Let me tell you about Nanaimo, a beautiful coastal city located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It’s a small city with a big heart, and I promise you won’t be disappointed if you decide to visit!
One of the things that makes Nanaimo so special is its natural beauty. From the stunning waterfront to the lush forests and pristine parks, this city has got it all. And if you’re a beach lover, you’re in for a treat because the beaches here are some of the best in Canada.
But Nanaimo isn’t just about pretty scenery. It’s also a thriving community with a diverse range of industries, including forestry, mining, and tourism. There’s always something going on, whether it’s a local festival or a university event, so you’ll never be bored.
And let’s not forget about the food! Nanaimo is famous for its Nanaimo bars, a sweet and delicious dessert that you won’t be able to resist. Seriously, they’re amazing!
If you’re looking for some excitement, you’ll love the annual Bathtub Race. Yes, you read that right – people race bathtubs in the harbour! It’s a wacky and wonderful event that you won’t find anywhere else.
Nanaimo is a city that’s full of life and character. It’s a place where you can enjoy nature, culture, and great food, all in one beautiful location. So what are you waiting for? Come and visit us in Nanaimo!
Nanaimo City Guide: A Brief History Of Nanaimo, BC
Nanaimo has a rich and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. The local First Nations people, the Snuneymuxw, have lived in the area for at least 5,000 years and have a deep connection to the land and water.
In the late 18th century, European explorers began to arrive in the area, and in 1852 the Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post in Nanaimo. The city quickly grew into a hub for coal mining, with the first coal mine opening in 1800s. Coal mining continued to be the dominant industry in Nanaimo for over a century, and the city’s coal was exported all over the world.
During the early 20th century, Nanaimo began to diversify its economy, with the fishing and forestry industries becoming increasingly important. In the 1960s and 1970s, the city experienced a period of rapid growth, with the construction of new residential and commercial areas.
Throughout its history, Nanaimo has faced challenges, including economic downturns. However, the city has always bounced back, and today it is a vibrant and thriving community.
Nanaimo is also known for its role in the development of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The city’s coal was instrumental in powering the steam engines that helped to build the railway, which linked the east and west coasts of Canada and played a vital role in the country’s development.
Today, Nanaimo is a diverse and dynamic city that celebrates its past while looking to the future. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or culture, there’s something for everyone in Nanaimo.
source: The Average Tourist on YouTube
Nanaimo Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in British Columbia
Nanaimo, a charming city located on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, is renowned for its picturesque surroundings, rich history, and cultural attractions. A visit to this stunning city presents you with a myriad of things to see and do, and here are some of the top attractions and best places to visit.
Begin your exploration of Nanaimo with a leisurely stroll along the Nanaimo Harbourfront Walkway. This scenic walkway offers breathtaking views of the Nanaimo Harbour, marinas, and seaplanes taking off and landing. The walkway is also an ideal spot for watching the sunset or simply taking in the beauty of the waterfront.
A short ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo takes you to Newcastle Island, a beautiful marine park that offers hiking trails, beaches, and historical sites. This island is a hidden gem that presents a serene and tranquil environment for visitors to explore.
The Nanaimo Museum is another must-see attraction for history lovers. The museum showcases the rich history and cultural heritage of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island, with exhibits on local industries, First Nations, and early settlers. It is an excellent place to learn about the city’s past and gain insight into the local culture.
The Bastion, a wooden tower built in 1853, is one of the oldest buildings in Nanaimo and a National Historic Site of Canada. Visitors can tour the tower and learn about the city’s history. The tower offers a glimpse into the past, allowing visitors to experience what life was like in the early days of Nanaimo.
Nature lovers will appreciate Neck Point Park, a beautiful park on the east coast of Nanaimo that offers stunning ocean views, walking trails, and a beach. The park is a popular spot for hiking, picnicking, and beachcombing.
The Nanaimo Bar Trail is a self-guided tour of the city’s best cafes and bakeries that serve the famous Nanaimo Bar, a delicious dessert made with chocolate, custard, and coconut. The trail is an excellent way to indulge your sweet tooth while exploring the city’s vibrant culinary scene.
