Comox Valley, Courtaney & Cumberland
Driving south from Campbell River we chose the old hwy instead of the main one, which took us past ocean views and cute farm country. On the way you can do your grocery shopping, there is a bunch of signs for locals selling fresh eggs, veggies, honey, chickens, salt, etc. Don't forget to support local! :) We stopped at Clever Crow farm and bought cheap and amazing zucchinis, salad (with flowers and different kind of herbs) and eggs. The farmer was super nice, she showed us how she makes her own salt.
I put Comox, Courtaney and Cumberland in the same post because they are kind of a community together and complement each other really well. They have plenty of options to have a lot of fun such as climbing, hiking, biking, kayaking and more. The 3 of them are a good place to stay and never get bored!
Comox town is a real beauty small town made with a lot of delicacy. We fell in love with it. It has small shops, cafés, bike shop, book shops, restaurants and gellato shop (good artesian gellato and spanish Tortitas de aceite). Down at the harbour there is a precious green grass playground surrounded by colourful flowers, a big willow and a wooden gazebo.
Ask at Simon's bike shop at Comox Ave for biking maps, they are really nice and they will give you good info.
Have a unique refreshing bath at Nymph Falls, where you can get in very easy from the road and enjoy plenty of naturals pools.
For enjoying hiking, biking, climbing, camping or any outdoor activity you have Strathcona Provincial Park with plenty of options. Have a look at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/strath/
Biking at the Northeast Woods-Lazo Marsh Conservatory is great for beginner bikers or for a warm up. The area features a lot of small trails with easy jumps and drops. Watch out for trail runners and dog walkers.
Or at Seal bay, there is a 10K loop in the forest for beginners with different options and smaller loops. Very smooth and relaxing, perfect for a chill exercise day. There is also alternative paths designed only for walking.
Don't miss the bouldering at Comox Lake, it's a developed bouldering and sport climbing area with a great potential. It's beside a campground and a lake, three in one!
Park in a pull out before the campground and walk on to the grounds. Take the chained off road that goes left up hill (marked as group camping access) and very soon you will see a boulder on your left. Follow the trail into the forest and explore! There is a bunch of boulders, easy to find and at the top of the hill is the sport climbing. You will see how the area is getting work from the locals and improving so much with cool wood benches and clean paths. We did a few boulder problems and it was smooth and fun, from V0 to V4. Has possibilities to start new harder problems and awesome projects. You can buy the guide at Valhalla in town, we didn't do it for one day but definitely worth it.
Is the biggest of the three towns, the commercial and industrial center, full of big buildings and concrete, but still worth a look with a attractive long main street with plenty of eateries.
WHERE TO SLEEP?
We couldn't find any free camp so we took the last option Walmart for free. This one was actually pretty good, far from the hwy, in a very well maintain area with a forestry background. We felt ok staying here.
Our favourite place was the Café called The Broken Spoke Bike Café. A super beautiful space with an artistic breeze all around, decorated with taste, love and travel passion. It is also a bike shop and repairs.
Rec center for $2
We found Cumberland to be a very hip town, main street was really well decorated, every business has a particular character! We just passed though and took a fast coffee but it's totally worth a look!! :) There is so much to discover here! :)