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Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park
About This Park
Majestic old-growth trees, beautiful ocean sunsets and an inviting, wide sandy beach with campsites nestled amongst mature Douglas fir trees makes Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park in Parksville one of the premier vacation destinations on Vancouver Island.
At low tide the ocean recedes almost a kilometre, providing an ideal place for visitors of all ages to play in the sand and explore the shoreline. When the tide rolls in over the sun-baked sand, the warmed water is unbeatable for swimming and salt water fun.
Rathtrevor Beach is ideal for a relaxed family outing. Simply sit back and soak up the seaside atmosphere or take a walk through the wooded upland area of the park. All campsites are within a 5-minute walk to the 2 km stretch of sandy beach. The park also features a large day-use area, perfect for an afternoon picnic.
Bird watching is also a popular activity at the park, particularly in the spring when large numbers of seabirds congregate for the annual herring spawn. During February, March and April, Rathtrevor Beach is also one of the best spots on the Island to view the migrating Brant geese.
Know Before You Go
- This is a very popular park all year-round. During the summer months (between the last week of June and Labour Day in September), reservations are required. From May 15th to the last week of June, reservations are highly recommended. Although reservations are required in the summer season, unclaimed or unreserved sites may be available on a night to night basis. Please check with the park operator.
- Alternative camping space may be available at nearby Englishman River Falls Provincial Park (13 km) or Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park (24 km). Both of these parks also accept reservations.
- This park does not have a boat launch. The closest launch is at French Creek Marina, 8 km north of the park on Hwy 19a.
All campsite, group campsite and group picnic shelter reservations must be made the BC Parks reservations system. When reservations are not available, all campsites function as first-come, first-served.
Campsite reservations are accepted at this park. All drive-in and walk-in campsites are reservable; there are no first-come, first-served sites.
Group Campsite Reservations
Group Picnic Shelter Reservations
Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park is located 3 km south of Parksville on Hwy 19a, on central Vancouver Island. Take exit #51 from the Inland Island Highway (Hwy #19) and follow signs to the park. The closest communities are Parksville, Qualicum and Nanaimo.
Nature and Culture
- History: Rathtrevor takes its name from the Irish family who homesteaded on this land. William Rath, a gold prospector, arrived in 1886 with his young wife and baby daughter. They built a log cabin, cleared the land, and in 1895 they built the barn. William died in 1903, leaving Elizabeth the farm and five children. She proved to be an industrious person, successfully running the farm and eventually operating it as a campground. The suffix “trevor” was added to give the campground a more lyrical name. Rathtrevor Campground became Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park in 1967 and though much has changed since William and Elizabeth first arrived, its beauty and importance will be preserved for our continued enjoyment.
- Wildlife: Several species of wildlife can be seen in the park, including deer, raccoons, squirrels, otters, mink, eagles, osprey, hawks, vultures, owls, and many shore and migratory birds that use the park area during their spring and fall migrations. The most famous migratory shore birds are the Brant geese (Branta bernicla) who use the beaches of Rathtrevor and Craig Bay as staging and feeding areas during their spring migration to northern Canada and Alaska.
- Management Planning Information
Rathtrevor Provincial Park Management Plan [PDF 1.96MB]
This is not the original management planning product. This document has been scanned from the original format of the plan. It may contain some formatting changes, however the content is consistent with the original.
Activities Available at this Park
Pets on Leash
Facilities Available at this Park
There are 4 group campsites at this park. Group Sites 1 – 4 are located off Rath Road just past the administration building, before you reach the day-use parking lots. These sites are situated in an open field, with picnic tables, fire rings, flush toilets/change building and a new wash station with fresh water. Reservation information »
Regular group camping charges per night are the base rate for the site, which is $120.00/group site/night, plus $5/adult (16+, minimum charge for 15 adults), plus $1/child (6-15). Children under 6 are free!
This park has a large day-use/picnic area near the beach and ocean with 3 parking lots, 75 picnic tables, 2 reservable picnic shelters, pit toilets, two 2 flush toilet/change buildings, walking trails and an adventure playground. Reservation information »
Pit or Flush Toilets
A sani-station/dump is available year-round.
Vehicle Accessible Camping
Rathtrevor Beach is very busy during the summer months and reservations are required between the last week of June and Labour Day in September.