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

Best Western Dorchester Hotel
Best Western Dorchester Hotel
2.5 out of 5
70 Church St, Nanaimo, BC, V9R5H4
The price is CA $144 per night from Jun 5 to Jun 6
Stay at this business-friendly hotel in Nanaimo. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a rooftop terrace. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff ...
3.8/5 Good! (947 reviews)
"Firmer pillows"

Reviewed on May 13, 2022

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, V9R6Z2
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is CA $148 per night from May 19 to May 20
Stay at this business-friendly hotel in Nanaimo. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the pool and the restaurant in our reviews. ...
3.8/5 Good! (982 reviews)
"Overall experience was excellent--friendly, helpful staff. Large room. Good food at the restaurant with healthy options. Continental breakfast was high on the sugar/carbo content but offered fresh fruit & an egg. The palce was quiet with a great bed--slept very well."

Reviewed on May 15, 2022

Days Inn by Wyndham Nanaimo
Ramada by Wyndham Nanaimo
Ramada by Wyndham Nanaimo
2.5 out of 5
315 Rosehill Street, Nanaimo, BC, V9S1E3
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is CA $160 per night from May 19 to May 20
Stay at this business-friendly hotel in Nanaimo. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a fitness center. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (990 reviews)
"It was good"

Reviewed on May 16, 2022

Ramada 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.
Welcome to the Crows Nest
Welcome to the Crows Nest
Nanaimo, BC
The price is CA $85 per night from Jun 5 to Jun 6
Stay at this apartment in Nanaimo. Enjoy WiFi, onsite parking, and a TV. Popular attractions Departure Bay Ferry Terminal and Duke Point Ferry Terminal are located ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (9 reviews)
Home away from home
"This property was just perfect for our needs. We arrived from Vancouver and needed a stopover before heading to Tofino. The property was close to restaurants and grocery stores as well as the ferry. It had all the amenities we needed including laundry but most important was the comfy beds. Really ..."

Reviewed on Oct. 21, 2021

Welcome to the Crows Nest
RELAX, BE INSPIRED HAVE FUN IN THIS SAVVY SEAGULL SUITE RETREAT
RELAX, BE INSPIRED HAVE FUN IN THIS SAVVY SEAGULL SUITE RETREAT
Nanaimo, BC
Stay at this family-friendly vacation home in Nanaimo. Enjoy WiFi, a fitness center, and onsite parking. Our guests praise the breakfast and the comfy beds in ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (84 reviews)
Excellent choice
"We ha a great time"

Reviewed on Apr. 29, 2022

RELAX, BE INSPIRED HAVE FUN IN THIS SAVVY SEAGULL SUITE RETREAT
MID CENTURY MODERN HOME WITH ENDLESS OCEAN VIEWS
MID CENTURY MODERN HOME WITH ENDLESS OCEAN VIEWS
Nanaimo, BC
Stay at this vacation home in Nanaimo. Enjoy free WiFi, onsite parking, and barbecue grills. Popular attractions Departure Bay Ferry Terminal and Long Lake are ...
MID CENTURY MODERN HOME WITH ENDLESS OCEAN VIEWS
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

Cities near Nanaimo