Port Alberni boasts a beautiful backyard

Wake surfing on Sproat Lake
Dr. Michelle Samosinski, local dentist from Port Dental, wake surfing on Sproat Lake

Port Alberni boasts a beautiful backyard

“If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with.” -  L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Welcome to Port Alberni! Our little slice of heaven, where you will find your heart’s desires in all kinds of activities, sites and shopping. Whether you’re traveling solo or with your family, for business or pleasure, or even if you’ve lived here your whole life, you’re sure to find treasures - for the first time, or all over again.

Explore Port Alberni and all its wonders
Aerial view from the  Port Alberni Harbour to Mount Arrowsmith
Aerial view from the  Port Alberni Harbour to Mount Arrowsmith. Photo: Ben West

As you drive up and over the Port Alberni Summit and round those last few curves of Highway 4 into Port Alberni, you may wonder what's hidden just beyond the tree line. If it’s your first time visiting, you may simply not know and if it’s your hundredth time maybe you’ve simply forgotten.

Let me take you far from the main drag on a visual tour through my BIG backyard. A place I’m proud to call home. #ExplorePortAlberni

Lose yourself in the bewildering wilderness
Hiker in mossy forest
Photo: Thomas Parker via Flickr.

Let’s start in my favorite place; amongst the moss-covered trees. Working from home, I can easily say “mañana,” tomorrow I’ll get outside. But a daily walk through the Alberni Valley surrounded by one of the most scenic natural landscapes in the world is such a great break. Take advantage of it! Forest bathing is good for the soul.

There are countless trail systems in the Alberni Valley with varying degrees of length and difficulty. Check out Valley of Trails to discover them all. The Alberni Outdoor Club have organized trips if you need some guidance or company.

Explore mythological figures on your hikes
Petroglyphs at Sproat Lake Provincial Park
Photo: Christian Rasmussen via flickr

Take a shoreline hike to the petroglyphs at Sproat Lake Provincial Park, called "K'ak'awin." Create your own version of the history of the mythological figures etched into the rock, then dare yourself to dip into the lake for a refreshing dip. I hope your water monster is a friendly one.

Drinkwaters Restaurant at Sproat Lake Landing

Sproat Lake, also known as Kleecoot (meaning ‘wide open) by locals, boasts 300 kilometers of shoreline and has two great waterfront restaurants; The Fish & Duck Pub, who also has houseboat and motor boat rentals and Drinkwaters Restaurant at Sproat Lake Landing which features lodging and Dellas Café and gift shop.

Our summers can reach some intense temperatures being in a valley so it’s always a great idea to beat the heat spending the whole day in one of the pristine bodies of water.

Check out these preferred ways to pass the summer days

Another local favorite that has been one of the best kept secrets until recently is the Hole in the Wall on Rogers Creek. It’s a nice little hike and is always a great reminder of just how beautiful nature can be. Keep walking down the trail and you’ll find Sherwood Falls and another great swimming hole.

Or perhaps you like your water a little wilder?
Kite surfing in the Alberni inlet
Photos by: Russ & Brenda Widdess

We have world class Kiteboarding in the Alberni Inlet which is also incredible to watch if you’re not a seasoned pro. Or take lessons and get in the water! GirlOnABoard or South Port Kiteboarding will happily get you started in the right direction.

After all this adventuring, I’m getting a little hungry. Seeing as we’re already at Harbour Quay we have a few options close by.

Lunch on the patio at The Starboard Grill
View from the Starboard Grill
Photo courtesy Starboard Grill
Great Mexican food at All Mex’d Up or maybe the island’s best donuts are all you need
All Mex'd Up' food and sign from The Donut Shop
Photo courtesy All Mex'd Up and The Donut Shop
The Swept Away Inn located at the Harbour Quay, Port Alberni, BC
The Swept Away Inn located at the Harbour Quay, Port Alberni, BC
The Swept Away Inn located at the Harbour Quay, Port Alberni, BC Photo: expedia.

And if you’re lucky enough to already be staying at The Swept Away Inn, you’ll be treated to the most amazing French-Moroccan cuisine outside of Morocco. Your hosts, Dan and Bouchra have converted a 100-ft tugboat into a B&B featuring 8 state rooms, 6 bathrooms (5 with showers), a large salon, galley and a 900 ft2 deck. They do host a dinner club, but it’s booked months in advance, so if you can plan accordingly it’s highly recommended.

Sample of Twin City Brewing
Photo: @tombutton via twitter

Also be sure to pop in for a beer at our very own craft brewery Twin City Brewing. They have amazing hand forged pizza and craft brews as well guest tapped ciders and craft soda for the kids

If you find yourself sitting on the patio at Twin City Brewing, it means it’s summer so be sure to keep an eye towards the river, you never know who you’re going to see. The local black bears are quite often feasting on the salmon or cooling off in the flowing river.

Black bear cooling off in the Somass River.
Bear viewing from Victoria Quay
Photo: Richard Dawes.

Ok so maybe your kids won’t last long sitting in a restaurant. Mine either. Take a walk along Victoria Quay in the summer and you’re almost guaranteed to see a bear, or a family of otters or eagles flying overhead. We have an incredible display of wildlife in all seasons and it’s important to know you’re not alone! Check out these images from Brenda Widdess taken in Port Alberni.

Cougar - Wildlife in Port Alberni
Otters playing in Alberni Inlet - Wildlife in Port Alberni
Photos: Brenda Widess
Rumble into the backcountry in a quad
Exploring with quad via West Coast Edge ATV

Let West Coast Edge ATV tours show you all the amazing sites and wildlife in style! Or if your feeling extra adventurous head for the clear blue yonder via the Vancouver Island Soaring Centre in town.

Flying in helicopter via Vancouver Island Soaring Centre

Port Alberni doesn’t lack the finer things in life

Although we may be a smaller community we aren’t lacking any of the big city amenities. We have a brand new state-of-the-art high school, which is one of the newest in BC.

Picture of Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS)
Alberni District Secondary School

Echo Centre features swimming pools and a gym, conference rooms and the Alberni Valley Museum and Library. Public swim, water aerobics, and the Tsunami Swim Club are all hosted here. Along with everything from Yoga and Tai Chi to Cooking and Painting lessons. All classes are listed the seasonal leisure guide.

View of Echo Centre
Echo Pool
View of an Alberni Bulldogs game

The Alberni Valley Multiplex, features two regulation ice surfaces, and is home to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. A British Columbia Hockey League top team where many of local youth have gone on to University scholarships and NHL hockey.

I’m exhausted, are you?
That was a quick tour through my backyard to show you just some of the highlights. The rest you’ll have to see for yourself.

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