Have Fun Without Breaking the Bank!
Whether you are a long time local or visiting for the first time, we think you will appreciate this extensive and varied list of free and almost free activities in Port Alberni!
All the bases are covered, from cultural and historic exhibits to glorious nature and wildlife, with some some sport and fitness thrown in. The great news is, enjoying some of these amazing attractions doesn’t have to cost a lot, or can even be free!
- Visit an Art Gallery
- Go on a Museum or Historic Walking Tour
- Take a Stroll Along the Quays
- Get Into Nature
- Checkout the Local Farmer’s Markets
- Go Bear Watching
- Get Fit For Free! Fitness Circuit
- Learn About Our Local Aquatic Ecosystem
- Play a Round of Golf (with a Disc)
- Take in the Most Spectacular View
Visit an Art Gallery
Check out some of our renowned local artists and artisans by visiting one of our local art galleries.
The Rollins Art Centre
Although the original home of The Rollins Art Centre has been temporarily closed, they have moved their gallery to a new location where visitors can view local exhibits and artists works.
DRAW Gallery represents Westcoast Contemporary Canadian Art and its Artists. The Gallery offers Artists working in Sculpture, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, Video, Sound and Performance an opportunity to share ideas and present new works.
Go on a Museum or Historic Walking Tour
Port Alberni Maritime Discovery Centre
The Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society (PAMHS) was formed in 1989 with the purpose of working with the museum and the community to preserve and present the maritime heritage of the West Coast area.
Alberni Valley Museum
Located in the heart of Port Alberni, the Alberni Valley Museum, reflects the richly diverse past of the area, with a large collection of artifacts. Learn about First Nations culture, local and industrial history, and folk art.
Historic Walking Tours!
Discover the rich history of Port Alberni with a self-guided historic walking tour. These tours, presented by the Alberni Valley Museum, contain historic information and photographs to help you engage with the built heritage of three different areas of the City of Port Alberni. (source)
More information, including downloadable maps and brochures can be found on the Parks & Recreation Website.
The McLean Mill National Historic Site is a former sawmill and logging operation located in the Alberni Valley of Vancouver Island, British Columbia’s west coast. McLean Mill was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1989 to commemorate its collection of extant resources related to logging, saw-milling, transportation and labour, and, its close association to significant aspects of the forest industry. (source)
Take a Stroll Along the Quays
Port Alberni is home to two separate quays that offer a variety of things to do. Have a picnic in the park or find that new “can’t miss” spot for lunch, you can even go bear watching (safely, we promise) or view some amazing carvings by local First Nations carvers.
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).
The Alberni Harbour Quay features a charming and colourful collection of waterfront shops, galleries, and eateries, and is also where you’ll find the clock tower, which grants panoramic views of the Alberni Inlet. (source)
Get into Nature
If you’ve seen our previous post on Forest Bathing, you know we are big fans of REALLY getting into Nature and enjoying one of the Alberni Valley’s most alluring reasons to visit. No matter your skill level or ability, experiencing nature has never been so easy and accessible.
Cathedral Grove (at MacMillan Provincial Park)
Walking amongst this old growth forest is breathtaking and an experience not to be missed. You will be amazed at the size of these giants, the oldest (a Douglas Fir) is over 800 years!
Sproat Lake Provincial Park
A favourite among locals and visitors alike, Sproat Lake Provincial Park is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. Relax at the beach, enjoy all of the various watersports the lake is known for like paddleboarding, kayaking and waterskiing. Be sure not to miss out on the ancient Petroglyphs. The “K’ak’awin” petroglyphs, are a lovely 5 minute walk along the beautiful lakeshore. Etched onto lakeshore rocks, these prehistoric images depict ancient mythological creatures and are some of the finest examples of petroglyphs found in British Columbia.
