On the easy-access east coast are three cities packed with character and creature comforts. Courtenay and Comox sit in close proximity on either side of the Comox Harbour; both are known for their boutiques, spas, cafés and bistros serving fresh food sourced from nearby farms in the valley (named after a K’omoks First Nation word meaning “land of plenty’). Further north is Campbell River with its waterfront trails, cycling paths, community festivals and world-class fishing. It’s an excellent accommodations base for exploring the neighbouring ocean, rivers, lakes and wilderness. Offshore from the east coast is a collection of hospitable, B&B-endowed islands where one can de-stress and tune out the world. Not far inland is Mount Washington, a full-service ski resort with plenty of summertime alpine appeal. Driving and cycling tours circle through the revitalized heritage town of Cumberland (a mountain-biking hotspot) and quaint Merville and Black Creek.