A New Way to Explore
As we explore within our own communities, we want to give you a piece of the West Coast you can take with you everywhere you go, a series of incredible moments you’ll never forget, and a 360 Nanaimo experience.
On this trip, you’ll experience the rich history of our community, explore the ocean and wooded tapestry of Vancouver Island that lives here, discover the artisans and local business owners that make us unique, and treat your tastebuds to the cuisine of the island.
Get ready to explore locally and travel differently.
Head out to Nanaimo early so you can make sure you get the most out of each day, don’t worry; the first stop is a coffee shop. Javawocky Coffee House is an independent coffee shop located along downtown Nanaimo’s seawall. Start your day off right by grabbing a coffee and a treat to-go and enjoy the views!
After getting your caffeine fix, it’s time to go fishing! Westwood Lake and Colliery Dam Park are both stocked with trout and offer a few great spots to drop a line for an afternoon, so slip on your gumboots and get ready for some shoreline fishing. But before you go, be sure to pick up a freshwater fishing licence from Cabelas.
When you’re feeling hungry, head over to Gabriel’s Gourmet Cafe on Commercial Street for some delicious farm to table eating! We recommend grabbing one of their burgers to go and heading to the waterfront to take in the calm. Once you’ve finished eating, make sure you take a walk around to check out the local shops that make the area unique.
After a long day of sightseeing and fishing, it’s time to head over to your hotel. Waterfront Suites & Marina is located right on Stewart Ave and offers very spacious rooms equipped with full kitchens and private balconies. That way you can safely cook for yourself if dining out isn’t your thing!
Javawocky beverage and a waterfront view
Fishing in Nanaimo
Day two is all about exploring the rich and mysterious history of Nanaimo. Start by enjoying a self-guided or guided tour within your household party only and immerse yourself in Nanaimo’s unique history at the Nanaimo Museum.
The museum is an excellent introduction to the area’s past, first as a home for the Snunéymuxw (the name from which Nanaimo derives) people and then as a coal mining boomtown.
The rest of your day can be spent on an exciting self-guided walking tour through the history that surrounds us, download the app OnThisSpot. With 400 photo opportunities and six walking tours across downtown Nanaimo, Newcastle Island, and Departure Bay, anyone with a smartphone can peel back the years in an unprecedented new way and discover how the city has evolved over 170 tumultuous years.
There are many great eateries along the way for whenever you need to grab some lunch; we recommend checking out The Oxy Pub on Fitzwilliam Street. If you’re a fan of wings, theirs have been voted “Best Wings” five years in a row! Enjoy an option of physically distanced dine-in or takeout.
Today will be an active day filled with hiking, exploring, and discovering the beautiful wonders of Nanaimo outdoors. Make sure you fuel up first with a quick trip to Bocca Café before beginning the half-hour drive out to our first stop. Grab some coffee, breakfast, and lunch for later!
Nestled near the coastline of Cedar is our first stop, the Cable Bay Nature Trail. Light and easy for anyone to enjoy, including four-legged friends that are permitted to roam off-leash! Soak in the rocky shoreline views, try out some amateur birdwatching, and keep an eye out for other local wildlife.
After stopping for lunch, head over to Ammonite Falls for a more moderate hike. The falls were named for the collection of ammonite fossils in the area, including one that might be the largest ever found on Vancouver Island; this is a great hike for any time of year.
From Ammonite Falls, it’s just a 15-minute drive to dinner. Call ahead and pick up a well-deserved pizza from Mambo Pizza, and then it’s just a few minutes to get back to your hotel suite to put up your feet and enjoy. If you feel like trying something fun, order their Aloha pizza!
Cable Bay Nature Trail
Our last day starts with a trip to one of our most popular spots, the Nanaimo Art Gallery, the perfect activity for any day, rain or shine. Experience the masterful works of local artists, such as Marianne Nicolson’s Inquiry to Newcomers, installed at the rear of the Nanaimo Art Gallery, as well as visiting exhibits from other galleries.
Ending the trip with a foodie’s dream, the ultimate Nanaimo tasting tour! For the adults, we have four local breweries open with their own distinct flavors and selection: Wolf Brewing, White Sails Brewing, Cliffside Brewing, and Longwood Brewing. All these breweries have excellent protocols in place for social distancing and takeout options, so choose a designated driver and work your way down!
For a sweeter experience for the whole family, try out the Nanaimo Bar Trail. This is a great option for folks without a lot of time before heading home and can also take up a whole day with dozens of unique takes on the Nanaimo Bar, along with other edible and non-edible versions, including martinis, pedicures, soaps, and more. Make sure you visit our What’s Open page to see which stops are open and to check out the safety protocols in place!
Crow and Gate Pub
Nanaimo is excited to be welcoming guests back to our beautiful beaches, quiet forests, and friendly businesses, so let’s remember to explore responsibly! Wear a mask indoors and aboard the ferry and adhere to social distance guidelines when necessary. We’re happy to welcome you to Nanaimo!