One of my favourite summer pastimes is watching sunsets on the beach. I find it so soothing listening to the ocean wash ashore, the tumbling of the stones beneath the water, and the feeling of the sun’s warmth fading as it dips below the horizon. Whether alone, with a friend, or with a group of people, sunset watching will always be my go-to when I need to de-stress. There are so many spots where I can do just that, which is why I decided to compile a list for you including some of my favourite beaches from which to watch the sun set.
I mean, do I need to explain this one? The proof is in the name! Located at one of the many beaches that Neck Point offers, Sunset Beach is one of the only beaches in the area where you can actually watch the sun hit the water on its way down! One of my most favourite times spent here was with Sarah – it was last summer, we had just hit the Parksville Night Market, and were on our way home. As we drove down Hammond Bay Road, we looked into the rearview mirror and were shocked to see the skies brilliantly painted in shades of orange and red. We made a snap decision to pull in at Neck Point Park – and just in time too. We ran along the short trail to the opening of Sunset Beach, worried we’d miss the sun before it sank beneath the ocean. But it was meant to be – sitting low in the sky was a dazzling red sun. We sat, chatted, snapped a few photos – it was bliss!
Bonus beach: Twin beach at Neck Point is another great spot – I’ve enjoyed many sunsets perched atop the cliffs here!
Jack Point/Biggs Park
Although it takes a little while longer to get here, make no mistake, Jack Point Biggs Park is worth it! This walk, accessed from the Duke Point area, boasts incredible views of downtown Nanaimo. The city shines majestically as the warm colours of the sunset bounce off the downtown skyline. Then, as dusk begins to settle in, Nanaimo sparkles as she lights up for you. One of my favourite moments here was watching the Empire Day fireworks – if you haven’t seen the fireworks from this vantage point, you’re totally missing out.
If you plan to sit and stay until after dusk, make sure to bring a flashlight with you! It gets mighty dark along the path – and please use the buddy system!
A little hidden, a little tedious, a lot worth it. Located at the corner of Blueback Road and Icarus Drive, Blueback Beach is accessed via a 200+ step staircase that winds down the cliffside through a thick set of trees and overgrowth. The best BEST (best!) time to head down here is at low tide, otherwise there’s not much beach for you to check out. In fact, when the tide is really high, it’s almost impossible to access the beach. At low tide, sandy beaches stretch for miles. One of the things I like most about this beach, other than its seclusion, is that, on a hot day, you can hide out from the sun under the canopy of trees along the shoreline. The overhang of trees acts as a nice umbrella on those rainy days too! But we’re talking about sunsets here, not stormy days! Although this beach is very secluded, don’t be surprised to see some local residents out for a walk either with their family or (family) dog!
As with Jack Point Biggs Park, make sure to bring a flashlight and a buddy with you if you plan to stay at Blueback Beach until dusk – thanks to that thicket of trees, it’s pitch black along the staircase back to the road. Also don’t be alarmed if you shine your flashlight on two glowing orbs – chances are they’re probably a set of deer eyes (which is why you should have a buddy with you – safety in numbers!)
Tired of the crowds angling for a seat on the beach to watch the sunset? Looking for quiet time (and not listen in to other’s conversation time?) Eby beach might just be the spot for you! Located in quiet, sleepy Lantzville, Eby beach is the perfect spot for some solitude. Sure, you may not be the only living soul soaking up the last of the days rays, but you’ll be one of the only few. I actually never knew this serene beach existed until Sarah introduced me! If this was a blind date (between me and the beach) it was love at first sight. Even in the colder months, Eby beach is the perfect spot to pull your car up, turn on some tunes, and relax from the comfort of your own vehicle.
Beachcomber is a very rocky beach, complete with large pieces of driftwood and tide pools for you to explore! Even though the locale is pretty neat – it’s a bit more difficult to find a seat thanks to the large rocks that line the beach. So perch yourself on one of those big pieces of driftwood to watch that magical sunset! As with Sunset Beach, you may be able to see the sun hit the water on the horizon (instead of sinking behind smaller surrounding islands). Like a few of the other beaches on this list, Beachcomber is usually pretty quiet. Actually, if you’re lucky, the only company you’ll have is a few seals who’ve swum up to also enjoy the magnificent sunset!
San Pariel Beach
Last on my list is the beach located along the residential area known as San Pariel. Located just south of Parksville (the exit is immediately before the infamous orange bridge!), this beach never fails to amaze me. Since I live in this residential area, I’m privy to some of the best views and sunsets a girl could ask for! This view will never get old. Whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall, I can always count on a magnificent sunset. In fact, I’ve seen so many great sunsets here, it was hard for me to pick just one photo:
Where is your favourite sunset spot? Do you like to watch the sunset to de-stress? Maybe you have another fun way to unwind? If so, let us know in the comments below!
– Sean xx
(want to read more from Sean? check out her other posts here!)