What to do
What to do
It’s the many options from sea to sky that attract visitors to Nanaimo. Discover the things to do here in Nanaimo, from outdoor adventure to festivals and events. Discover what to do
Where to stay
Where to stay
Nanaimo has no shortage of comfortable lodgings, from hotels to campgrounds. Check out our booking tool to find accommodations in Nanaimo and book your stay. Discover where to stay
How to get here
How to get here
Planning your transportation to and from Nanaimo is easily tailored to the type of experience you’re looking for on Vancouver Island. Learn about travelling by air, land, or sea. Discover how to get here

Nanaimo, British Columbia

The city of Nanaimo is a classic West Coast community, offering natural beauty at every turn, and vast recreation potential. Nanaimo has one of the longest shorelines in Canada, and a forested mountain backdrop just outside downtown. Here, you can go from the wilderness to the city centre in just a few minutes, and spend more time in the places you want to be.

Nanaimo, BC is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 113 km north of Victoria, and 55 km across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver. The city projects out into the strait like a headland, affording waterfront on three sides and spectacular ocean views at every turn. The local landscape is defined by Mount Benson, which rises 1,006 metres (3,300 feet) just west of Nanaimo, and the Nanaimo River estuary, the largest estuary on Vancouver Island, which flows into Nanaimo Harbour at the south end of the city.

Nanaimo is the place to find natural wonders, festivals, culinary joys, and so much more. Discover your Nanaimo 360 by browsing things to do, places to stay, and how to get here.

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What’s Your Travel Type?

Have you ever wondered what type of traveller you are? Whether you’re more of a history buff, or perhaps a thrill-seeker? Destination Canada created this quiz to help you better understand exactly what type of traveller you are. If you’d like to see an itinerary that matches your traveller type, check out our custom itineraries.

Free Spirit

Free Spirits are most likely to be seen at a tourism hot spot, participating in a group tour, or dining out at a top restaurant.

Cultural Explorer

Cultural Explorers are most likely to be seen exploring heritage sites and museums. CE's also love to interact with locals.

Authentic Experiencer

Authentic Experiencers are most likely to be seen in nature reserves, hiking and enjoying the great outdoors, at a heritage site or a museum.

Latest blog posts

The play’s the thing – Shakespeare by the Sea and more in Nanaimo

August 17, 2017

More than 400 years after William Shakespeare penned a play, we still can’t get enough of the loveable Bard. It’s no wonder Will’s timeless wit, wisdom, tragedies and comedies keep people coming back every year for Nanaimo’s immensely popular festival, Shakespeare by the Sea. This year it will be held Sept. 15 -17. The seaside location at Pioneer Waterfront Plaza puts a Nanaimo spin on Shakespeare’s works, as does the Vancouver Island Shakespeare Arts Society (VISAS) interpretation on his plays. This year, VISAS will perform the tragedy, King Lear, along with an abridged version of The Complete Works of William […]

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The Authentic Nanaimo 360 Experience

August 15, 2017

When I’m travelling I want to experience everything the location has to offer by fully immersing myself in the history, culture, and day-to-day life of the locals. Just like anyone else, sometimes I forget to get in touch with the place I call home. But lucky for me, that place is Nanaimo. This city has everything anyone could wish for: lively marine ecosystem, diverse indigenous wildlife, and a trendy downtown urban sanctuary. When I feel like I’m losing touch with my hometown, I take advantage of the first opportunity I can to experience Nanaimo all over again. Day 1 Breakfast: […]

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Get your Fringe Festival on and explore the outer reaches of Nanaimo, too

August 9, 2017

Fringe Festivals happen all summer around the world – from the world’s largest event in Edinburgh, Scotland, to the delightfully unique one right here in Nanaimo. What is a fringe festival you may ask? It’s a kind of free-wheeling show brought to you by theatre troupes from around the world. They each bring their own combo of stage talents – actors, musicians, comedians and storytellers – to the masses in hilarious, and at times, absurd ways. There’s also plenty of opportunity for audience participation in the shows. Nanaimo’s 10-day festival happens Aug. 10-19, at three locations: Port Theatre, Vancouver Island […]

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Itineraries

The Real Nanaimo Harbour City

From sweet treats to a day out on the water, this is the authentic Nanaimo experience.
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Hikers Paradise – Find Yourself in Our Woods

Walk the beaches and groves of Nanaimo, while experiencing food and fun west coast style.
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Historic Nanaimo

Tour BC’s 3rd oldest community from walking through a replica mine to firing a cannon!
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Wolf & Waterfalls

After walking to waterfalls, explore Nanaimo's local craft beer and food scene.
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