When you live on Vancouver Island, you learn to fully embrace the rain and when you visit Vancouver Island, you end up with an appreciation for the relaxing reflection that comes with of a good west coast rain!

1. Hit The Trails: Mountain Bike or Hike

Don’t let a little rain get you down, embrace it! With good wet-weather gear, getting outside can offer a whole new perspective on an activity you.Even on the coldest days, there is always a warm place to welcome you inside when you’re done. Nanaimo is ripe with opportunities to hit the trails, our mountain biking guide can help you plan your next adventure.

Trails around Westwood Lake are a great refuge for getting outside without getting too wet. The dense forest canopy holds back most the rain, and the well-maintained trails are great at keeping the puddles to a minimum. A rainy day can be an especially opportune time for waterfall viewing! Check out our ultimate guide to hiking in Nanaimo and the list of nearby waterfalls for more details of where to find these scenic gems.

2. Go Fishing

Slip-on the gumboots, grab the tackle box, and head to the lake for some shoreline fishing. Westwood Lake and Colliery Dam Park are both stocked with trout and offer a few great spots to drop a line for an afternoon. There’s even a wheelchair-accessible fishing platform along the northern edge of the lake, just a few minutes to the right along the trail from the main parking lot. But before you go, be sure to pick up a freshwater fishing licence from Cabelas.

3. Go Climbing Or Bouncing

Visit The Romper Room and the Airhouse in north Nanaimo for an all-ages, action-packed afternoon. No climbing experience? No problem! The Romper Room has a few self-belay devices that everyone, even kids, can use (after a quick tutorial). Meanwhile, at the Airhouse, everyone ages 5 and up can drop-in and take advantage of their high-end training facility which includes trampolines, parkour walls, gymnastic mats, and more.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Hamilton from Airhouse

4. Hop On A Tasting Tour

Nanaimo is home to four local breweries, each with their own distinct flavours and selection: Wolf Brewing, White Sails, Cliffside Brewing, and the Longwood Brew Pub. Select a designated driver, then work your way from south to north (or vice-versa) visiting each stop along the way.

Nanaimo is also home to a sweeter, more signature experience. The Nanaimo Bar Trail features over a dozen unique takes on this iconic treat, along with other edible and non-edible versions including martinis, pedicures, soaps, and more.

Find out more about food and drink tours in Nanaimo.

5. Visit Art Galleries & Museums

Rainy days are a perfect excuse to get lost in one of Nanaimo’s many art galleries. Commercial Street alone is home to the Nanaimo Art Gallery, Gallery Merrick, Blue Poppy, and Artzi Stuff.

One block over, on Bastion Street, you can peruse the Artisans’ Studio and Hill’s Native Art. The Artisans’ Studio is self-defined as “A local artist co-operative with a global reach”.

Explore the Nanaimo Museum and immerse yourself in Nanaimo’s unique history. From Indigenous culture, with items donated and curated by members of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, one of the largest Nations in British Columbia, to Coal Miners and the role of Chinese immigrants in the formation of Nanaimo, there is a lot to discover about Nanaimo’s rich, and sometimes sordid history. The Mystery of Brother XII is still alive to this day! The Nanaimo Museum has dynamic permanent exhibits, and often play host to popular travelling exhibits. 

6. Try Your Hand At Axe Throwing

Axe throwing has surged in popularity recently, and Nanaimo has recently gotten a place of its own! They’ll set you up with everything you need and give you a quick lesson on proper throwing technique. Challenge your friends or partner to see who can leave with the higher score.

7. Test Your Wits In An Escape Room

Nanaimo has three great escape room companies, each with its own unique collection of themes and puzzles. Rooms can accommodate small t0 medium-size groups, from 2 – 6 people. A lot can happen in an hour, will you break out in time? For more information, visit Breakout Nanaimo, Escapism, or EXIT Nanaimo.

8. Cozy Up With A Good Book at a Local Cafe

What better way to seek shelter from the rain than to cozy up in a warm, inviting café – soothing music, people watching, catching up with a friend or leafing through a magazine? Nanaimo offers plenty of unique and interesting cafés. Perkins, Mon Petit Choux, Serious Coffee, and The Vault are all within walking distance of the downtown core, while other great cafes like The Buzz and Drip Coffee offer plenty of space and scenic locations.

9. Lace Up Your Skates Or Dive Into a Pool

Nanaimo has two indoor swimming pools and two ice rinks which offer lots of fun for the entire family. Make sure to check out one of the largest wave pools in Western Canada located at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.  Keep an eye out for some of their special events, such as glow in the dark skating, free skates, and themed kids pool events.

10. Visit A Virtual Reality Arcade

Arcades have come a long way in recent years thanks to great advancements in the field of virtual reality! The VRKade along Bowen Rd. has dozens of games to choose from for all ages and preferences of gameplay.