Archaeological evidence suggests the native Coast Salish tribes, including the K'ómoks and Pentledge, lived and fished on the banks of the Courtenay River Estuary at least 4,000 years ago. They called their home kw'umuxws, meaning plentiful. The Comox Valley is an anglicized version of this native word. However, their numbers were dramatically reduced when smallpox swept Vancouver Island in 1862.
Government-approved settlers began arriving in Courtenay in 1872, attracted to its waterfront location and fertile farming soil. By 1876, they'd moved the remaining Coast Salish people into reservations. Living in Courtenay wasn't easy, as the river regularly burst its beds and flooded the town. In 1874, Joseph McPhee commenced work building a bridge between the flood-prone area and higher ground on the river's western banks. This new land became popular with homeowners and entrepreneurs, fueling Courtenay's growth.
While an earthquake in 1946 posed a minor challenge, Courtenay has continued to grow steadily. Its population of nearly 25,600 welcomes visitors and new residents alike.
What is the best time of year to visit Courtenay, BC?
Courtenay's marine west coast oceanic climate brings dry, warm summers and mild winters.
While your accommodation and flight costs will be highest in summer due to increased demand, midyear is the best time to visit Courtenay. Its summer weather will make you feel like you're in the Mediterranean, with average daily temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s.
Relentless rain plagues Courtenay during spring and fall, so while accommodation prices are lower, traveling during these seasons can be unpleasant. The constant showers also make these seasons much cooler than other parts of Canada.
Winters in Courtenay are usually mild by Canadian standards, with daily highs in the low to mid-40s. However, Arctic air movements can cause significant cold snaps. When the chill sets in, there's great skiing in the local area. Accommodation is much more affordable than in more well-known skiing regions, so a winter in Courtenay can be a great choice for snow bunnies.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Courtenay, BC:
Courtenay by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs demonstrating mean nightly cost patterns by star rating class in Courtenay, BC. You can use these charts to evaluate the best time to make a reservation in Courtenay during the year.
What are the Courtenay, BC luxury hotel options?
If you prefer pampering, Courtenay also has you covered. Look to Courtenay's high-end hotels for the luxury you crave.
Best Western The Westerly Hotel is a pet-friendly luxury hotel near the Courtenay River. Its elegant rooms have large flat-screen TVs, walk-in showers, and fast Wi-Fi. For total luxury, book a balcony room. Unwinding on your private space with a glass of wine gazing out at the river is the perfect end to a busy day. The hotel's indoor pool and hot tub will also help you get into the perfect vacation mindset. Pool tables and dartboards make the lounge so much fun. The onsite Flying Canoe West Coast Pub is a lively place for drinks and dinner.
The Old House Hotel & Spa Comox gives travelers the best of both worlds, with its two buildings perched on the tranquil river's edge, mere blocks from the busy streets of downtown Courtenay. It's an all-suites hotel, with a two-storey penthouse for ultimate indulgence. The onsite Ohspa is the perfect place to de-stress, with an outdoor heated pool, hot tub, and attentive staff ready to wait on you hand and foot. Chef Ronald St. Pierre showcases the best local ingredients like bison, rabbit, and venison at Locals Restaurant, regarded as one of the best restaurants in Courtenay.
Where are the budget hotels around the Courtenay, BC area?
You needn't spend a lot of money to enjoy a vacation in Courtenay. The city is home to several economy hotels catering for travelers who value accommodation without the frills.
Travelodge Downtown Courtenay's central location makes it a popular choice among frugal travelers. Its rooms aren't modern but they're well-appointed, with Simmons Beautirest beds fitted with 300-thread count sheets, 32-inch LCD televisions, and complimentary high-speed internet. The business rooms even have kitchenettes for those extended professional trips. The heated outdoor pool opens seasonally. Travelodge Downtown guests enjoy plenty of free perks, including weekday newspapers, local telephone calls, parking, and continental breakfasts each morning.
