Located on the shores of the Salish Sea, discover of one the most beautiful harbourfronts of the West Coast in Nanaimo. Endless opportunities to experience excitement, adventure, culture and art, plus natural and urban amenities, make this an attractive destination for vacationers.
BC’s third oldest city, historically Nanaimo is the homeland of the Coast Salish, who called themselves “Snuneymuxw,” which roughly translates as “gathering place.” In Nanaimo’s harbour is Saysutshun/Newcastle Island Provincial Marine Park, a family-friendly park is only accessible by foot-passenger ferry from Nanaimo’s Muffeo Sutten Park or by boat.
Delve into the city’s rich history and culture at the more than 150-year-old Bastion and the Nanaimo Museum or head outdoors to explore more than 200 parks and trails perfect for walking, swimming, cycling, bird-watching and boating.
Paddlers can launch from both fresh and saltwater locations and boaters will be impressed by the top-notch marina facilities – don’t miss visiting Canada’s only floating pub and with a view back to the city.
- Has a population of nearly 90,000 making it Vancouver Island’s second-largest city
- Home of the Nanaimo Bar sweet treat. The Nanaimo Bar Trail offers a self-guided tour for visitors to try 39 different Nanaimo Bar stops.
- Bathtub racing is Nanaimo’s specialty activity. The Great International World Championship Bathtub Race is the main event every year at the Nanaimo Marine Festival
- Home to Canada’s only floating pub: The Dinghy Dock Pub & Restaurant
Nanaimo experiences a temperate climate with mild, rainy winters and cool, dry summers.
Destination BC is developing a new campaign to promote hyper-local travel where residents are “tourists-in-their own hometown,” while practising the COVID-19 safety protocols as recommended by the B.C. Provincial Health Officer. Many B.C. parks are now open, and national parks were to open as of June 1.
(Check this website for current details on travel.)
There are a few ways to get Nanaimo including a ferry ride with BC Ferries, fly into Nanaimo Airport which offers Air Canada, West Jet and Island Express. Or hop on a floatplane from Vancouver International Airport.
Vehicle: From Victoria, take Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 N for about an hour and a half to Nanaimo.
Bus: Tofino Bus offers services across Vancouver Island, including Nanaimo.