery.

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