Stage 16 - Courtenay to Nanaimo
Distance: 132 km
Riding Time: 2.5 hrs
Stage 16 represents the absolute best seaside roads that are available on Vancouver Island. It's not a fast stage, and it's not a difficult stage. But it is one of the most beautiful rides with near constant views of the Strait of Georgia and the Sunshine Coast across the water.
During the summer, this stage can get a bit backed up with tourists and RVs. Ride this stage in the morning, if possible.
Goose Spit Park is a great meetup point and offers a perfect point for watching the sunrise, if you're up early enough.
Food and Coffee
There are plenty of options along the stage for grabbing a burger, stopping into a pub, eating at a food truck, or having a quick coffee. If this is your first time on the Island, make every effort to try order oysters at the Fanny Bay Inn!
I'm biased when it comes to riding beside the water, and this stage delivers a nearly non-stop view of the straight and various different Islands.
Unless you ride this stage in the early morning, you will definitely encounter some traffic. As long as your expectations are set to enjoy a leisurely ride, then the traffic won't be seen as an issue.
This stage is generally one long continuous road. The only challenge will be keeping your eyes on the road with all of the great scenery to view.
Road Conditions: 5/5
Fully paved road in good condition.
Photos & Videos
Points of Interest
1. Goose Spit Park
The park is a unique landform, which together with Gartley Point creates the Comox Harbour. On the inside is a sheltered lagoon which provides food and habitat for many migratory and resident waterfowl. Brant geese use the park as a migratory stop over from March to May every year. A log wall in the high tide area helps prevent the road from being washed out during winter storms.
2. French Creek Seafood Market
The French Creek Seafood Market always carries a wide variety of sustainably harvested, fresh local seafood, including Sockeye Salmon, Pacific Halibut, Pink Salmon, Spot Prawns, Coho Salmon and Albacore Tuna. This is absolutely some of the best seafood available on the Island.
3. Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park
Old growth trees, ocean sunsets and a massive sandy beach with campsites nestled amongst mature Douglas fir trees makes Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park one of the most beautiful locations on the 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. There's also a campground available, but it's considered the #1 most popular on Vancouver Island, so reserve well in advance.