We’ve Got Layers

Nanaimo has one of the longest shorelines in Canada, and a forested mountain backdrop just outside downtown. The city projects out into the strait of Georgia in the Salish Sea in the like a headland, affording waterfront on three sides and spectacular ocean views at every turn. The local landscape is defined by Mount Benson, which rises 1,006 metres (3,300 feet) perfect for avid hikers just west of Nanaimo, and the Nanaimo River estuary, the largest estuary on Vancouver Island, which flows into Nanaimo Harbour at the south end of the city. 

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Top Things To Do


Trails in Nanaimo go everywhere, from the oceanside to mountain summits. No matter what part of the city you’re in, you’ll find a walking trail or park close by, offering hours of quiet outdoor recreation. For the ultimate guide to hiking in Nanaimo, click here 

Beach, boating and water 

Stretching across kilometres of Pacific Ocean shoreline, Nanaimo is aptly referred to as the Harbour City. Those ocean waters are the source of many activities, including sailing, fishing, and kayaking. Spend the day paddling around Saysutshun, or get out on a charter to become the next great angler. Click here, to take your adventure to new depths on a snorkeling or scuba diving expedition. 

Float around the harbour or explore nearby islands, there’s just as much of Nanaimo to see by water as there is by land! Launch a kayak from Nanaimo and explore picturesque marine destinations, including Newcastle Island, Protection Island, and the breathtaking Gulf Islands. With so much to explore, paddlers can coast along the ocean for a few hours or plan exciting multi-day excursions. For more information, click here. 

Mountain biking 

Nanaimo has quickly become one of the most popular spots on Vancouver Island for mountain biking. With an excellent selection of trails, a comfortable climate, creative trail builders, and ample support services, you are sure to have everything you need to enjoy your next ride. Click here, to learn more.  

Golf courses for everyone 

The courses are welcoming and picturesque, set against the breathtaking beauty of Vancouver Island’s forests, mountains, and ocean. With three executive courses—including a casual pitch and putt— and two enjoyable 18-hole courses, Nanaimo has a golf course for everyone. For more information, click here.  

Sip and savour 

Explore the flavours of the world at the heart of the Island. Our rich heritage has produced the perfect combination of classic techniques with local twists, and nouveau flavours steeped in homegrown ingredients.  They have world-class fine dining options, quirky diners serving down-home favourites, traditional Coast Salish fare on Saysutshun plus floating restaurants with the freshest seafood, sushi shops, street vendors, and cultural experiences that bring you to their homeland for a dish or two. Click here, to explore the culinary scene.  

Gabriola Island 

Only a 22 minute ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo, Gabriola is a magical place to experience a vibrant community inspired by the wondrous natural beauty of this Gulf Island. Click here, to learn how to get there and what the island has to offer. 


Looking for more inspiration? Check out these itineraries.  

A Vancouver Island Getaway