Cover Image By Henhouse Photo Co.
There’s no shortage of great picnic spots in Cowichan this summer!
As BC enters into Phase 3 of reopening, more people are looking for outdoor activities that are accessible, and easy to do. We’ve got you covered! Here’s our picks for the best spots to relax with a picnic. Whether you’re looking for places to grab some local goodies, or you want to pack you’re own, these local-favourites are a great way to relax on a summer afternoon. With this warmer weather, our visitors and locals alike continue to enjoy Cowichan’s outdoors by packing up a picnic of local food products and heading out to take in a local view.
From breathtaking views of vineyards and beautiful beaches along the sea, to laid-back lakeside parks, a picnic in Cowichan is one worth sharing. Grab your basket and your blanket and check out these Cowichan picnic spots.
Pair Wine With a View at a Cowichan Vineyard
What do you get when you pair a glass of refreshing Gewurztraminer with a delicious assortment of savoury treats from Hudson’s on First? The answer? An unforgettable afternoon at Averill Creek Vineyard.
Call ahead to Averill Creek to have a picnic basket delivered for your visit. Pair with a glass and a seat on the patio with stunning views overlooking the stunning Cowichan Valley.
Averill Creek isn’t the only winery to enjoy a picnic at – head to the Southern part of Cowichan to Rocky Creek Winery for a glass of award-winning wine. Rocky Creek encourages visitors to grab a glass and take a seat on their outdoor patio or in a colourful lawn chair so you can really sit back and enjoy the experience. Rocky Creek offers a selection of local cheeses from Cure Artisan Meats, as well as a marvellous view of the vineyards that you have to thank for your wine.
There are several other wineries that offer bring-your-own-food options where you can do a formal tasting and grab a bottle of your favourite and you take in breathtaking views of the rolling hills. Click HERE for a complete list of Cowichan wineries.
Relax at duncan’s centennial park
Centennial Park in downtown Duncan is the perfect spot for a family picnic!
The park features a water spray park, play structures for children, tennis courts, basketball court, exercise equipment, a 500 metre trail for walking/ running/ wheelchairs/ & strollers, a fully covered picnic area, and lawn bowling.
Centennial Park is also home to the popular Jubilee Gardens, a community garden project, and the Cobb Oven, a wood-fired oven, grill, and burner that can be rented for a truly unique outdoor cooking experience! The oven was inspired by the Cowichan Community Kitchen’s ‘Field to Table’ project. Perfect for a family day or group outing potluck.
Enjoy some local eats at Station Street Park
Don’t feel like packing your own picnic? Same. Duncan’s Station Street Park is the perfect spot to grab a “bit of everything” this summer! Duncan is community further inland in Cowichan, nestled between Cowichan Bay and Somenos, and renowned for its abundance of locally-sourced food and farms. The Duncan Farmers Market is full each season with fresh fruits, vegetables, and craft goods and brings visitors from all over Vancouver Island. The market is currently open 9am – 2pm every Saturday with a limited capacity of 80 vendors.
The popular downtown park has been turned into an outdoor food court called Station Street Common for local restaurants, featuring picnic-style menus where you can grab some takeout from one of Duncan’s many renowned restaurants and relax.
Visitors to Station Street Park can also take in the famous Duncan Totem Walk, a celebration of the region’s Indigenous history, featuring 44 poles carved by local and non-local artists. Sitting on the traditional lands of the Quw’utsun’ (Cowichan) people and known as the City of Totems, Duncan holds one of the world’s largest outdoor collections of totems.
Experience the Rushing River at Bright Angel Park
Sip & savour by the Sea at Kinsman Beach
Prefer a picnic by the sea? A favourite is Chemainus’ Kinsman Beach.
This spot is set perfectly along the coast, giving you an unforgettable view of the surrounding waters, particularly at sunset. It offers a number of tables set up above the beach and just behind is a playground that’s perfect for any little ones tagging along.
Once you’ve taken in the gorgeous scenery surrounding the town, head in and stroll through the streets to see the equally magnificent Chemainus murals. These murals cover the town and have played a large part in making the town of Chemainus the cultural icon that it is.
Experience the Rushing River at Bright Angel Park
Pay a visit to Bright Angel Park to experience the subtle rumble of the Koksilah river and the surrounding woods that lend some shade on a warm day.
Once you’ve finished picnicking, pack up and check out another feature of the park – the suspension bridge! This bridge is a popular spot to get a unique view of the Koksilah River running below and makes for a great photo opp.
Get the Lay of the Land in Lake Cowichan’s Central Park
If you prefer to picnic by calm waters, set up at Central Park in Lake Cowichan. Located in the heart of the town, this quaint park has picnic tables set up right along the Cowichan River, creating an idyllic spot to sit down with a good book or a great group of friends.
If you start feeling the Warmland sun you’re a minute’s walk from Deep Fried Ice Cream (yes, you read that right!), the hottest way to cool off here in the lake town.
Change Paces at Ladysmith’s Transfer Beach
Ladysmith not only offers First Avenue, recently named Canada’s Great Street by the Canadian Institute of Planners, this seaside town is also home to a spectacular beach.
Transfer beach offers grassy seating areas, a playground on the water park for the kids, and of course, a beautiful oceanside beach with stunning views of the local bay. In addition to tables, a grassy slope offers plenty of shade for those looking for a seat out of the sun.
Ready for the cherry on top? Or should we say, the cranberry on top? To complete your picnic prep, stop in at Yellow Point Cranberries farm and pick up some of their locally produced cranberry preservatives or a crisp cranberry salad for a refreshing kick on a hot summer’s day.
Wade in the Water at Bamberton Provincial Park
Tucked away in the Bamberton Provincial Park is a scenic spot to sit down for a bite to eat with friends and family. The Bamberton beach offers plenty of seating making it easy to find a table or bench to enjoy the picturesque view of the Saanich Inlet.
Looking to have a picnic on your own private island? Well, bring a couple towels or chairs (and be prepared to get a bit wet) – during low tide a small sandbar breaks through the water just a few meters from the shore, making it the perfect picnic spot.
Take in Canada’s Tallest Wooden Trestle
Last on our list of prime picnic locations is the historic Kinsol Trestle.
As you arrive and make your way to Canada’s tallest wooden trestle, take in the panoramic view (and great picture spot) of the surrounding forest and the Koksilah River running below. Then choose from one of the two picnic table landings, right below the trestle, which really gives you a whole new sense of the scale of the Kinsol Trestle.
Alternatively, take a walk down one of the trails that run along the river and set up a private picnic spot a few minutes away in the Koksilah Provincial Park to enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest.
These are just a handful of great spots in Cowichan to set up for a picnic in Cowichan. Thankfully we have no shortage of mountains, lakes, rivers, and beaches to be explored year-round, so remember to pack a few tasty local treats and a camera to capture all your adventures!