For the adventure seekers, WildPlay Element Parks offers ziplining, obstacle courses, and other adrenaline-pumping activities for all ages. This outdoor adventure park is a great place to challenge yourself and experience the thrill of outdoor adventure.
Take a short ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo to Protection Island, a small island community that offers hiking trails, beaches, and wildlife viewing opportunities. This island is a tranquil oasis that presents visitors with a unique opportunity to connect with nature.
Art lovers will appreciate the Nanaimo Art Gallery, a contemporary art gallery that showcases the works of local and regional artists, with changing exhibits throughout the year. The gallery presents an excellent opportunity to explore the local art scene and gain insight into the cultural fabric of the city.
Finally, the Vancouver Island Military Museum honors the military history of Vancouver Island and showcases artifacts and memorabilia from past conflicts. This museum is an excellent place to learn about Canada’s military history and gain insight into the sacrifices made by those who served.
These are just some of the many top attractions and best places to visit in Nanaimo. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or outdoor activities, Nanaimo has something for everyone. A visit to this charming city will leave you with unforgettable memories of its beauty, culture, and history.
Top 10 Things To Do in Nanaimo, Canada For Visitors
- Explore Nanaimo Harbourfront Walkway: Take a leisurely stroll along this scenic walkway to enjoy breathtaking views of the Nanaimo Harbour, marinas, and seaplanes taking off and landing.
- Visit Newcastle Island: Take a short ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo to Newcastle Island, a beautiful marine park that offers hiking trails, beaches, and historical sites.
- Learn about the city’s history at Nanaimo Museum: This museum showcases the rich history and cultural heritage of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island, with exhibits on local industries, First Nations, and early settlers.
- Tour the Bastion: The Bastion, a wooden tower built in 1853, is one of the oldest buildings in Nanaimo and a National Historic Site of Canada. Visitors can tour the tower and learn about the city’s history.
- Enjoy the outdoors at Neck Point Park: This beautiful park on the east coast of Nanaimo offers stunning ocean views, walking trails, and a beach.
- Follow the Nanaimo Bar Trail: This self-guided tour takes visitors to the best cafes and bakeries in Nanaimo that serve the famous Nanaimo Bar, a delicious dessert made with chocolate, custard, and coconut.
- Experience WildPlay Element Parks: This outdoor adventure park offers ziplining, obstacle courses, and other adrenaline-pumping activities for all ages.
- Visit Protection Island: Take a short ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo to Protection Island, a small island community that offers hiking trails, beaches, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Explore the Nanaimo Art Gallery: This contemporary art gallery showcases the works of local and regional artists, with changing exhibits throughout the year.
- Discover the military history of Vancouver Island at the Vancouver Island Military Museum: This museum honors the military history of Vancouver Island and showcases artifacts and memorabilia from past conflicts.
These top 10 things to do in Nanaimo offer visitors a diverse range of experiences, from history and culture to outdoor adventure and scenic beauty. No matter what your interests are, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city.
What To Eat and Drink at Restaurants in Nanaimo, BC
Here are some of the top restaurants in Nanaimo:
- Asteras Greek Taverna: This family-owned restaurant offers authentic Greek cuisine, including lamb chops, moussaka, and souvlaki.
- The Modern Cafe: The Modern Cafe has been serving up delicious food in Nanaimo for over 20 years. Their menu features fresh, locally sourced ingredients and classic dishes like fish and chips and burgers.
- Mon Petit Choux: This cozy French bakery and cafe serves up delicious pastries, sandwiches, and coffee. Visitors can enjoy a croissant and a latte while sitting in the charming outdoor patio.
- Nori Japanese Restaurant: Nori Japanese Restaurant is known for its delicious sushi and sashimi, as well as its cozy, intimate atmosphere.
- La Stella Trattoria: This Italian restaurant serves up delicious pasta dishes and wood-fired pizzas, made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
- Gabriel’s Gourmet Cafe: Gabriel’s Gourmet Cafe is a popular spot for breakfast and brunch, with a menu that features classic dishes like eggs benedict and waffles.
- Smokin’ George’s BBQ: Smokin’ George’s BBQ is a must-visit for meat lovers, with a menu that features delicious smoked brisket, ribs, and pulled pork.
