Ten things to do in Nanaimo

Ten things to do in Nanaimo

A floating Pub, bathtub races, Nanaimo Bars and more

Located on the shores of the Salish Sea, on traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, Nanaimo’s rich history and culture, as well as natural amenities, make it an attractive destination for vacationers. Consider exploring this guide, choosing your favourites from our suggestions, and finding more that we can add to the list in future editions. Share your adventures with us on social media, using the hashtag #ExploreNanaimo.

Photo by Sean Fenzil

Enjoy a Nanaimo Bar

Nanaimo feels pride in its signature dessert and enjoys Nanaimo bars in all their many forms. “It’s kind of this iconic Canadian dessert,” says Diedre Tansey, food blogger. “When you get the texture and get the flavours right it is just amazing.” Cafés, bakeries, restaurants and breweries have tinkered with the treat in some fun ways to co-operate on creating the Nanaimo Bar Trail. tourismnanaimo.com

Watch world-class bathtub racing

There’s one mode of ocean transport, more than any other,that people identify with Nanaimo – bathtubs.The Great International World Championship Bathtub Race is the main event every year at the Nanaimo Marine Festival. The weekend consists of a series of events, with concerts, street fairs and other family activities, a Sailpast parade, fireworks and more leading up to the great bathtub race on Sunday morning.“Bathtub weekend is iconic,” says Greg Peacock, Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society commodore.This year’s race will be held July 21, when skippers piloting boats made from tubs will attempt to navigate a 58-kilometre course starting and ending at Maffeo Sutton Park. The Nanaimo Marine Festival is July 19-21. bathtubbing.com

Photo by Jordan Dyck

Learn about the Bastion

Nanaimo’s iconic Bastion was built in 1853 by the Hudson’s Bay Company and is the last of the original free-standing HBC bastion forts. Operated as an exhibit by the Nanaimo Museum, it is open for tours daily during the summer season. Every day at noon during the summer, museum staff fire the historical cannons next to the Bastion, located on Front Street.

Dive in

Nanaimo has some of the best temperate water diving in the world. There are three artificial reefs – HMCS Cape Breton, HMCS Saskatchewan and the Rivtow Lion – and an undersea garden of natural phenomena awaits. Snorkel excursions are also available.

Float at the Pub

Take the Protection Connection ferry to Protection Island’s Dinghy Dock Pub, Canada’s only registered floating pub.

dinghydockpub.com

Canoe or kayak the Marine Trail

The Salish Sea Marine Trail is a network of identified and mapped land access points for paddlers. The B.C. MarineTrails Network is continuing to develop campsites, make dock improvements and install signs. bcmarinetrails.org

Zip It

WildPlay Element Park partners with the City of Nanaimo to offer a zip line attraction right over the Sway’ A’Lana Lagoon at Maffeo Sutton Park.

Photo by Brandon Infanti

Climb a Mountain

If you can handle a brisk pace on some of those aforementioned walking trails, then it might be time to see if you can step it up and ascend the summit of Mount Benson. Set aside five to seven hours for a round trip, and expect some steep spots, but the reward at the top is Nanaimo’s best views. Start your hike at the trailhead to the Witchcraft Lake Regional Trail on Benson View Road.

rdn.bc.ca/mount-benson-regional-park

Photo by Photo by Sarah Étoile

Experience Saysutshun

Saysutshun/Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park, just a 10-minute water taxi ride across the channel from Maffeo Sutton Park, features a perimeter trail and other walking trails, a campground, amenities and First Nations culture.Saysutshun in the Hul’qumi’num language means ‘training for running’ and competitive canoe pullers used to run the island’s trails to build strength and endurance.

See what’s on stage

The Port Theatre, an 800-seat downtown venue located steps away from Nanaimo Harbour, stimulates and enhances artistic, cultural and economic activity on central Vancouver Island. The theatre’s programming includes a range of cultural events designed to meet many diverse interests.“I’m always looking for interesting artists, some emerging, some better known, some very well established…” says Bruce Halliday, Port Theatre general manager. “A very simple measure of success is watching an audience leave the auditorium and there’s a buzz after the show.”

Porttheatre.com

For more information visit Tourism Nanaimo or Nanaimo Hospitality Foundation

ActivitiesBoatingBritish ColumbiaCanadaCultureFamily activitiesHikingIndigenous tourismPaddlingSip and SavourTheaterThings to dovancouverisland

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ten things to do in Nanaimo

Ten things to do in Nanaimo

Ten things to do in Nanaimo

Ten things to do in Nanaimo

Just Posted

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
MacGregor to host expert panel for virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MP’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

Homes ranging from $400,000 to $700,000 are the fastest sellers. (File photo)
High demand and low inventory drive a competitive housing market in Ladysmith

VIREB’s Susan Perrey said buyers are looking to take advantage of low interest rates

École North Oyster. (Black Press file)
With more student drop-offs during pandemic, SD68 examines safety outside North Oyster school

Fewer school bus trips and more cars accentuating traffic concerns, say school district staff

Downtown is believed to be one of the areas best poised for new developments. (File photo)
Development remains consistent in lead up to official community plan process

Pandemic or no pandemic, Ladysmith is growing. New developments have sprung up… Continue reading

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Most Read