Follow winding Hawkins Road up and over the hill to Goose Spit on a sunny day, winter or summer, and you’re bound to be greeted by an armada of cars spilling out eager beachgoers. Who can blame them? One of the Comox Valley’s favourite beachfronts, Goose Spit offers exposed sandy beaches on one side and a protected bay on the inside. Complete with fire pits and picnic tables, it is surely the perfect location for your family picnic.
Bring your kayak, your stand up paddleboard or, on the windy days, your kite surfing set up. Enjoying the beach with family and friends is part of building lifelong memories, but there’s plenty of shoreline to explore away from the crowds and a wide variety of life beyond the human faces. Follow the footprints of a great blue heron through the wet sand to the right of the Canadian Forces cadet base and when the tide is right you can wander all the way around the spit in a 4km loop. The flats of the inside bay are covered in mudflat snails and oysters, and if you’re lucky you might spot a mammoth Lewis’s Moon Snail. Jellyfish pulse in the warm shallow water of the bay; tiny nudibranchs cling to the eelgrass. A ragged group of pilings and a grass cloth hut mark out “little Mexico” on the soft sand banks of the spit tip, are a favourite oasis of local summer boaters.
On quieter days it’s a spot to listen to the longtailed ducks cry and watch hawks hunt over the meadow above the sand. Out again on the exposed side, the soft sandy bank changes quickly to rocky shoreline, which in turn gives way to a vast expanse of flat sand and tidal pools with the outgoing tide. Sand dollars and giant pink stars are laid out as the water recedes; frilled dog winkles, leather stars and ornery red rock crabs hide in the water amongst the seaweed.
Goose Spit is perfect for kids and dogs splashing through the sandy shallows and laughing with friends across the fire pit. But, be sure to explore a little further and find the secret population on the wilder side of this ragged peninsula.