A rocky coastline bordered with lush vegetation in Nanaimo, British Columbia

Cruise to Nanaimo, British Columbia

Nanaimo, British Columbia, is a bastion of outdoor exploration and wildlife sightseeing. Also known as Harbor City, this rests on Vancouver Island in the protected waters of the Straight of Georgia, directly across from Vancouver. Head to Hemer Provincial Park — part of park system that protect the area's flora and fauna — where you can stroll beneath the Douglas firs and big-leaf maples while you try to spot beavers, bald eagles and trumpeter swans. Cruise to British Columbia and adventure to nearby Newcastle Island, and walk the shoreline steeped in sandstone cliffs. Explore First Nations art and prehistoric rock carvings at Nanaimo Museum. And don't leave without sampling a Nanaimo bar, a glorious chocolate-covered mess of graham cracker and custard.
National Language English
Currency Accepted Canadian Dollar (CAD)

Things To Do in Nanaimo

A harbor and waterfront walkway in Nanaimo, British Columbia

Nanaimo, British Columbia, Harbor

Hub on the Harbor

Hub on the Harbor

The harbor is the heart of this island city, and the Harbourfront Walkway puts it on display. Stroll the path that connects city to water with gorgeous harbor views and a collection of shops and cafes.

Ancient rock carvings

Nanaimo, British Columbia, Ancient Rock Carvings

Prehistoric Findings

Prehistoric Findings

Petroglyph Provincial Park is home to a collection of rock carvings dating back more than 1,000 years. Replicas of the carvings allow you to run your fingers along the patterns and even make a relief rubbing on paper for a unique souvenir.

Boats docked at the Newcastle Marina in Nanaimo, British Columbia

Nanaimo, British Columbia, Newcastle Marina

Get Back to Nature

Also known by its original First Nations name Saysutshun, Newcastle Island is accessible only by boat. With cruises to British Columbia, a 10-minute ferry ride will sweep you away from the city and into the ancient woodland island park. Forest trails and waterfront views will refresh you with natural beauty, and a bistro in the center of the park will take care of any cravings generated during your hike.

A white plate with two Nanaimo bars

Nanaimo, British Columbia, Nanaimo Bars

Local Cuisine

Nanaimo lends its name to the infamous Nanaimo bar — a sweet, gooey, chocolatey sensation made of layers of chocolate crumb wafer, custard and chocolate ganache. Variants include additional flavors such a mocha and mint. Fresh-caught seafood turns up in a variety of styles, from traditional fish and chips to surprisingly fresh sushi — Japan is just on the other side of the ocean, after all. Head to the Old Town for that indulgent Canadian specialty poutine, french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.

A face carved in wood surrounded by colorful designs

Nanaimo, British Columbia, Artisan Woodwork


Downtown Nanaimo offers an array of shopping opportunities. Head to Woodgrove Centre for name-brand fashions. Stroll along the waterfront and pop into the many boutiques — signature items include First Nations-style artisan woodwork and even custom-made rowboats. The center of Nanaimo's downtown in home to the Arts District. There, you'll find galleries and studios where artists create and sell works of traditional and contemporary art.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 Be prepared for plenty of walking by wearing comfortable and sturdy shoes.
2 Dress in layers, as the ocean breeze may cool the air along the waterfront.

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