A city brimming with lush forests, beautiful beaches, scenic coastal landscapes, Nanaimo has it all! The beauty around us is best enjoyed by soaking in the views up close, so park the car and walk the (often) short distance required to really connect to the natural beauty in front of you!

Near The Water

The location of our harbour city provides an incredible array of beaches, from long stretching shorelines to quiet enclosed seaside coves – we have it all! 

Neck Point Park Neck Point Park is recognized as an environmentally sensitive area and is known for its scenic and natural features. From rugged rock cliffs, with pebble bays, and winding trails through Garry Oak groves; visitors have 36-acres of nature to explore. 

Pipers Lagoon Park One of Nanaimo’s famous waterfront parks, Piper’s Lagoon is the perfect place for walking the trails, beachcombing, and wildlife viewing. 

Departure Bay Beach One of Nanaimo’s longer-stretched bays; this is a great place to walk at low tide, go for a swim in the roped-off area and stroll along the paved walkway. It’s also a fantastic launch site for kayakers looking to explore the coastline. We recommend checking out Drip cafe while you’re in the area for a locally roasted coffee, beer, or gelato while enjoying the view. 

Jack Point Park Jack Point is named after Jack Doholt (1819-1905), who was a resident on the point for 40-years (he supplied Nanaimo with milk and hay). Jack Point used to be an island at high tide but is now connected to Duke Point and Biggs Park. This 32-acre park is popular for its incredible wildlife viewing and excellent waterfront views. 

Malaspina Galleries Stand where the land meets the sea and find yourself in surrounded by natural beauty. Start your trip by catching a short 20-minute ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo to Gabriola Island, or kayak over. It’s a 1- km easy walk to reach the Malaspina Galleries from where you park on the road. The formations were created from hundreds of years of waves and winds forming the spectacular sandstone sculpture. 

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park “A Gem in the Harbour,” Saysutshun (New Castle Island), is a protected marine park with more than 22- km of maintained trails that are perfect for running, biking or going for a gentle stroll through nature. If you don’t have your own watercraft, then accessing Newcastle Island by ferry is a convenient and affordable alternative. The Saysutshun Ferry runs from Maffeo Sutton Park to the island dock.

Mountain Vistas & Forest Landscapes

Nanaimo is home to the region’s best hiking, and with over 200 parks and trails, it can be tough to narrow down where to adventure. Many of our hiking trails are relatively easy, with some more strenuous ones for those looking for a good workout. 

Sugarloaf Mountain Park A quick and easy hike up a trail and some stairs take you to an incredible viewpoint on the bluff. Enjoy views of Departure Bay down below, and out to Georgia Strait. It’s also a beautiful spot to watch the sunrise! 

 

Mount Benson Regional Park The safest time to hike Mount Benson is during spring, summer or fall. After trekking up the hillside, you are rewarded with stunning views of Nanaimo, the Salish Sea, and the coastal mountain range. 

Don’t be intimidated by the weather—rain, snow, or fog, all you need is the proper gear and to plan accordingly. 

Remember to respect the terrain, environment, and other users while you are enjoying the trails. Follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials. Familiarize yourself with Leave No Trace principles and read BC Adventure Smart’s tips to help get you out into nature safely.

Visit our website for more Outdoor Adventures.