Wherever you go, there are always the places that only the locals know about. The hidden gems, the beaches or lakes they frequent, the places where residents go to relax and unwind that visitors never hear about.

We talked before about a couple of our local Parksville favourites in Englishman River Falls and Top Bridge, great for hikes and experiencing nature. Now it’s time for us to talk about another couple hidden spots to unwind: Spider Lake and Illusion Lakes.

Many visitors spend time at Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park when they visit Vancouver Island – but what they don’t realize is that when they turn off the highway onto Horne Lake Rd that they drive past both Spider Lake and Illusion Lakes on the way.

To get to Spider Lake, just take the immediate first left after turning west onto Horne Lake Rd. Follow Spider Lake Rd until it forks and take a right onto Lakeview to arrive at Spider Lake Provincial Park after a few minutes.

Illusion Lakes is close by, but instead of taking the first left after turning onto Horne Lake Rd, you take the third left onto Shayla Rd.

Both are quiet, picturesque spots for summer picnics, lazy afternoons, and a refreshing swim.