Aaramë from the Nanaimo Art Gallery

Photo by Curtis Havekotte

What is there to do on a rainy day in Nanaimo?

Brave the rain and explore nature

I’ve lived on the BC coast my whole life, so I’m not afraid of the rain. If it’s a big winter storm, it’s fun to go up to Bowen Park and see how high the river has come up or to go for a walk around Westwood Lake or Morell Nature Sanctuary. I love to bring my camera as there is always something interesting growing in the forest. The trees also usually provide a bit of shelter from the rain.

Head downtown

I live and work in downtown Nanaimo, so on a rainy day, I also love to go out for coffee and lunch at The Vault, to check out the current exhibition at the Nanaimo Art Gallery, and to browse the shops on Commercial Street or in the Old City Quarter. Funk Your Fashion is one of my favourite shops as I’m always looking for unique and one-of-a-kind clothing and they are a treasure trove.

Where is the best place to pick up a Nanaimo souvenir?

The best place to pick up a Nanaimo souvenir is The Gallery Store, truly! We have a great selection of postcards, one-of-a-kind items by local artists, and a great selection of unique books about Nanaimo and its history. The Nanaimo Museum also has a great selection of Nanaimo souvenirs in their gift shop too.

Milo the Brew Dog – Longwood Brewery


Photo by Curtis Havekotte

Where are the best places in Nanaimo to roam free? Best places for a doggy paddle in the water?

The Interview

Last week, we met up with Milo from Longwood Brewery and his caretaker and doggy translator, Tracy McLean. We asked, “where are your favourite places in Nanaimo to roam free? And where is the best place for a doggy paddle in the water?”

He tilted his head as doggies do, contemplating his answer. He scratched his ears, licked his nose, and then let out a woof! Tracy, his owner, translated for us.

“Colliery Dam,” said Tracy. “That’s your favourite spot, right boy?”

Milo wagged his tail in agreement.

About Colliery Dam

Located only a short 8-minute drive from downtown Nanaimo, Colliery Dam is an excellent spot to take your pup on an off-leash adventure. There are a number of trails to choose from; the upper loop is the designated leash-free area. And if you’re doggo’s feeling frisky, feel free to toss a ball or stick into the little lake – if it’s a hot one, they’ll thank you dearly ?

Robin Dutton from Coal City Cycles


Photo by Curtis Havekotte


What are the best options for trails (Hiking, Mountain-Biking, Cycling)?


The best option for hiking in the Nanaimo area is Mt. Benson, which offers amazing views with some challenging grades. Hiking to the top makes for a rewarding experience.

I also recommend Ammonite Falls and the Benson Creek Park for the beautiful scenery, without the elevation gain of climbing Mt. Benson.


Some of the best mountain biking on Vancouver Island can be found in Nanaimo on the authorized trails in the Doumont area. This trail network has a tremendous amount of variety for all skill levels and is managed and maintained by the Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club. More gravity oriented trails can be found in the South Benson area of Nanaimo. Exceptional views with tough, technical descents are what can be found on the menu here.


If paved surfaces are more your speed, the Nanaimo Parkway Trail offers an 18km rolling paved trail that follows the Nanaimo Parkway, while occasionally deviating through some of Nanaimo most scenic city parks.

Where are are some good places for west coast seafood & craft beer?

Seafood & Brews

The Dinghy Dock Pub is always a fun place to go for Seafood in Nanaimo. With a short ferry ride over to Protection Island, Nanaimo’s only floating pub offers good food with spectacular views of the Nanaimo Harbour and Mt. Benson. It’s a great, relaxing environment after a solid day of hiking or biking.

Craft Brews

Nanaimo has lots to offer in the craft beer department. Just steps away from the Dinghy Dock Pub ferry is White Sails Brewing, where you can relax by their fire and order in food from many of the nearby restaurants. Wolf Brewing and Longwood Brewery also have quaint little tasting rooms and a wide variety of beverages to choose from.

— Written by Curtis Havekotte