Visiting Nanaimo on beautiful Vancouver Island

Nanaimo – the Harbour City of Vancouver Island

Nanaimo, situated on the east coast of Vancouver Island, its population is around 85,000 and seems to be growing all the time.  We moved away from here about 4 years ago and have only visited about once a year since then.  That is about to change!

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Moving back to the island?  Yes, and I am happy.  Spending time with grandchildren is going to be a huge priority, trying to make up for lost time.  But that’s not all – there are so many things to do here that I don’t think I would be able to experience them all in my lifetime.

How to get here:

By ferry from either Horseshoe Bay or Tsawwassen.  You can take a direct ferry from either of these locations on British Columbia’s mainland and either arrive in Nanaimo from Horseshoe Bay or south of town if arriving from Tsawwassen.  Either is acceptable.  For more information on the ferry service visit BC Ferries for up to date schedules and fares.  Nanaimo is approximately 1 1/2 hours by car from Victoria, on the very southern tip of the island.

Suggested Tour by car or RV:

From the mainland cross to Vancouver Island from Horseshoe Bay and arrive in Nanaimo.  From Nanaimo travel south to Ladysmith an instant town of the past, Duncan, the heart of the Cowichan, Chemainus with its famous murals, and then to British Columbia’s capital,Victoria.  Spend time in each location and plan for at least three days to cover it all, but preferably a week.  Return to the mainland from Sydney and dock in Tsawwassen.

If you have more time there are other islands you should visit and they include Gabriola, Thetis, Galiano, and Saltspring.


There is something for every budget whether it is hotels, motels, B & B’s, RV Resorts or rough camping.  There is lots to choose from and one source for availability is Hello BC or to get a really good rate on hotels do like we do and use Hotwire 4-star hotels. 2-star prices. Save up to 50% with low Hotwire Hot-Rates!


Most definitely where to find good food in Nanaimo is a high priority to most people including myself. Most popular is the Sea Food because Nanaimo is situated on the water but there are so many specialty restaurants to choose from, choosing will be difficult.  Sushi Bars, Greek, Italian, and Indian cuisine are all available as well as my favourite Mexican restaurant ~ Gina’s. Most of the chain restaurants are represented so it’s easy to get a Big Mac and a good cup of coffee at one of the coffee bars.  Pubs are situated in most areas of the city and offer a really good selection of pub food.

Things to do

Nanaimo and Vancouver Island are a recreational paradise with so many things to do whether its kayaking, world famous diving, unlimited hiking, deep sea fishing, fabulous skiing, almost year round golfing, or river rafting.  You can even go bungy jumping!
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It’s not very far to go whale watching, wild life viewing or even see some of the historic and cultural sites in the area.  Tourism BC is a great resource for information on all of British Columbia.

The above is just the beginning of what I plan on writing about to cover Vancouver Island, specifically Nanaimo as a terrific place to visit.

Happy travels,

Carol Ann Quibell

PS: Want more info on British Columbia? Click here.


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About Carol Ann 114 Articles
Writer, traveler, RVer sharing her travel logs and information.