Pipers Lagoon Park is one of the finest, most exotic oceanside parks in Nanaimo.
The lagoon itself (Page Lagoon) is the size of three football fields. It fills to the brim at high tide, and empties almost completely when the tide goes out, leaving a nutritious muck that attracts all kinds of bird life.
But the real highlights are the rocky shores and crags with their walking trails, and the beaches with their driftwood offerings.
After parking, you walk along a narrow, straight dyke between the gentle lagoon and the restless surf. The waves from the open water have created a marvellous pebbly beach along this stretch. The swimming is good here, and the driftwood logs create ample opportunities for building sun shelters and forts! (There is actually a collection of driftwood gathered into a copse of bushes dominated by a big oak tree; the logs are constantly assembled into a fort structure that kids LOVE to play around.)
After the long dyke, it gets rocky: there are basalt bluffs (caution) that are fun to climb, arbutus groves and huge Garry Oaks, eagle nests and wide views of the Strait.
It should be noted that the trails around the bluffs are fairly rugged and should not be attempted by those who have mobility challenges. The park is very accessible until one gets to the first bluffs, where some light rock climbing is required to proceed - unless one sticks to the beach (not possible at high tide).
This "island" can be reached by pedestrians during lower tides.
Shack Island is a T-shaped, exotic slice of short bluffs and rocky beach amidst the shallow waters that separate Pipers Lagoon from Neck Point to the north.
The "shacks" are rustic in appearance and are often thought to be abandoned, but really they are treasured and used as summer cabins by a lucky few descendants of the original owners. So, please be respectful of these properties if you venture there.
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