5 Reasons to Make Campbell River Your Next Spot for a Girls Trip

Spring has fully arrived on the west coast and summer is nipping at our heels. It’s time to call your besties and get the girls together for some outdoor adventure and TLC courtesy of nature. There’s no time like the present to sweat it out on a forest hike, soak up the sun, feel refreshed by the salty sea air, and pick up where you left off with the laughter and conversation. We know you’ll make the most of every moment spent together in Campbell River, but for now, here are a few ideas to get you started in the group chat.

1.Explore local trails for an endorphin rush and killer views

Take a walk (or run) in the forests of Elk Falls Provincial Park to reach the always impressive Elk Falls Suspension Bridge. Tall trees and rushing waters are relaxing all year round, but a great place to grab some shade to cool off when temperatures start ramping up.

Keen for a more intermediate adventure? The hike to Ripple Rock is a local favourite with a solid trail, viewpoints along the way, and steady uphill sections. The well-maintained forest trail hugs the coastline of Menzies Bay, so the sight and smell of the ocean is never far away. In the last kilometre, you’re greeted with gradual uphill increases; have no fear,  there is a helpful set of stairs, and a rope for one steeper rooted section to give you a helping hand (see photo below). Be sure to pack those snacks (and water) to refuel while you watch the swirling waters of the Seymour Narrows below.

2. get out on the water

You don’t have to be Skipper Thuridur to conquer to the sea, (one of the world’s earliest woman sailors and a celebrated fishing captain in Iceland) but you can book in with any local guide or wildlife company to get your salty sea fix. The options are endless when it comes to being on the water, from fishing, kayaking, supping (stand up paddleboarding), wildlife viewing, to rapids trips. Out here, the world is your oyster. Book with Campbell River Whale Watching for ocean rapids, whales, and wildlife or Big Animal Encounters for up close adventures with snorkeling, scuba tours, and wildlife viewing. You make the call, but getting out on the water is something not to be missed when you’re in Campbell River.

If you’re looking to keep it a little more low key, there are plenty of lakes to enjoy water sports at. Be sure to leave the blundstones in the car, flipflops are the way to go with this venture. Canoeing, freshwater kayaking or why not try SUPing? High-fives all around for new experiences with old friends!

3. all play and no food = hangry. Don’t forget to eat!

Granola bars in the car are convenient, but that’s no way to live when you’re on holidays! Live your best life, take advantage of some hidden gems in Campbell River for tasty meals and a breather between activities. Patio? Campbell River has both floating and on-land options. For fresh fish and chips on a floating dock, hit up the patio at Dockside Fish & Chips. Look out for their mascot Richard the Seal (aka Dockside mermaid); find her immortalized in a driftwood re-creation or bobbing around catching the afternoon rays with you.

Ideal Cafe might be unassuming from the outside, but there’s a reason this place is a local legend. The slogan, “it’s not fancy, it’s ideal” is not only charming but possibly a life motto for your girl gang to adopt going forward. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as chipper staff work with impressive speed and friendliness to serve you anything from mountains of fries to plant-based comfort foods, – this place has you covered. Need a shake to go with that meal? Their 50’s style milkshakes are coveted. Highly recommended for a post-hike lunch spot.

Image credits: Ideal Cafe

Ok, so no one ever needs a reason to have a Ceasar, but working up a sweat and laughing up a storm with your besties are just a few reasons we can think of to greenlight this idea.  SoCal Thursday specials take things to the next level, and hey, if you’re into extra spicy, this is the place to do it! Bonus points for if your pals are visiting from outside of Canada – this is a must do.   

4. let the games begin!

Can’t stop, won’t stop! Let off some steam with your choice of fun activities. Let’s be honest, there’s always someone in the group with a competitive streak. Have a need for speed? Find out who’s the best driver at Saratoga Speedway where you have your choice of Go-Kart to get you across the finish line. Want to work on your upper body strength so you’re ready for the apocalypse?  The friendly staff at  On the Rocks Climbing Gym, are there to help you get on the wall, regardless of your experience level, and conquer your fear of heights if you have one. Happy with a more low-key activity?  The Campbell River Golf & Country Club has indoor/outdoor bays outfitted with top-of-the-line Toptracer technology for a driving range experience completely unlike anything you’ve tried. Get tips from a pro, or take your time and enjoy a cocktail or two (and maybe a 3’ Yard Dog?) as you play.

5. start & end the day at the beach

Rise and shine to meet the sunrise together with a boost of stellar coffee from FoggDukkers to wake you up. It’s not every day that your coffee shop is right on the beach, and it opens at 6 am so no excuses for sleeping in! Get that java run going. 

When you’re done your adventurous day, do like the locals and head back to the water to watch the sunset. Or keep going with evening activities, Stories Beach is close to town and a hotspot for water-based activities. Sunset paddleboard anyone? Or have a fire on the beach with friends to recap the day’s adventures, a staple around these parts.

Before you join in on this local tradition follow best practices.

✓check for any provincial or local fire bans

✓make sure your fire is below the high tide line

✓have something on hand to extinguish the fire and when you leave to make sure the fire is completely out.
Local etiquette: Take all your garbage (including shellfish shells) with you. Leave the spot clean for the next crew of folks.


Last but least.. pack all the fixins for S’mores!

how to get here

You can fly in from anywhere in the country and land at the Comox Valley Airport, where you can get a rental car and be in the heart of Campbell River within 45 minutes. 
Journey to Campbell River by
sea, land, or air. If traveling by air, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the islands and waterways below. (Campbell River is a hub for aviation fanatics for a reason!) Regularly scheduled flights from Vancouver and Washington touchdown daily at Campbell River Airport, where you can connect to car rental services and are just 15 minutes from the city. 

The world is literally your oyster!

While you’re here, and when you’re reminiscing:

Remember to share your adventures with us using #DiscoverCampbellRiver. And be sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts to keep up to date on activities, events, and year-round updates on wilderness experiences in this beautiful place we call home!