Welcome to Nanaimo

Vancouver Island's 'second metropolis,' Nanaimo will never have the allure of tourist-magnet Victoria, but the Harbour City has undergone some quiet upgrades since the 1990s. It's seen the emergence, especially on Commercial St, of some good shops and eateries, plus a good museum. With dedicated ferry services from the mainland, the city is also a handy hub for exploring the rest of the island

Top experiences in Nanaimo

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Nanaimo activities

$212.73 Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

Snorkeling with Seals in Nanaimo from Vancouver

Head to Vancouver Harbour for a short, scenic flight to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Once you land, hop on a boat for a 15-minute ride to Snake Island, where you'll get to snorkel with seals. Get outfitted with a wetsuit, mask, gloves, boots, fins and a snorkel, and then dive in. Who knows, your wetsuit attire might even make the seals think you’re one of them. Dive underwater and get a sense of what the seals are up to when they’re below the surface. Wave a hand (or a flipper) at your newfound blubbery buddies. If they aren’t up for swimming, wander over to the shore, where you’ll likely find them sunbathing. You can expect to see more than just these fin-footed giants during your visit; look up for Canadian geese and majestic bald eagles, or dip your mask in the water to spot various fish darting around.After about 2 hours of swimming and snorkeling with the seals and other sea creatures, climb aboard the boat and make the journey back to Nanaimo for your return flight by seaplane to Vancouver Harbour.

$106.22 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Local Food, Craft Beverage and Estate Winery Tour of Cowichan Valley

A visit to the Cowichan Valley isn’t complete without going on a food and wine tour that will excite your senses and leave you longing to return! Only 45 minutes from the bustle of Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley truly is a little piece of the beautiful Island countryside. Your 8-hour tour includes tastings at five different venues, plus lunch and tasty snacks along the way. Start the day with a wine tasting to get your tastebuds ready for the day. Afterwards, nourish yourself with a locally sourced lunch in the countryside at an amazing local restaurant. After lunch, you'll continue tasting the afternoon away throughout the valley's numerous vineyards and learn firsthand why Cowichan's burgeoning wine industry has earned a well-deserved reputation for award-winning wines. From land to hand, find out how your favorite wines are made and why specific grapes thrive on Vancouver Island.

$97.87 Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

The Strait of Georgia Seaplane Tour from Nanaimo

Travel like a true west coast British Columbia local on this daily scheduled flight. Fly from Nanaimo, crossing the Strait of Georgia and taking in the spectacular scenery during your 20 minutes seaplane flight. Discover the many tiny islands dotting across the sea and spot the cute villages on them. You'll have 1 to 4 hours in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast before returning via seaplane to the Harbour City, Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Experience two exhilarating take offs and landings on this unique tour, different everyday! Total flight time equals 40 minutes. Tour may vary depending on the day. Already in Sechelt? Fly this tour in reverse!

$97.87 Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

Strait of Georgia Seaplane Tour from Sechelt

Your aerial adventure starts at the seaplane terminal in Sechelt, where you'll board your fixed-wing aircraft for the scenic flight across the Strait of Georgia. During the 20-minute ride, look down on the many tiny islands and villages that dot the waterway. Land in Nanaimo on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, where you have one to four hours of free time before returning via seaplane to Sechelt. Total flight time is 40 minutes; tour may vary depending on the day. If you're already in Nanaimo, you can fly this tour in reverse.

$97.12 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Vancouver Island Whale and Wildlife Tour

Start the day in the historic seaside village of Cowichan Bay, 45 minutes north of Victoria and 45 minutes south of Nanaimo. Your passionate guides love sharing Vancouver Island’s marine ecosystem and all that inhabits it. This marine tours provide you with everything you’ll need. After arriving at the office you will be fitted for a warm flotation suit and given gloves, a hat, goggles, and sunglasses. It is recommended to wear a warm sweater or jacket and comfortable pants. Also worth bringing: sunscreen and a camera.You'll experience rich and abundant marine wildlife found along the shores of southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Orca Whales, Humpback Whales, Grey Whales, Minke Whales, Harbour and Dalls Porpoises, Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, and a variety of bird species make this unique region their home. The dramatic landscape of southern Vancouver Island is world-renown, and the rock bluffs, tidal pools, sandy beaches, and exhilarating ocean breeze are sure to provide you with an exciting and memorable west coast experience.

$264.79 Multi-day & Extended Tours

2-Day Tofino Tour from Vancouver

Highlights on this tour include: the ferry to Nanaimo, Coombs market (where the goats live on the roof!), Englishman River Falls, Cathedral Grove with the ancient giant cedar trees, the Wild Pacific trail, Long Beach, the town of Tofino, and the countless hiking trails. This tour also gives you the chance to go on a whale watching tour, learn to surf, go kayaking, or do other amazing activities!ITINERARY Day 1:Arrive at Canada Place at 7am and depart Vancouver 7:15am sharp. Please note that due to ferry times, the bus will not wait for latecomers. Enjoy a ferry ride through the Strait of Georgia to Nanaimo. Explore Englishman River Falls, where impressive waterfalls cascade and plummet down a rocky gorge in a beautiful forest setting. Then visit Coombs - your camera is a must-have item this trip. On a good day, you might get a picture of the goats on the roof! After Coombs, stop at Cathedral Grove and gaze upon the ancient giant cedar trees. Drive through Pacific Rim National Park and then check into your hotel and enjoy free time to spend as you like. Dinner (not included) will be followed by a campfire on the beach with roasted marshmallows and s'mores for dessert (weather and fire restrictions permitting). Day 2:Visit Long Beach, a surfer's paradise. Explore the fishing village town of Tofino and participate in an activity for which Tofino is famous - such as surfing, whale watching, bear watching or kayaking. You'll depart Tofino in the afternoon for Vancouver and arrive in Vancouver at approximately 10pm.