- The Nest Bistro: The Nest Bistro is a farm-to-table restaurant that serves up delicious, seasonal dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
- Longwood Brew Pub: Longwood Brew Pub is a popular spot for craft beer lovers, with a variety of beers on tap and a menu that features classic pub fare like burgers and fish and chips.
- Bistro Taiyo: This cozy restaurant serves up delicious Japanese dishes like ramen, udon, and bento boxes, as well as sushi and sashimi.
These top restaurants in Nanaimo offer visitors a variety of delicious cuisine, from Greek and Italian to Japanese and barbecue. No matter what your tastes are, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city.
Trying the Nanaimo Bar: A Nanaimo Original
The Nanaimo Bar is a beloved dessert that is synonymous with the city of Nanaimo on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This delicious treat consists of three layers – a chocolate graham cracker crust, a middle layer of custard or vanilla buttercream, and a top layer of chocolate ganache.
The crust is made by combining crushed graham crackers, cocoa powder, coconut, and melted butter, which is then pressed into a baking dish and chilled. The middle layer is typically a mixture of butter, icing sugar, and vanilla extract or custard powder, which is whipped until light and fluffy, and then spread evenly over the chilled crust. The top layer is made by melting chocolate and butter together, which is then poured over the middle layer and allowed to set.
While the classic Nanaimo Bar recipe remains the most popular, there are many variations of this dessert. Some recipes add nuts or coconut to the crust, while others use different flavors for the filling, such as mint or peanut butter.
The Nanaimo Bar is a staple dessert in Nanaimo and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Many cafes and bakeries in Nanaimo and across Canada offer their own take on this classic treat, and it is a popular item at bake sales and potlucks. Some even consider it a Canadian national dessert, along with butter tarts and maple syrup.
Whether you’re a chocolate lover or a dessert connoisseur, the Nanaimo Bar is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. It is a must-try for anyone visiting Nanaimo, and a delicious treat to enjoy any time of the year.
Tours For Visitors To Nanaimo, British Columbia
If you’re visiting Nanaimo, there are several tours that you can take to explore the city and its surroundings. Here are some of the top tours for visitors to Nanaimo:
- Harbour Air Seaplanes: Take a scenic seaplane tour with Harbour Air Seaplanes to see Nanaimo and its surrounding islands from above. You’ll get breathtaking views of the mountains, forests, and coastline, and even have the chance to spot wildlife like whales and eagles.
- Gabriola Island Kayaking Tours: Explore the waters around Gabriola Island on a guided kayaking tour. You’ll paddle past hidden coves, rocky shores, and tranquil bays, and have the chance to see marine wildlife like seals and otters.
- Nanaimo Bar Trail: Discover the history of the famous Nanaimo Bar on the Nanaimo Bar Trail, a self-guided tour of the city’s best cafes and bakeries. You’ll get to sample different variations of this delicious treat and learn about its origins.
- Harbour City Transportation Tours: Join Harbour City Transportation for a guided tour of Nanaimo and its surroundings. You’ll visit popular attractions like the Nanaimo Museum and Newcastle Island, and learn about the city’s rich history and culture.
- West Coast Expeditions: Embark on a multi-day kayaking and camping trip with West Coast Expeditions. You’ll paddle through the rugged beauty of Nuchatlitz Provincial Park and have the chance to see wildlife like whales and bears.
- Vancouver Island Expeditions: Take a guided hiking tour of the West Coast Trail with Vancouver Island Expeditions. You’ll hike through old-growth forests, over rugged terrain, and along stunning coastline, and camp in the wilderness each night.
These tours offer visitors to Nanaimo a chance to experience the city and its surroundings in unique and exciting ways. Whether you prefer kayaking, hiking, or sightseeing, there is a tour for everyone in this beautiful city.
Nanaimo Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
If you’re planning a visit to Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, you’ll need a comfortable place to stay. Fortunately, Nanaimo offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Here’s a guide to some of the best accommodations in Nanaimo:
- Hotels: Nanaimo has several hotels, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury accommodations. Some popular choices include the Coast Bastion Hotel, the Grand Hotel Nanaimo, and the Best Western Dorchester Hotel.
