COVID-19 alert: Travel requirements are changing rapidly, including need for pre-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine on arrival.

Nanaimo
Travel Guide

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

Top hotels in Nanaimo

Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort
Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort
3.5 out of 5
1155 Resort Drive, Parksville, BC
The price is £97 per night from 7 Mar to 8 Mar

Offering direct access to the beach, this Regional District of Nanaimo resort is within 1 mi (2 km) of Riptide Lagoon Adventure Golf and Rathtrevor Beach Provincial ...

4.2/5Very Good! (888 reviews)

"Beautiful place, amazing in the winter snow. A very memorable stay. Warm, toasty cabins were perfect to relax in."…"

Reviewed on 16 Feb 2021

Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort
THE Beach Club Resort
THE Beach Club Resort
3.5 out of 5
181 Beachside Drive, Parksville, BC
The price is £119 per night from 4 Mar to 5 Mar

Located in Regional District of Nanaimo, this romantic hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Vancouver Island University Parksville Campus and Parksville Beach. Rathtrevor ...

4.3/5Excellent! (804 reviews)

"We got the ocean view suite because I was with my partner and 2 kids. It’s was spacious and the view was breathtaking. It had a fully fitted kitchen, which came in handy to reheat the kids meals and there were several food options around. The pool and hot tub was a PLUS. Due to covid, we had to book ..."…"

Reviewed on 17 Feb 2021

THE Beach Club Resort
Coast Bastion Hotel
Coast Bastion Hotel
3.5 out of 5
11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, BC
Free cancellation
The price is £82 per night from 4 Mar to 5 Mar

Located in Regional District of Nanaimo, this eco-friendly hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Bastion and 2.2 mi (3.6 km) from Departure Bay Ferry Terminal. Nanaimo ...

4.4/5Excellent! (984 reviews)

"The views. The bed comfort. The front desk made us come down three times to pick glass , cutlery and food."…"

Reviewed on 16 Feb 2021

Coast Bastion Hotel
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.

Top Holiday Rentals in Nanaimo

Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort
Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort
3 out of 5
1175 Resort Drive, Parksville, BC
The price is £99 per night from 9 Mar to 10 Mar

Located in Regional District of Nanaimo, this condo is within a 10-minute walk of Parksville Visitor Centre and Craig Heritage Park and Museum. Riptide Lagoon ...

4/5Very Good! (279 reviews)

"The suite I was in was clean, comfortable and had everything I needed to make my stay enjoyable for the weekend. I would recommend these suites to my friends and family!"…"

Reviewed on 18 Jan 2021

Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort
Ocean Trails Resort
Ocean Trails Resort
3.5 out of 5
1135 Resort Drive, Parksville, BC
The price is £113 per night from 1 Mar to 2 Mar

Located in Regional District of Nanaimo, this condo is within 1 mi (2 km) of Riptide Lagoon Adventure Golf and Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. Parksville Beach ...

4.4/5Excellent! (175 reviews)

"The unit itself as well as the property was very clean. Everything looks really well kept. The staff i spoke with on the phone was very helpful and accommodating."…"

Reviewed on 23 Oct 2020

Ocean Trails Resort
Ocean Sands Resort
Ocean Sands Resort
3 out of 5
1165-Resort Drive, Parksville, BC
The price is £97 per night from 1 Mar to 2 Mar

Located in Regional District of Nanaimo, this beachfront condo is in a provincial park and within 1 mi (2 km) of Riptide Lagoon Adventure Golf and Rathtrevor ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (252 reviews)

"Beautiful ocean front view and easy access to the beach."…"

Reviewed on 30 Dec 2020

Ocean Sands Resort
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.

Popular places to visit in Nanaimo

Top things to do in Nanaimo

Cities near Nanaimo