Westwood Lake Campground Resort

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Nanaimo's Visitor Guide

Nanaimo, a charming coastal city in Central Vancouver Island, offers both natural beauty and urban attractions. Walk the downtown harbourfront, connected to a range of local stores, eateries and the popular Maffeo Sutton Park, or explore nearby islands known for their trails and beaches. Urban enthusiasts can explore downtown Nanaimo which boasts a diverse mix of local shops, eateries, and museums while nature enthusiasts can explore a variety of trails and Farmers Markets to purchase local produce and artisan goods. Nanaimo also provides great opportunities for water activities including whale watching, fishing charters, and coastal walks that offer serene views of the Straight of Georgia and distant mountain range. 


Nanaimo’s harbourfront hosts a variety of small stores and eateries, seamlessly connecting to Maffeo Sutton Park for a scenic stroll along the water’s edge. Take a short foot-passenger ferry ride to Newcastle Island, a charming Marine Provincial Park featuring diverse trails and stunning water views. For a unique pub experience, don’t miss the Dinghy Dock Pub on nearby Protection Island, accessible only by boat or its dedicated ferry.

Waterfront and Islands

Discover the charm of Nanaimo’s downtown, a delightful center filled with local boutiques, shops, cafes, restaurants, and museums. Make sure to experience the weekly Thursday night market, running only in the summer, where Commercial Street is closed off, providing a gathering of vendors and food trucks.

Downtown Nanaimo

For nature enthusiasts, Nanaimo boasts a diverse array of trails ideal for hiking, bird watching, wildlife photography, and biking. Discover well-loved trails around Mount Benson, Morrel Nature Sanctuary, Extension Ridge, Buttertubs Marsh, Westwood Lake Park, and more. Vancouver Island is home to a unique and thriving ecosystem, teeming with all kinds of wildlife. To deepen your understanding and witness these creatures up close, consider visiting the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington.

Shop local with seasonal and year-round Farmers Markets, showcasing the region’s produce and artisanal goods. For wine and beer connoisseurs, explore the local breweries and wineries, including the popular “wine trail” weaving through Duncan and the Cowichan Valley area.

Nature and Wildlife

Nanaimo provides a variety of water activities, ranging from boating, canoeing, and kayaking to fishing excursions with available charters for rent. Coastal walks along trails, such as Neck Point Park and Pipers Lagoon, showcase the rugged beauty of the local coastline.

Aquatic Activites

Situated in Central Vancouver Island, Nanaimo acts as a convenient gateway for exploring both the northern and southern regions of the island, as well as the Gulf Islands off the coast. Its strategic location makes it an ideal hub to explore nearby areas like Parksville, Qualicum Beach, and Ladysmith, each offering its own distinct attractions. Explore the Gulf Islands by ferry, including popular destinations like Salt Spring Island, Denman Island, and Hornby Island. Near two popular Vancouver ferry routes, Nanaimo stands as a starting point for journeys to other well-known destinations on Vancouver Island, including Tofino, Victoria, Duncan, Port Hardy, Courtney-Comox, and Strathcona Provincial Park.

A Gateway to Vancouver Island

Visit Nanaimo’s Tourism website for more guides and information or Vancouver Island’s Travel Guide