- Bed and Breakfasts: For a more personal touch, consider staying at a bed and breakfast in Nanaimo. Many offer a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, with homemade breakfasts and personalized recommendations for things to see and do. Some popular bed and breakfasts in Nanaimo include the Long Lake Waterfront Bed and Breakfast and the Hammond Bay Oceanside Bed and Breakfast.
- Vacation Rentals: If you’re traveling with a group or looking for more space and privacy, a vacation rental might be the perfect option for you. Nanaimo has many vacation rentals available, including apartments, condos, and houses. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO offer a wide range of options to choose from.
- Campgrounds: If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, consider staying at one of Nanaimo’s campgrounds. Some popular options include Living Forest Oceanside Campground and RV Park and Brannen Lake RV Park and Campsite.
- Hostels: For budget-conscious travelers, hostels are a great option. Nanaimo has a few hostels, including the Painted Turtle Guesthouse and the Island’s Backpackers Inn.
No matter what your preference, Nanaimo offers a wide variety of accommodations to suit your needs. From hotels to bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals to campgrounds, there is something for everyone in this beautiful city.
Day Trips From Nanaimo, Canada
If you’re visiting Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, you’ll find that there are many exciting day trip options to explore the surrounding area. Here are some of the top day trips from Nanaimo:
- Gabriola Island: Take a short ferry ride from Nanaimo to Gabriola Island, a charming and picturesque island known for its artists’ studios and galleries, sandy beaches, and hiking trails.
- Newcastle Island: Just a short boat ride from Nanaimo, Newcastle Island is a beautiful marine park offering hiking trails, beaches, and stunning views of Nanaimo’s harbor.
- Chemainus: Known as the “Little Town That Did,” Chemainus is a quaint town known for its murals and outdoor art installations. It also has a thriving arts community and is home to many galleries and shops.
- Cathedral Grove: Located in MacMillan Provincial Park, Cathedral Grove is a popular destination for nature lovers. It’s home to some of the oldest and tallest trees in Canada, including Douglas fir and western red cedar.
- Tofino and Ucluelet: A bit further from Nanaimo, but still doable as a day trip, Tofino and Ucluelet are two popular coastal towns known for their stunning beaches, surfing, and whale watching.
- Mount Washington: If you’re visiting Nanaimo in the winter months, a day trip to Mount Washington is a must. It’s a popular ski and snowboarding destination, with over 1,700 acres of terrain and an average annual snowfall of 11 meters.
These day trips offer a chance to explore the natural beauty, history, and culture of the Nanaimo area. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, artistic inspiration, or simply a change of scenery, there is something for everyone in this beautiful part of Canada.
Nanaimo Transportation Guide
If you’re planning a trip to Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, you’ll need to know how to get around the city and the surrounding area. Here’s a guide to transportation options in Nanaimo:
- Car rental: If you’re flying into Nanaimo, you can rent a car at the airport from one of the major rental car companies. This is a great option if you want to explore the area at your own pace and have the flexibility to go wherever you want.
- Taxi: There are several taxi companies in Nanaimo that can take you anywhere you need to go. Taxis are convenient if you don’t have a car or don’t want to drive, and they can also provide transportation to and from the airport.
- Public transit: Nanaimo has a public transit system called the Nanaimo Regional Transit System, which offers bus service throughout the city and to some surrounding areas. You can purchase a day pass or a monthly pass, and the buses run regularly throughout the day.
- Ferry: If you want to explore other parts of Vancouver Island, you can take a ferry from Nanaimo to destinations such as Gabriola Island, Newcastle Island, and Vancouver. BC Ferries is the major ferry operator in the area.
- Bike rental: If you enjoy cycling, you can rent a bike from one of the local bike shops in Nanaimo. This is a great way to explore the city and the surrounding area at a leisurely pace.
- Walking: Nanaimo is a pedestrian-friendly city, with many sidewalks and walking paths throughout the downtown area. Walking is a great way to explore the city and get some exercise at the same time.
No matter how you choose to get around, there are plenty of transportation options available in Nanaimo to help you get where you need to go.
