Visiting Nanaimo by Cruise Ship
Vancouver Island's second-largest city is a picturesque oceanfront town with spectacular panoramic mountain views and a busy harbour. Nanaimo (pronounced: Nah-nigh-mo) BC is centrally located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 113 km north of Victoria, and 55 km across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver. The Port of Nanaimo is the gateway to many other destinations both on the northern and southern part of the Island and is therefore known as the "Hub City." From here, it's just a short trip by boat, plane, or vehicle to some of the most beautiful spots on the West Coast.
Need a way to find your way around by foot in Nanaimo once you've arrived? Check out our printable Cruise Ship Map
or simply pick up a copy from our Tourism Nanaimo staff inside the terminal building on cruise ship day!
Tourism Nanaimo looks forward to welcoming you once you arrive in Nanaimo via cruise ship. Our experienced staff will be waiting to chat with you and give you maps, directions & suggestions on different things to see and do while you are visiting our city. Stop by our information desk inside the cruise ship terminal building on your way through to your tours and say hi. If you are off the ship early enough, you can grab a free NANAIMO BAR
(while quantities last) before you head off on your adventures! We can't wait to show you how to #ExploreNanaimo
. Don't forget to get your photo taken with the giant postcard before you leave.
2016 Cruise Ship Schedule - Nanaimo
Salish Spirit Mural Description
Top 10 Things to Do within 2 hours:
For the more adventurous with more time:
- The Bastion - Every day at noon from mid-May through Labour Day you'll hear the sound of bagpipes and the blast of the cannon at the Bastion.
- Nanaimo Museum - The new expanded exhibit gallery portrays the unique aspects of Nanaimo's location, nature and character featuring unique citizens, a coal tunnel replica, and the mining, industrial and social development of the community.
- The Art Gallery - Attracting art lovers and artists alike, the Nanaimo art scene has undergone a revolution.
- Nanaimo Bar Trail - Taste the chocolatey decadence of our famous sweet treat at some of the 34 stops stretching from Lantzville to Yellow Point.
- The Dinghy Dock - is Canada's only registered floating pub. This unique venue enjoys a vast variety of wildlife, sea life and the most amazing views.
- Newcastle Island - Spend an afternoon exploring beaches, hiking trails or viewing wildlife in this marine provincial park.
- Maffeo Sutton Park - A prime viewing area for free summer concerts in the bandshell.
- Pipers Lagoon and Neck Point Park - Two of Nanaimo's best oceanside parks with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains.
- Outdoor Markets - Sample delicious prepared food from a variety of vendors, products and services for the mind, body and spirit.
- Shopping - Downtown Nanaimo features three distinct shopping districts: The Arts District in the city core, the Old City Quarter up the hill, and the Waterfront District along the Harbourfront Walkway, each offering distinctive shops and services.
- Shore Excursions Available (please contact your cruise line for more information)
- Wild Play Element Park - Truth or Dare - bungy jumping, King Swing, Monkido, what will it be?
- Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Trail - Meet the local artisans at galleries, crafts and culinary stops.
- Cathedral Grove - Stand beneath giant Douglas Fir trees more than 800 years old.
- Coombs Market - Wander the little shops, pick up fresh produce, break for an ice cream cone, watch goats graze on the roof!
- Cowichan Valley Wineries - Guides lead you into the vineyard then pair cheeses and smoked salmon with a selection of wines for tasting.
- Horne Lake Caves - Strap on your helmet and light and follow a guide past crystal formations, waterfalls, and ancient fossils in this park's protected caves.
- Murals of Chemainus - take a self-guided walking tour of this "small town that did." Emily Carr is among the artists of the 41 historic murals painted on businesses, that depict the towns mining, fishing, forestry and First Nations history.
- Gabriola Island - Known as the "Isle of the Arts," Gabriola Island is just 20 minutes by ferry.
- Longwood Brewpub - Sample some local beer over lunch.
- Float Plane Tours - experience Nanaimo and the rugged Vancouver Island coastline from a new perspective.
- Rent a Car - Both National and Budget offer rental car options in Nanaimo.
For more information please visit or contact our Visitor Centre.