#Explore Nanaimo Adventures
Adrenaline pumping to scenic serenity, these adventures should top your “Must Do” list.
Here are a few breakfast options that open early so you can get an early start to your hike:
The Vault Café – The atmosphere is funky, the art is eclectic and the food is awesome.
Coco Café – Not only does this café create delicious food, it’s a Cedar Opportunities Co-Operative providing employment and training opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
Two Chefs Affair – Husband and wife culinary team, Chef Daniel brings the savory aspect and Pastry Chef Tammy brings the sweet side.
Hike to the top of Mt. Benson! This trip takes most people 3-4 hours round trip at a steady walk, this includes some time for a snack and soaking up the views at the top. There are some steep, scrambling parts so wear appropriate footwear, layer your clothes and go well before sunset to avoid hiking in the dark. You access the trail head at Witchcraft Lake Regional Trail and can see stunning views across the Salish Sea on a clear day.
You’ve worked up an appetite; here are some great options with generous portion sizes and an atmosphere where you won’t feel out of place dining in your hiking gear:
Real Food Fast – Nestled in the Old CIty Quarter, serving real nourishing, healthy and rejuvenating food.
Pho A Dong – Humble setting, amazing Vietnamese food. Try the hot & sour soup, it’s a must!
Delicado’s – Sit in or take it to go. This Mexican restaurant is fun, fresh & oh so good.
Book a 20 min sight seeing float plane tour with Sunshine Coast Air. Fly over White Cliffs of Gabriola, Pipers Lagoon, Entrance Island Lighthouse, seals sunning themselves on the shores of Snake Island and more!
After you’ve conquered your climb, you can dine at any of these restaurants, they all offer great views looking back at Mt. Benson:
Gina’s Mexican Cafe – Delicious Mexican food made with local ingredients in Downtown Nanaimo.
Longwood Brewpub – Airy mountain-view hangout serving house-brewed lagers and ales along with eclectic pub grub.
Nest Bistro – Local, organic New Canadian cuisine and cocktails are the draw at this cheerful bistro with a patio.
Watch the sunset from the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. We promise, this is a very short and easy walk to overlook Departure Bay on one side and the sunset behind Winchelsea Islands from the other.
A couple options for breakfast downtown before you start on your day.
Gabriel’s Cafe – Farm to table fresh. Watch for the eggs benny of the day!
Minnoz Restaurant – Located inside the Coast Bastion Hotel, with great views of the bustling harbour.
Wildplay Element Park offers several adrenaline pumping options! Adults and kids (7 & up) can “Monkido®” challenging themselves in a tree-top obstacle course. There is bungy jumping off a 160ft bridge over the Nanaimo River, the Primal Swing, WTF Jump and DragonFLY Ziplines! You could be an hour or four depending on the challenge you choose and how large the group size. So much fun though. You can also pack a lunch and eat while you cheer on brave adrenaline junkies at the picnic tables looking out to the bungy bridge.
Here are a few places you can pick up a sandwich to go and or pack a picnic to bring along to Wildplay:
Perkins Coffee Company – Local tip – their molasses bread is amazing!
Riverside Fresh Food Market – Pick up your own fixings at this market on your way to Wildplay.
Coco Café – So many sandwiches and wraps to choose from! Our fave is Jack’s Point.
Walk Jack Point & Biggs Park or along Cable Bay Trail.
Jack Point & Biggs Park – There is an abundance of wildlife here as the start of the trail is along the estuary. The boardwalks and wooden stairs lead you around a 2.5km loop. If you go at low tide, you can find little sandstone caves along the water’s edge.
Cable Bay Trail – This hike leads you down, down, down to the water’s edge where you can watch the boats navigate through Dodd Narrows. It’s a great spot to watch sea lions looking for lunch and don’t be alarmed if you find several dinosaurs along the way. Someone has lined this 2km trail with many hidden dinosaurs in the woods.
These dining locations give you the flexibility to dress up a little to dine. You won’t be disappointed with any of these options:
Riso Foods – Here you’ll find a great patio, wood-fired pizza oven where they bake real Neapolitan style pizza, slow rise organic breads and road house-made bacon.
La Stella Trattoria – Offers wood-fired pizza and handmade (gluten-free) pasta in the Old City Quarter.
Westwood Lake Bistro – Dine in this gorgeous, quiet setting overlooking Westwood Lake.
Can we suggest an evening walk around Westwood Lake? This 6km leisurely loop leads around the lake with some side trails to lounge on the rocks overlooking the lake and looking up at Westwood ridges.