There are many great ways to spend your day in Nanaimo; from scuba diving in a sunken navy ship, testing yourself at an indoor rock climbing wall, challenging yourself on the golf course, to watching a performance of the Vancouver Island Symphony at the Port Theatre. Whatever you do for fun, you’ll find attractions in Nanaimo that satisfy your needs, along with many activities you might not have tried before.
Nanaimo’s island coastal setting makes it a great place to spend the day outdoors. Here you can hike a rainforest mountain, take panoramic pictures of Georgia Strait, and cool off in a river canyon all in the same day. There are also several great ocean swimming and snorkeling spots along the city’s waterfront, including Departure Bay, Neck Point, Jack Point, and Snake Island. For the more adventurous types, there are activities such as bungy jumping, zip-lining, and ATVing.
For deep water enthusiasts, the ocean floor just outside Nanaimo Harbour has a number of popular scuba diving spots. The area is home to three artificial diving reefs made from sunken ships, including the Canadian Supply Ship HMCS Cape Breton, the largest upright man-made diving reef in the world.
Day trips all over Vancouver Island are also possible from Nanaimo, thanks to the city’s convenient central location. Pacific Rim National Park on the island’s west coast is a three hour drive from downtown, while the Comox Valley and Mount Washington can be reached in just over an hour. Cowichan Valley to the south, and the Oceanside region of Parksville and Qualicum to the North, can also be fun day trips from Nanaimo.
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For more ideas on how to spend your day in Nanaimo, just head downtown. The area features wonderful tourist-friendly attractions such as the Nanaimo Museum, the charming Old City Quarter shopping district, the historic Bastion, and much more! The City Centre also offers a colourful array of art galleries, historic sites, generous green spaces to relax and play in, and an abundance of shopping opportunities along the waterfront.
Tourists and residents alike also enjoy spending time indoors, indulging in some retail therapy. Dedicated shoppers can enjoy endless hours in their favourite retail destinations throughout Nanaimo, including Woodgrove Centre, the largest shopping centre on Vancouver Island, in the city’s north end.