A Picnic in the Park

Enjoy the long weekend with a Day Trip

long weekend picnic for families port alberni

It’s the long weekend and a time to enjoy the great outdoors. Victoria Day has always been a favourite weekend for camping, but for those who have opted to stay close to home we have some great local options to spend the day out enjoying the Alberni Valley. A picnic in the park is always a fun family day outside and doesn’t require too much effort to prepare for or travel time to get there. Here are 3 awesome parks that are easy day trips, all within close driving distance of Port Alberni, plus a few tips to make your day enjoyable and safe.

Canal Beach

View of Canal Beach Park open grassy field

Photo Source: Destimap

Location: 2120 Plywood Dr, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1A5 (Map)

Canal Beach lies at the south end of Port Alberni and offers residents and visitors a waterfront park with a panoramic backdrop of the bustling Alberni Harbour. Take a stroll along the water, play some frisbee, paddle a kayak or stand-up paddle board, or catch the consistent summer thermals windsurfing or kite boarding. A former industrial mill site, Canal Beach is being actively redeveloped by the City with amenities and other features. (Source: City of Port Alberni)

“A great place to relax and enjoy the view while others are having BBQ’s or picnics there is a washroom container, ( box ) a covered area so people can sit and a couple of outdoor tables, so gather your dogs throw a ball and chill.”  – Andrea, Google Reviews

Sproat Lake Provincial Park

Location: 15 minutes west of Port Alberni on Highway 4, BC (Map)

Located 15 minutes west of Port Alberni, Sproat Lake is a favoured location for swimming, fishing, waterskiing and, when the wind is up, windsurfing.

This park has a large day-use/picnic area, located next to the lower campground. Three separate picnic sites are conveniently located throughout the day-use area. Facilities include a number of picnic tables set under a canopy of Douglas fir and Western red cedar, fresh water, campfire rings, a large grassy area, pit toilets and 2 flush toilet buildings (one next to the boat launch and one by the lower campground.) The grassy area and beach are also suitable for picnicking, or just lounging in the sun next to the lake. (Source: BC Parks)

“Great place for some gentle kayaking, family picnics and swims, an easy walk to the petroglyphs. A well maintained provincial parks with basic amenities.” – DiscoverAndEnjoy, Tripadvisor

Victoria Quay

Location: 4541 Victoria Quay #4531, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 6G3 (Map)

Victoria Quay is a popular waterfront park, picnic area, walkway and retail district on the Somass River at the foot of Johnston Road (Hwy #4). Two towering Welcome Figures, carved by local Hupacasath First Nations carvers, greet you and the park is home to a weekly Sunset Craft Market during the summer months.The Welcome Centre features a First Nations Whaling Monument and is a perfect place to absorb some of the rich history of the First Nations peoples in this region. Victoria Quay is also the prime location to view black bears across the river in the Somass Estuary. (Source: City of Port Alberni)

“Nice spot to park and go for a walk along the water towards Clutesi Haven Marina. A pretty good amount of parking available and benches along the water. Nice spot to also sit and have your lunch. If your lucky you can usually see bears across the water, or seals in the water.” – Nik, Google Reviews


Tips for the Perfect Picnic

A successful picnic does require a little planning beforehand. The good news is we have created a list of simple “must brings” to make things easier. We also included a few non-essentials that we think will make you day even more fun!

  • A Cooler: Food safety is high on the list for a good picnic. A 20qt cooler is perfect for a family of four and should have enough space for food, beverages and ice.
  • A Blanket: What fun is a picnic without a picnic blanket! There is no rule to what a picnic blanket can be just remember it will be coming into contact with grass, food and possibly the odd bug or two so maybe not your finest bed linen.
  • Tableware: You will need a way to enjoy that amazing ambrosia salad. Having utensils, a plate and a tumbler for your beverage is a must on our list. Matching your tableware needs to your menu is a great place to start. Don’t forget napkins!
  • A Sanitation Kit: Some of the parks on our list have picnic tables available. We recommend you take the time to sanitize your picnic site before and after using. Keeping you and your fellow picnickers safe.
  • Sun Protection. We love it when the sun shines in the Alberni Valley! Make sure to pack sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses, because a sunburn is no fun, especially for kids.
  • Bear Smart: We are fortunate to be a community living in proximity with all kinds of wildlife, including bears. It is very important to clean your picnic area and not leave any food or garbage behind, and utilize bear safe garbage containers when available.
Add in Some Fun
  • Frisbee: Ok this might actually be an essential. Tossing a Frisbee goes hand in hand with a picnic in the park. There are tons of games from golf to tag, almost anything is more fun with a Frisbee.
  • Bubbles: This is mostly for the younger picnickers. But really bubbles are for everyone and they are an especially fun outside activity.
  • Lawn Games: Anything from bocce to ladder ball. Bringing a few of these along on your picnic are bound to be a hit.

There are lots of more ideas for making your picnic more enjoyable, really the sky’s the limit. Just remember to keep practicing our provincial covid-19 safety protocols to ensure you and those around you are safe.