No matter what the season, we`ve always found things to do in Nanaimo. In the spring, summer and fall, we stay outdoors as much as possible, taking advantage of hidden walking trails and secluded beaches, boating the Gulf Islands, and fishing. And because we love swimming, we always make time for a float down the Nanaimo River on a smoking-hot summer day.
In the winter, some of our Nanaimo activities head indoors, but we're still active. Even though our mild climate means we can play outside all year, things like the community aquatic centres and ice arenas keep us extra busy. For a special treat, we will often make the hour and fifteen minute trek to Mount Washington for a day of skiing.
Here are my top ten fun things to do close to home:
1) Newcastle Island
Absolutely my favourite outdoor escape in all of Nanaimo! Just a short water taxi ride from the harbour, Newscastle Island has hiking, camping and plenty of history. A visit to Newcastle never disappoints.
With over two hundred parks and hiking trails galore, you’ll always find new places to explore.
Here's the city of Nanaimo parks web site and some of our family's favourites.
- Englishman River Falls
- Neck Point Park
- Linley Valley
3) Heritage & Tourist Attractions
Here’s my go-to list for fun activities the kids will love.
4) Beaches & Swimming
Everywhere you look there are beaches in Nanaimo and fun places to get your feet wet. Here's a map of parks, including beaches:
- Beach Estates Park
- Piper's Lagoon
- Departure Bay
- Neck Point
- Swy-A-Lana Lagoon
- Nanaimo River - freshwater swimming and tubing
Thanks to a relatively mild climate, golfing is a year round pursuit in Nanaimo. You won’t miss the jam-packed courses of the mainland. Grab a tee-time and go!
6) Spa Retreats
One of my personal faves is a day at the spa in a spectacular setting. Nanaimo has perfected the art of the spa retreat.
7) Scuba Diving
Did you know Nanaimo has the world`s third largest upright artificial reef? Scuba diving in Nanaimo is a one of a kind experience. Our local dive shops will set you up with equipment and tours.
8) Indoor Activities
When the winter blues get you down, there’s still plenty of things to do.
9) Adventure Tours and Charters
If you are thinking of moving to Nanaimo, or just paying us a visit, no trip is complete without a whale watching expedition or a kayaking tour of nearby islands.
10) Sport Fishing
Nanaimo is a big draw for anglers from all over the world looking for the "big one". Fish stocked lakes for rainbow trout, or try your hand at sockey by trolling the fishing holes up and down the coast.