Free and Almost Free in the Alberni Valley

Have Fun Without Breaking the Bank!

Two people enjoying the view from the Kitsuksis Dyke

Take a stroll along Kitsuksis Dyke | Source: Jaiden George, Zenseekers

The Alberni Valley is home to a seemingly endless list of fun things to do.  From world-class fishing, and extreme sports like kite surfing to fantastic historical attractions like the Mclean Mill or the natural wonders of Cathedral Grove. The great news is, enjoying some of these amazing attractions doesn’t have to cost a lot, or can even be free!

  1. Visit an Art Gallery
  2. Go on a Museum or Historic Walking Tour
  3. Take a Stroll Along the Quays
  4. Get Into Nature
  5. Checkout the Local Farmer’s Markets
  6. Go Bear Watching
  7. Get Fit For Free!
  8. Learn About Our Local Aquatic Ecosystem
  9. Play a Round of Golf (with a Disc)
  10. Take in the Most Spectacular View

 

Painting displayed at the "Project - Women's Work" Exhibit at the Rollins Art Centre

Group – Women’s Work | Source: The Grove

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.

Location: Harbour Quay. #7-5440 Argyle St. Port Alberni (map)
Contact: (250) 724-3412 | Website
Hours: Tue – Sat 11AM – 4PM
Admission: Donation

DRAW

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.

Location: 4529 Melrose St, Port Alberni (map)
Contact:  1 (855) 755-0566 | Website
Hours: Tue – Fri 12PM – 5PM
Admission: Free (to look)

Go on a Museum or Historic Walking Tour

Welcome sign for the McLean Mill National Historic Site

Mclean Mill National Historic Site offers a free self-guided 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.

Address: 2900 Harbour Rd, Port Alberni (map)
Contact: (250) 723-6164 | Website
Hours: Thu – Sun 11:00AM – 4:00PM
Admission: Donation

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.

Address: 4255 Wallace St, Port Alberni (map)
Contact: (250) 720-2863 | Website
Hours: Tue – Sat 11:00AM – 4:00PM
Admission: Donation

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.

McLean Mill

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, sawmilling, transportation and labour, and, its close association to significant aspects of the forest industry. (source)

Address: 2900 Harbour Rd, Port Alberni, BC (map)
Contact: (250) 723-6164 | Website
Hours: Thu – Sun 11:00AM – 4:00PM
Admission: Free

Take a Stroll Along the Quays

beautiful hand-carved statues at the harbor quay port alberni

First Nations Carvings at Harbour Quay

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

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).

Location: 4541 Victoria Quay #4531, Port Alberni (map)
More Info: Port Alberni Visitors Centre
Admission: Free

Harbour Quay

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)

Location: 5440 Argyle St, Port Alberni (map)
More Info: Port Alberni Visitors Centre
Admission: Free

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.

Boardwalk path in Cathedral Grove, McMillan Provincial Park, Alberni Valley

View the ancient trees of Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park

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!

Location: 452 Alberni Hwy, BC (map)
More Info: BC Parks
Admission: Free

Hole in the Wall

A local favourite, “Hole in the Wall” is a fantastic 10 – 15 minute hike to a unique man-made phenomenon. Originally a hole was drilled through solid rock to make way for a pipeline. Since then, the pipeline has been removed and in its place a beautiful waterfall now cascades down the rocks to a pool below.

Location: Trailhead Access via Alberni Hwy (map)
More Info: BC Parks
Admission: Free

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)

Location: 2802 Mozart Rd, Port Alberni, BC (map)
More Info: Alberni Clayoquot Regional District
Admission: Free

Visit the Local Farmers’ Markets

Spirit Square Farmers Market Port Alberni

Harvest time at the Spirit Square Farmers Market

Farmers’ Markets are a wonderful way to experience the local flavours of the Alberni Valley. Boasting 2 year-round, Saturday markets there is plenty to see, smell and taste! OK so if you want to taste it’s not free, but those amazing and unique flavours are just too hard to resist! (ask us how we know)

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)
Admission: Free

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)
Admission: Free

Live a Little Dangerously and Go Bear Watching

Bear watching Port Alberni

Who can resist this face? Source Nicole Beaulac

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, go ahead and check it out.

Victoria Quay

Location: 4541 Victoria Quay #4531, Port Alberni (map)
Admission: Free

Get Fit For Free!

Woman showing man how to use exercise equipment at Bob Dailey Outdoor Fitness Park, Alberni Valley

Working out has never been this fun! Source: Parks Recreation & Heritage

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

Location: 4480 Vimy St, Port Alberni (map)
More Info: Parks, Recreation and Heritage
Admission: Free

Learn About Our Local Aquatic Ecosystem

Robertson Creek Hatchery self guided tour sign

Self-Guided Tours available at the Robertson Creek Fish Hatchery Source: Visitor Centre

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)

Location: 10333 Central Lake Rd, Port Alberni (map)
Contact: (250) 724-6521 | Website
Hours: Mon – Fri 8:30AM – 3:30PM
Admission: Free

Play a Round of Golf (with a Disc)

Man throwing a golf disc, Alberni Valley Tourism

Let that disc fly! Source: Dallas Wrinkle

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 haver our own AVDGC! (Alberni Valley Disc Golf Club) Although you will have 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!

Location: 4255 Wallace Street, Port Alberni (map)
More Info: Echo Park Info & Score Card
Admission: Free

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)
Admission: Free

Take in the Most Spectacular View

Woman looking out at the view from the top of Mt Arrowsmith, Alberni Valley

View from the Summit of Mt Arrowsmith. Source: Russell McNeil

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.

Location: Judges Route Trailhead (map)
More Info: Trailpeak
Admission: Free

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