Anco Inn is a budget-friendly boutique hotel conveniently located within easy walking distance of Courtenay Airpark and Marina Park. When you're not out and about, unwind in the shared lounge area or outdoor pool, openly seasonally. Its rooms aren't flashy, but with cable TV, comfy beds, work desks, and either a coffee machine or kettle for your caffeine fix, you'll find everything you need here. If by chance there is something you need, the friendly reception staff are available 24 hours a day.
2 Star Average Prices: $82.00
Which hotels have the best discounts in Courtenay, BC?
Several Courtenay area hotels offer big discounts to selected travelers. If you qualify for a special rate, remember to present your valid identification when you check in.
Coast Discovery Inn, in nearby Campbell River, has special rates for AAA and CAA auto club members, AARP members, and guests aged 55 and over. Recent renovations have made the rooms feel even more modern. Each one is air conditioned, with premium bedding, flat-screen TVs, and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Wi-Fi, local phone calls, parking, and hot buffet breakfast are all including in the room rate. Enjoy discounted drinks during happy hour, held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily in the bar. Daily specials in D.I. Restaurant & Lounge are another great way to save during your stay.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Comox Valley discounts its regular room rate for AAA and CAA auto club members, Entertainment Card holders, seniors, and American and Canadian government and military personnel. Those discounts make this feature-packed hotel even more appealing. The light, airy rooms are so inviting, with quality beds topped with your choice of pillows, couches, and chairs for relaxing with the free Wi-Fi and cable TV. Staying here is tons of fun, with an indoor pool, and the area's only in-hotel waterslide. Make your own schedule with the business center, fitness center, and laundry open 24 hours.
What hotels in Courtenay, BC offer excellent value?
Satisfied travelers praise the following Courtenay hotels for their commitment to value. Excellent amenities and friendly service make staying at these establishments money well spent.
La Pause Vacation Rental Home is a smart choice because it's self-catered. That means your dollar goes further because you're not paying for housekeeping. The beautiful bedrooms each have their own private bath, ceiling fans, and plenty of space for luggage. Cook up a meal in the kitchen, relax with a book from the library in front of the fire, or let your troubles melt away in the heated pool or hot tub. La Pause also has an onsite art gallery, coffee bar, and movie lounge. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property.
Recent upgrades have helped make Comox Valley Inn & Suites an even better value. All spotlessly clean rooms have a microwave and fridge for basic meals, but if you want to eat in consider booking a kitchen suite. You'll see value no matter when you visit, with the hot tub and heated indoor pool offering perfect weather all year round. Comox Valley Inn & Suites guests also enjoy plenty of complimentary services, including Wi-Fi, local calls, parking, tea and coffee, and wake-up calls so you'll never oversleep.
Where can you look for fossils in Courtenay, BC?
Comox Valley is the first stop on the Great Canadian Fossil Trail, making Courtenay a popular tourist destination for professional and budding paleontologists alike. Volcanic activity and the movements of glaciers and tectonic plates have revealed much of an 80-million-year-old seabed.
You don't need special training to find dinosaur bones or fossils either. Local resident Mike Trask made Courtenay's first major paleontological discovery in 1988 when he found an elasmosaur fossil on the banks of the Puntledge River. His discovery launched a major excavation that eventually unearthed almost a whole skeleton.
So how do you get involved? Joining one of the Courtenay & District Museum & Palaeontology Centre's fossil tours is probably the best option. Your guide will teach you about the fossil site's history, teach you how to dig for dinosaur remains and supply the tools you need to work effectively. You can keep any fossils you find, although you might be asked to donate anything substantial to the museum's collection. Tours run twice daily during June, July, and August, but can be arranged anytime in March to November with the museum.
Comox Valley Fossil Adventures is an independent tour company specializing in fossil tours. Its Tuesday Treks are very popular, so make sure to book ahead if you want to join one.
Of course, there's nothing stopping you finding fossils independently. You'll need eagle eyes and patience, but you never know what you might unearth. The Puntledge River dig site still has many treasures just waiting for you to find them.
Courtenay has a rich history and a vibrant present that makes it so appealing to travelers. Make sure you add this interesting city to your Vancouver Island itinerary.
FAQs about hotels in Courtenay