Rathtrevor Beach Park in Parksville is one of the premier vacation destinations on Vancouver Island. Rathtrevor offers majestic old-growth woodland, beautiful ocean sunsets, and a wide, sandy beach with campsites nestled among the trees.
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 sunbaked sand, the warmed water is perfect for swimming.
Rathtrevor is ideal for a relaxed family outing. Sit back and soak up the seaside atmosphere or take a walk through the wooded upland area of the park. All campsites are within a five-minute walk of the beach, which stretches for two kilometres. The park also features a large day-use and picnicking area.
Bird watching is another popular activity at Rathtrevor, particularly in the spring when large numbers of seabirds congregate for the annual herring spawn. During February, March, and April, this park is also one of Vancouver Island’s best spots for viewing migrating Brant geese.
Rathtrevor Beach is a very popular park all year-round. During the summer months (between the last week of June and Labour Day in September), reservations are required. From May 15 to the last week of June, reservations are highly recommended. All drive-in and walk-in campsites are reservable.
Learn more about camping reservations
Unclaimed or unreserved sites may be available on a first come, first served basis. Contact the park operator for more details.
Group campsite reservations are available at this park. For more information on groupsites, see the group camping page.
Group picnic shelter reservations are available at this park. For more information, see the picnic shelters page.
There are four group campsites in Rathtrevor Beach Park located off Rath Road, just past the administration building, before you reach the day-use parking lots. Sites 1 and 2 have partial treed areas, sites 3 and 4 are situated in large grass areas. Facilities include picnic tables, fire rings, hot showers, flush toilets, changing facilities, and a wash station with fresh water.
Rathtrevor Beach Park offers vehicle-accessible campsites, set in the wooded upland. All sites are within a five-minute walk to the two-kilometre stretch of sandy beach.
Facilities include hot showers, flush toilets, an adventure playground, fresh water, and a sani-station.
Campsite reservations are accepted and first come, first served sites are available in the shoulder season.
The park is very busy during the summer months and reservations are required between the last week of June and Labour Day.
Rathtrevor Beach Park has 25 walk-in campsites in an open field southeast of the gatehouse. All 25 walk-in sites are reservable. Pit toilets are located nearby, with showers and flush toilets a short walk away. There are five communal fire pits and a wash station with fresh water.
This park offers year-round camping, with limited facilities during the off-season.
The campground roads at Rathtrevor Beach Park are paved for easy access. Campsites, shower stalls, flush toilets, beach access, many walking trails, and parking stalls in the day-use area are all wheelchair-accessible.
See more accessibility information for this park:
Rathtrevor Beach Park features a large day-use and picnicking area near the beach. This area includes two parking lots, 75 picnic tables, two reservable picnic shelters, pit toilets, two flush toilet buildings, changing faculties, walking trails, and an adventure playground.
Pit toilets are located throughout the park. Flush toilets are available at the day-use area and through the main campground.
There are three shower buildings at the main campground and one in the groupsite area. All of the shower buildings have hot water.
Cold water taps are located at the day-use area and throughout the campgrounds. These taps are shut off during the winter season. Taps for filling reservoir tanks in vehicles are located at either end of the sani-station and are available year round.
Rathtrevor Beach Park features three playgrounds, one in the day-use area, a small one near campsite 149 and a large one with a bike track near campsite 75.
A sani-station is available year round.
Campfires are allowed at Rathtrevor Beach Park and campfire rings are provided at each campsite for use by registered camping parties. However, we encourage visitors to conserve the environment by minimizing the use of fire and using stoves instead. Please conserve firewood and air quality by keeping your campfire small. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented. Be prepared to bring a portable stove for cooking.
Firewood can be purchased from the park operator. To preserve vegetation and ground cover, please do not gather firewood from the area around your campsite or elsewhere in the park (this is a ticketable offence under the Park Act). Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil.
Rathtrevor Beach Park offers 5.5km of easy walking trails, most of which are wheelchair-accessible. Trails meander along the beach and weave through mature forests. Short trails link the campsites to the beach. Another trail loops from just before the main parking lot around a pretty heritage farm field. Detailed trail maps are posted at information shelters in the park. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Taking shortcuts destroys plant life and soil structure.
Rathtrevor Beach Park offers excellent ocean swimming opportunities. At low tide, the ocean recedes almost a kilometre, providing an ideal place for youngsters of all ages to play. When the tide rolls in over the hot sand, the warmed water is perfect for swimming.
There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
This park can be accessed by canoe or kayak. The tide can be very low. Check the local tide guides for details.
Rathtrevor Beach Park offers limited opportunities for saltwater fishing. Fishing is permitted in line with provincial and federal fishing regulations. All anglers should check the current regulations issued by Fisheries and Oceans Canada prior to fishing. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
There is an outdoor amphitheatre and a nature house, ideal for interpretive programs.
This park offers spectacular panoramic views of the ocean. From early February to May, visitors can view the impressive Brant geese migration.
Domestic animals must be on a leash and under control at all times. You are responsible for their behavior and must dispose of their excrement. Dogs are not permitted in the day-use or beach areas of the park. Pets are allowed on the beach adjacent to the campground between May 1 and February 14. However, they must be leashed. Please observe posted signs. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to the presence of bears and other wildlife.
Bicycles are allowed in Rathtrevor Beach Park but they must keep to roadways and designated trails. Cycling on the beach is not allowed.
Bicycles with electric assist motors (e-bikes) are not allowed on the trails. E-bikes are restricted to park roads and areas where motorized use is allowed. The only exception to this policy is for authorized and identified trail maintenance bikes conducting work on behalf of BC Parks. For more information on e-bikes in BC Parks, see the cycling page.
Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
There are opportunities for ocean windsurfing in this park.
Rathtrevor Beach Park is located three kilometres south of Parksville on highway 19a, in the central Vancouver Island area. Take exit 51 from the Inland Island Highway (highway 19) and follow signs to the park. The closest communities are Parksville, Qualicum, and Nanaimo.
Any maps provided on this page are for information only. They may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
R.L.C. Enterprize Ltd.
Rathtrevor takes its name from the Irish family who homesteaded on this land. William Rath, a gold prospector, arrived in 1886 with his young wife and baby daughter. They built a log cabin, cleared the land, and built the barn. William died in 1903, leaving Elizabeth the farm and five children. She proved to be an industrious person, successfully running the farm and eventually operating it as a campground.
The suffix 'trevor' was added to give the campground a more lyrical name. Rathtrevor Campground became Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park in 1967 and, though much has changed since William and Elizabeth first arrived, its beauty and importance will be preserved for our continued enjoyment.
Several species of wildlife can be seen in the park, including deer, raccoons, squirrels, otters, mink, eagles, osprey, hawks, vultures, and owls. Many shore and migratory birds also use the park area during their spring and fall migrations.
The most famous migratory shore birds are the Brant geese (Branta bernicla), who use the beaches of Rathtrevor and Craig Bay as staging and feeding areas during their spring migration to northern Canada and Alaska.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.