How to get herePlanning your transportation to and from Nanaimo is easily tailored to the type of experience you’re after 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 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 Explorers are most likely to be seen exploring heritage sites and museums. CE's also love to interact with locals.
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
Festival Nanaimo Celebrations
March 5, 2019
The Signs of Seasonal Change in Nanaimo The days are getting longer bringing with them better weather and the sights and sounds of seasonal change. New spring bulbs and floral buds are breaking free every day. As seedlings start to push through sun-touched soils and new growth paints the landscape in various hues of green, we receive a sense of vitality that comes with rebirth/new life – and what better way to revel in this uplifting and refreshing energy than through the act of celebration. What is Festival Nanaimo? Stradling the spring equinox (20th March 2019), Festival Nanaimo is a […]Read More
The Grand Whiskey Bar
Nearly every man, woman, and child across this great nation knows Nanaimo for the sweet n’ chewy dessert that bears its name, but what if we told you that this great city had another bar worthy of a little recognition? While not a dessert, the Whiskey Bar at the Grand Hotel, Nanaimo is surely something worth buzzing about. Home to “the only fully-fledged bar of its kind on the Island,” says Manager Susie Sirri, this unique establishment offers over 75 different bottles of the much-beloved drink. From traditional single malt Scotch to more intricate blends and exotics from places like […]Read More
A Winter Travel Guide to Nanaimo, BC
January 28, 2019
Exploring Nanaimo with Julia Crawford I’ve always been drawn to British Columbia’s coastal communities. They tend to capture my imagination, from the quaint and slightly dilapidated buildings that have weathered decades of moisture in the salty sea air to the eccentric characters—whether real or historic—that hold a million stories you will never get to hear. In the summer, these coastal communities promise secret beaches and warm, shallow waters. But in the winter, the mild climate means you can walk through a still-green forest surrounded by the heady scent of fir and pine. While I’m familiar with many of the towns […]Read More