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​Nanaimo is a classic West Coast community situated on the eastern shores of Vancouver Island overlooking the Salish Sea with Vancouver and the Lower Mainland only a short 1-hour, 40-minute ferry ride away.   Although known as “The Harbour City”, Nanaimo is quickly becoming known for the singletrack found in the lush green forests only a few minutes from the center of town.  The Doumont trail network features well maintained tech and flow trails for beginner to advanced riders.   Mount Benson is a prominent feature of the Nanaimo landscape and features the Westwood Lake trails at its base.  Gabriola Island, just a 20-minute ferry from downtown Nanaimo, offers XC trails and a chill vibe for a fun family adventure.

Nanaimo on
1. The Nanaimo Bar Trail

So you’ve got a sweet tooth, do you? Follow this self-guided tasting trail to discover all the secret variations of the legendary Nanaimo Bar dessert. Your taste buds will love you!

2. Whale Watching Tour

Ever wondered what it’s like to see whales blowing and skimming across the ocean waters? Head out with Vancouver Island Whale Watch on a tour and keep your eyes peeled for orca, humpback, and other marine mammals!

3. Visit Saysutshun (Newcastle Island)

Just minutes from downtown Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park, a visit to Saysutshun is the perfect addition to your itinerary! Check out the island for just a few hours or stay and play for the weekend. The island offers basic tenting sites, walking trails, an interpretive centre, a bistro, and much more! Plus, you can learn more about the island’s important connections to the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

4. Craft Beverages And Culinary Tour

Welcome fellow wine snobs, beer fanatics and bonafide foodies from far and wide – we can’t wait to share our tasty vittles with you! Book a culinary, craft beverage and/or Estate Winery tour with one of our fun and knowledgeable local guides to treat your palate to the Island’s finest. Learn more about the BC Ale Trail.

5. Historic Cannon Firing

Did you know that Nanaimo was originally established as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading hub? These 19th century cannons were part of the original defenses, and are still functional! You can watch the daily cannon firing ceremony – accompanied by bagpipes – on the waterfront at 12 noon, May thru September.

6. Discover Downtown

Find quaint shops, heritage buildings, culinary experiences and attend an event in Diana Krall Plaza or the Old City Quarter historical district.

7. Artisan Trail

For the ultimate artisan experience, we recommend driving along the Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Trail loop. There’s plenty of beautiful stops along the way, providing a chance to visit farms, meet local growers, and chat with artists who are famous for crafting one of a kind creations!

8. Fishing And Crabbing Charter

Whether you are an experienced fisherman or have yet to feel the thrill of catching a meal on a hook, Nanaimo & Region’s fishing and crabbing charters will not disappoint! One of our local guides can get you out on the water, where you’ll be able to catch fresh seafood and bring it ashore for a feast!

9. Paddles Up

Nothing clears the mind and calms the spirit like a good paddle. The protected waters of the Nanaimo region’s lakes and harbours are full of secret coves and inlets to explore by kayak, canoe or paddle board. This is one of the best ways to spot rare wildlife or catch the perfect coastal sunset!

10. Nanaimo’s Natural Wonders

With some many nature-rich parks to chose from in the Nanaimo region, peace and quiet is never hard to find. Common favourites include the tidal lagoon at Pipers Park, sandstone rock formations at Malaspina Galleries, the Abyss fault line, and Ammonite Falls. Ask a local about their favourite natural wonders!

For more great ideas visit Tourism Nanaimo.

Nanaimo, BC is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 113 km north of Victoria, and 55 km across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver (1-hour, 40-minute ferry crossing)

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7-Day Itinerary: Vancouver Island

7-Day Itinerary: Vancouver Island

Follow this itinerary for a week-long trip exploring Vancouver Island. Start up island and travel south, checking out some of the top places to ride on the island. Pair biking with local breweries and jumps in the ocean for the perfect way to cool down after long rides. 

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A Week on Vancouver Island

A Week on Vancouver Island

Winners of Mountain Biking BC’s “Bikes and Beer” contest learn about Vancouver Island time and what makes it tick.  Words and photos by Robin Munshaw Day 1: Taking our time on the drive up the east coast of Vancouver Island, we got to know Rachael and Aaron as they...

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