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Nanaimo?
If you’ve just finished your trip to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, there are many other destinations on the island that you might want to explore next. Here are some ideas for where to go after your visit to Nanaimo:
- Victoria: Located just south of Nanaimo, Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia and a popular tourist destination. It’s known for its beautiful gardens, historic buildings, and world-class museums.
- Tofino and Ucluelet: If you enjoyed Nanaimo’s coastal scenery, head to Tofino and Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island. These small towns are known for their beautiful beaches, surfing, and whale watching.
- Comox Valley: Located to the north of Nanaimo, the Comox Valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty with stunning mountain vistas, pristine lakes, and picturesque towns.
- Cowichan Valley: Just to the south of Nanaimo, the Cowichan Valley is a region of rolling hills, lush forests, and pristine lakes. It’s known for its wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, and artisanal food producers.
- Gulf Islands: A short ferry ride from Nanaimo, the Gulf Islands are a collection of small islands known for their natural beauty, charming towns, and laid-back atmosphere.
- Port Alberni: Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Port Alberni is a small city known for its stunning natural scenery, including the Alberni Inlet and the nearby mountains.
- Gold River: Located to the west of Nanaimo, Gold River is a small town surrounded by mountains and forests. It’s known for its fishing, hiking, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
- Campbell River: Located to the north of Nanaimo, Campbell River is a small city known for its salmon fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities.
- Port Alice: Located on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, Port Alice is a small town known for its beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities, including fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
- Port Hardy: Located on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, Port Hardy is a small town known for its rugged coastal scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Port McNeill: Located on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, Port McNeill is a small town known for its fishing, outdoor recreation opportunities, and as a gateway to the Broughton Archipelago.
- Alert Bay: Located on Cormorant Island in the northern part of the Strait of Georgia, Alert Bay is a small village known for its First Nations culture and traditions.
- Sointula: Located on Malcolm Island in the Queen Charlotte Strait, Sointula is a small community founded by Finnish settlers and known for its history, culture, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
- Telegraph Cove: Located on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, Telegraph Cove is a small village known for its picturesque scenery, whale watching tours, and historic buildings.
These are just a few of the many destinations you can visit after your trip to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, or relaxation, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful part of Canada.
Nanaimo Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Nanaimo, a picturesque city on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, is a destination that exudes charm and beauty. Its captivating coastal scenery, cultural richness, and vibrant community make it an unmissable location for travelers seeking an experience that is both memorable and gratifying.
Delve into the culinary scene and savor the legendary Nanaimo bar, indulge in locally crafted beers, and relish in farm-to-table restaurants, all while being surrounded by breathtaking views. With an abundance of accommodation options, from luxurious hotels to cozy B&Bs and vacation rentals, you can find the perfect abode for your stay.
A visit to Nanaimo promises to be a transformative experience, as you immerse yourself in the city’s rich history, natural splendor, and friendly locals. Whether you are seeking adventure in the great outdoors, cultural enrichment, or relaxation, Nanaimo has something for everyone.
For those traveling to Vancouver Island, a visit to Nanaimo should undoubtedly be at the top of your itinerary. This captivating destination will leave you with memories that are sure to last a lifetime.
Nestled on the coast of the island of Vancouver, A place of wonder, beauty, and grandeur, Is a city that’s sure to capture your heart, A destination that’s perfect from the very start.
Nanaimo, oh Nanaimo, with your stunning views, And a vibrant culture that’s sure to amuse, From your quaint downtown to your bustling harbor, Every corner is a sight that’s worth a gander.
Take a stroll along your seaside walkway, Or hike to the top of Mount Benson for a scenic display, Explore the city’s history and delve into its past, And savor the taste of the famous Nanaimo bar that lasts.
From its lively culinary scene to its local craft beer, Nanaimo has everything for those who hold dear, An experience that’s both gratifying and unforgettable, A destination that’s sure to make your soul able.
So pack your bags, grab your loved ones and come along, To Nanaimo, where your heart will sing a new song, For this charming city on the coast of Vancouver Island, Is a destination that’s worth the journey, a journey that’s never bland.