By Katie Maximack
When you grow up on the ocean, your favourite local beaches tend to change as your life does.
As a kid, you likely prefer the sandy beaches, where you can build sky-high sand castles with deep moats, sand dollar windows, and wooden-stick soldiers. You can run into the water not having to worry about cutting open your feet on barnacled rock, and you can try to dig up and catch a geoduck – if you’re lucky.
As a teenager, you might tend to gravitate to beaches where you’re away from the prying eyes of curious adults; where you can meet up with your friends from school, listen to music and hang out with a fire (and hopefully mingle responsibly).
As an adult, I’m discovering that your favourite local beach can depend on a lot of things, like whether or not you have kids, want a fire or just want some peace and quiet.
In the Comox Valley (and even just beyond), there are enough options for everyone.
There’s the rocky Goose Spit and Seal Bay for dog walkers and beach strollers; there’s Airforce Beach and Kye Bay for the sand lovers and wakeboarders; there’s Point Holmes for parkers and seal watchers, and Comox Lake for boaters and dock jumpers; and that’s only naming some of our local beaches.
For me, I’ve loved all of those places at one point as I’ve grown up in the Valley these past 30-something years, but lately I’ve even surprised myself with what’s become my go-to beach in the area.
Normally I would gravitate to the Goose Spit because it’s the closest to my home and a great place to grab a coffee and a catch-up with a friend. Lately, however, it’s been a little too busy for me, buzzing with people with their own coffees and catch-ups, as well as the influx of stair climbers eager for a good workout (good for them though).
So I started to make the drive out to Airforce Beach, excited by the idea of sandy stretches and a cold beer afterwards on the Griffin Pub’s patio – then I remembered they now charge admission for that sandiest stretch of beach in the Valley. Sorry, Airforce Beach, you shouldn’t be able to charge us to enjoy the sand. It’s business savvy, yes, but also cruel to those who maybe can’t afford your “parking pass.”
One day, after refusing to pay at Airforce, my husband and I went for a drive looking for more options nearby, and that’s when I rediscovered Kin Beach, a place I hadn’t seen since my childhood.
It was nestled between cheerful campers on one end and picnic tables on the other. It was quiet, save for maybe the laughter of kids playing on the nearby playground. Across a stretch of green grass, cut neatly by a winding worn path, was the ocean, hugged by large rocks smattered with seaweed and aged driftwood.
It wasn’t groomed with neatly lined log walls and feature rocks, nor was it graced with a kilometre of soft sand, but it was still beautiful in its own right.
More importantly, it was peaceful. It was a place where we could just sit on a log and chat quietly, staring out towards Powell River watching boats go by.
We didn’t have to avoid piles of dog feces or pay money to park there, and we didn’t have to dodge traffic to get back to our Jeep. It was a nice change, and one I realized that I needed at this stage in my life.
We all have our go-to beaches here in the Comox Valley, and I know my current love affair with Kin Beach could change when my next stage of life comes along (likely with children), and that’s okay.
The bottom line is we’re lucky to live here and have so many favourite beaches – and swimming holes, plenty enough to carry us through all of the stages of our lives.
Katie Maximick is a freelance writer for the Comox Valley Record. Her Born and Raised column appears regularly.