Log Train Trail
This Trail stretches for 25 km along the foot of the Beaufort Range. It is accessible from many points in the Alberni Valley (no need to walk all 25km at once!). The Log Train Trail is suitable for family outings by horse, bike or foot. The Trail is primarily for non-motorized use. (source)
Visit the Local Farmers’ Markets
Farmers’ Markets are a wonderful way to experience the local flavours of the Alberni Valley. Boasting 2 Saturday markets active year around, there is plenty to see, smell and taste! OK, so if you want to taste it’s not free, but the fresh and tasty treats are so WORTH IT!
Port Alberni Farmers’ Market
Hard-working farmers, builders, crafters and so much more. All year around and is a good family fun atmosphere. (source)
Location: 6211 Cherry Creek Rd. (Formerly Cherry Creek School), Port Alberni (Map)
Contact: (250) 723-8351 | Email | Facebook
Hours: 9:00AM – 1:00PM Saturdays (Year-round)
Spirit Square Farmers’ Market
The Spirit Square Farmers’ Market is proud to provide a central venue that connects Port Alberni farmers with the local community, set against the beautiful backdrop of the Harbour Quay. (source)
Location: 5440 Argyle Street, Port Alberni (Map)
Contact: (250) 723-6333 | Email | Facebook
Hours: 9:00AM – 12:00PM Saturdays (Year-round)
Live a Little Dangerously and Go Bear Watching
Grab your binoculars, a comfy blanket and head on down to Victoria Quay for some front-row bear watching! We’ve written about this before in our Alberni Valley is Bear Country post. So for full details on just how much fun bear watching can be, read more about Bear Country on our blog.
Location: 4541 Victoria Quay #4531, Port Alberni (map)
Get Fit For Free!
What kind of list would leave out getting healthy, fit and feeling fabulous, especially when it’s absolutely free! Our very own Bob Dailey Stadium has installed an impressive outdoor fitness park for everyone to enjoy. It promises an effective workout using body weight through a series of stations. More info, including how-to videos can be found on the Parks, Recreation and Heritage website.
Bob Dailey Stadium
Learn About Our Local Aquatic Ecosystem
The Alberni Valley is widely known for it’s world-class fishing, we were even named Canada’s Ultimate Fishing Town by the World Fishing Network. Do you ever wonder how some of these wonderful Salmon come to call the Alberni Valley their home? If you’re curious, come check out one of our fish hatcheries, where you can learn all about the lifecycle of this truly amazing species and our Salmon enhancement programs.
Robertson Creek Fish Hatchery
There are more fish to be viewed at the state-of-the-art Robertson Creek Fish Hatchery. It is the most successful hatchery on Vancouver Island, producing nearly 10 million chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead smolts annually. (source)
Play a Round of Golf (with a Disc)
Hands-down one of our favourite sports to play during the warmer months but even when the weather turns cold, there is still fun to be had. Port Alberni has two disc golf courses to try out and we even have our own AVDGC! (Alberni Valley Disc Golf Club) Although you will need to supply your own set of discs, the courses are absolutely free to use.
Echo Park Disc Golf
Mainly flat, a great beginner-friendly course with 3 mid-length holes and 6 short wooded holes. Super fun!
Dry Creek Park (new!)
Port Alberni’s newest 18 hole disc golf course is now open! An 18-hole course, with two sets of tees (for both pros and amateurs). The larger course will allow the club to host tournaments, bringing in disc golfers from other communities. (source)
Location: 3501 The Quadrant, Port Alberni (map)
Take in the Most Spectacular View
Capture the most amazing, awe-inspiring views from the summit of Mt Arrowsmith. The hike takes around 5 hours and covers about 6km with a 1000m meter gain in elevation, it is an intermediate-level climb and does require some cardio-related effort so make sure you come prepared. The reward is that breath-taking 360 degree views that can reach as far as the mainland’s Coast Mountains.
Judges Route Access
The easiest and quickest way up, follow highway 4 out to Port Alberni, at the top of the bump before Port Alberni you will see a sign for Arrowsmith Ski Hill sign, make a left here. In about 20 minutes you will be at the trail head, watch for logging trucks. Drive about 3 km and then turn left on Cameron River Main.
Welcome to the Alberni Valley where this is a seemingly endless list of fun things to do, you can find even more activities here.