Nanaimo

Travel Guide
Port Alberni featuring a marina

Take a ferry to one of British Columbia’s oldest cities and enjoy its cosmopolitan mix of a college town, a waterfront resort and an old mining boomtown.

Nanaimo is Vancouver Island’s second-largest city and a convenient access point for the island’s natural landscape. Located on the east coast, Nanaimo is nestled between island’s mountainous interior and the scenic Strait of Georgia. Explore Nanaimo to experience a perfect balance of Vancouver Island’s history, local culture and beautiful scenery.

Stroll along the Harbourfront Walkway to see the lively city center crowded around Nanaimo’s port. Here, alongside seafood restaurants and delightful teashops, you will find the Bastion, one of the last remaining outposts of the Hudson Bay Company. Visit this mid-19th-century tower at noon to hear the midday cannon. Browse the intriguing exhibits in the nearby Nanaimo Museum to learn about the city’s history as a coal mining boomtown.

Enjoy one of the mildest climates in Canada and swim at Nanaimo’s picturesque beaches. Try diving off the island’s coast and see beautiful multihued reefs growing around the wreck sites of three ships. Spot octopus, sea lions and eels in the clear waters.

Take a passenger ferry to one of the islands around Nanaimo Harbor. Newcastle Island is a small wooded landmass only a 10-minute ferry ride from Nanaimo. Wander the beaches, check out the tide pools at low tide and try local seafood at the island’s bistro. The larger Gabriola Island, known as the “Isle of the Arts,” is a great place to explore Nanaimo’s artisan culture. Tour the small galleries and buy souvenirs at a boutique.

Head inland from Nanaimo to discover the impressive mountains and valleys of Vancouver Island’s interior. Take a wine-tasting tour of the Cowichan Valley south of the city. Explore the forested trails of the western mountains, crowned by Mount Bastion. Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is a favorite destination due to its beautiful waterfalls among wooded canyons.

Nanaimo is located 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Vancouver across the Strait of Georgia. Reach Vancouver Island by ferry or plane and make this scenic mining town your first stop.

Where to stay in Nanaimo

Coast Bastion Hotel
Coast Bastion Hotel
3.5 out of 5
11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, BC
The price is ¥10,206 per night from Nov 24 to Nov 24
Located in the heart of Nanaimo, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Bastion and Nanaimo Museum. Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park and ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (948 reviews)
"Excellent service and very clean Location is perfect and great view from the room Did not use restaurant menu was limited, but went cross the street one of the best seafood restaurants Overall great experience"

Reviewed on Oct 22, 2021

Coast Bastion Hotel
Best Western Dorchester Hotel
Best Western Dorchester Hotel
2.5 out of 5
70 Church St, Nanaimo, BC
The price is ¥11,312 per night from Nov 7 to Nov 7
Located in the heart of Nanaimo, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Bastion and Nanaimo Museum. Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park and ...
3.8/5 Good! (852 reviews)
"Great hotel in nanaimo. Especially love the washer dryer facilities which were so useful, plus microwave and crockery for guest use. Limited cleaning due to staff shortages and covid, but we had a great stay anyway. Will stay there again."

Reviewed on Oct 21, 2021

Best Western Dorchester Hotel
Days Inn by Wyndham Nanaimo
Days Inn by Wyndham Nanaimo
2.5 out of 5
809 Island Hwy S, Nanaimo, BC
The price is ¥11,014 per night from Nov 14 to Nov 14
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Nanaimo Museum, Bastion, and Vancouver Island University. Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park ...
3.8/5 Good! (967 reviews)
"N/a"

Reviewed on Oct 18, 2021

Days Inn by Wyndham Nanaimo
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Private 1BR Suite Ocean & Landscape Views
Private 1BR Suite Ocean & Landscape Views
Nanaimo, BC
The price is ¥10,555 per night from Oct 30 to Oct 30
Located in the heart of Nanaimo, this vacation home is within 3 mi (5 km) of Pipers Lagoon Park, Departure Bay Beach, and Long Lake. Woodgrove Shopping Centre ...
5/5 Exceptional! (3 reviews)
New, Clean, Quiet, Spacious - Fantastic For the Price
"Our stay was excellent. The listing said ocean view, but the ocean was blocked by trees unless you walked to the fence and looked over. That wasn't a major concern because we were hardly there during the day, but that might be important to some. There are also a lot of steps down to the door as Nanaimo ..."

Reviewed on Sep 29, 2021

Private 1BR Suite Ocean & Landscape Views
Luxury Downtown Penthouse
Luxury Downtown Penthouse
Nanaimo, BC
The price is ¥44,974 per night from Oct 25 to Oct 25
Located in the heart of Nanaimo, this romantic apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Bastion and Nanaimo Museum. Nanaimo Aquatic Centre and Vancouver ...
5/5 Exceptional! (1 review)
Beautiful spacious condo
"Lots of space to relax. Everything that you need for an amazing stay!! Close to harbour front walkway and restaurants."

Reviewed on Sep 5, 2021

Luxury Downtown Penthouse
RELAX, BE INSPIRED HAVE FUN IN THIS SAVVY SEAGULL SUITE RETREAT
RELAX, BE INSPIRED HAVE FUN IN THIS SAVVY SEAGULL SUITE RETREAT
Nanaimo, BC
This family-friendly Nanaimo vacation home is located on the waterfront, within 3 mi (5 km) of Pipers Lagoon Park, Departure Bay Beach and Long Lake. Brechin ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (78 reviews)
Great
"Enjoyed our stay."

Reviewed on Oct 22, 2021

RELAX, BE INSPIRED HAVE FUN IN THIS SAVVY SEAGULL SUITE RETREAT
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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