In addition to being the perfect spot for a romantic getaway, did you know that Tigh-Na-Mara is a popular family destination?
The family-friendly resort, located in beautiful Parksville, B.C., is the perfect place to spend some good ol’ fashioned quality time with your clan.
Recently, Jason and I decided to enjoy a mini vacation with Molly and Zoe at this picturesque award-winning hot spot. Having spent our second honeymoon at the resort just a few months prior, we weren’t quite sure what to expect with a three and five year old in tow. Would we have as much fun? Would it be just as relaxing? Would our girls LOVE Tigh-Na-Mara as much as we do?
Well, after staying for three nights and four days in our rustic log cabin complete with all the luxuries and comforts of home, I am happy to report that yes, we all had a blast; yes, there was lots of time to unwind in our spa robes and YES, they are already begging to go back — and so are we!
While there are endless reasons why we enjoyed our holiday, I’ve managed to whittle down the list for brevity purposes. Here are 10 reasons why you should make Tigh-Na-Mara your next family getaway.
1. Minimal Travelling
Let’s face it — long drives with little kiddies is not exactly fun. To get to Tigh-Na-Mara from the Fraser Valley, it’s just a quick 45 minute drive to the ferry terminal and then a one hour and 45 minute sail to the island. Thankfully, there is a little play area for the kids on the boat to run wild, an arcade and lots of seating and tables to play cards and colour. I for one cannot take the BC Ferry without indulging in a bowl of the White Spot clam chowder. It’s so good!
2. The Destination
Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre is located in picturesque Parksville, BC, on Vancouver Island. This all-season oceanfront resort is set in 22 acres of tranquil Arbutus & Douglas Fir forest with sweeping panoramic views of the Strait of Georgia and Coastal Mountains.
As soon as you pull up to the property, you’ll feel all your stress and tension melt away — even with preschoolers fighting over who gets to get out of the car first. Prepare to be happy, laid-back parents for the duration of your stay.
3. Beautiful Beaches & Parks
The Parksville-Qualicum Beach area enjoys the mildest year-round climate in Canada. Guests of Tigh-Na-Mara enjoy golfing nearly every day of the year as well as hiking, wildlife viewing, beachcombing, relaxing and taking in the beautiful view of the Strait of Georgia and Coast Mountains.
Explore the incredible old-growth forest of Cathedral Grove at McMillan Provincial Park or visit any number of the extraordinary parks in the region including: Englishman River Provincial Park; Rathtrevor Provincial Park; Little Qualicum Provincial Park; and Top Bridge Regional Park. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the many local hiking and mountain biking trails, caving, kayaking and fishing opportunities or hit the world class ski slopes of Mount Washington in the winter season. All less than a one hour drive, the location offers easy access to the very best of Vancouver Island.
4. The Food
During our second honeymoon at Tigh-Na-Mara we dined at the Cedars Restaurant and Lounge. We were both a little anxious about bringing our girls to dinner to this beautiful contemporary dining establishment — after all, you never know what kind of behavior to expect from them out in public. Either they’re A. little angels or B. little girls gone wild. Fortunately, Molly and Zoe were good as gold! It may have had something to do with the exciting kids menu and the Shirley Temples they ordered. The best part is that if you dine between 4:30 and 6 p.m. kids eat for free. Our server was also very attentive and great with the girls. Jason and I ordered a couple of martinis and appetizers. I highly recommend the crab and shrimp cakes. So good!!!
5. Tons of Amenities
You’ll find that there’s plenty of entertainment and things to do for your whole clan, including an outdoor playground with two sets of double slides, an indoor pool and hot tub, ping pong table and a full-service spa. You can even borrow a couple of board games and movies to enjoy in your room or cabin.
6. Kid-Friendly Programs
While Tigh-Na-Mara is known throughout North America for it’s award winning Grotto Spa and rustic accommodations, it also boasts a one-of-a-kind extensive Resort Recreation Program. Available during summer holidays, Spring Break and the Christmas holidays, there are an abundance of exciting and educational seasonal activities for kids of all ages. From arts and crafts in the Kids Club to Build Your Own Bear, off-property excursions and much more. During our stay, the girls were so excited to participate in the Build Your Own Bear program. In addition to it being a fun experience to build your own teddy bear from scratch, it’s a one-of-a-kind keepsake for both of them to remember our special getaway. We also signed them up for swimming lessons, which was another big hit. Their instructor Lindsay was fantastic! Both passed their swimming lessons with flying colours last week and we owe it all to her.
For couples who want to spend a few kid-free hours while on their vacation to check out the spa –and really, who couldn’t use a break? — Tigh-Na-Mara offers affordable babysitting services. All of the sitters have been interviewed and screened by Tigh-Na-Mara and have their Babysitting Certification. Babysitters will provide their own transportation to and from the Resort. Note: Babysitters must be booked 24 hrs in advance and are subject to availability.
8. The Little Extras
They say it’s the little things that you always remember — for our trip to Tigh-Na-Mara this especially rings true.
Molly and Zoe felt like royalty when we arrived at our gorgeous two-bedroom cottage to find a bucket filled to the brim with goodies for them to enjoy. There was even a little welcome note and chocolates for mommy and daddy.
9. The Accommodations
Usually our accommodations involve sleeping on an air mattress in a tent, so this was definitely an upgrade. Our authentic log cottage, set among 22 acres of Arbutus and Douglas Fir forest, featured a traditional wood- burning fire place, comfortable rustic furnishings, bathroom and a full kitchen.
I have so many happy memories of this little community, situated on Provincial Highway 4 A, just 10 km West of Parksville. Coombs home to the famous Coombs Market where a family of goats actually live on the roof. There are tons of eclectic little artsy shops and boutiques, along with one of my favourite restaurants — Cuckoos. For some reason this Italian restaurant reminds me of a Woody Allen movie. The patio is so beautiful and charming — tons of seating, little white lights and plum trees everywhere. After our meal, the girls were so excited to pick their own dessert. Also in Coombs is Butterfly World and the World Parrot Refuge — it’s even the location for the Coombs’ Bluegrass Festival that’s held every B.C. Day weekend.
And there you have it — just 10 reasons why you should consider Tigh-Na-Mara for your next family getaway. While the Summer Recreation Program wraps up in early September, the Kids Club and programs start again during the holiday season. However, even without the set programs, there’s still so much to see, do and play with for all ages!
(Disclaimer: While our vacation was complimentary, all opinions expressed are my own).