As part of our guestagrammer series, Instagram photographer Tiffany Szigety shared a few of her favourite spots in Nanaimo.

Maffeo Sutton Park

5 years ago we first visited Nanaimo. We stayed downtown for a few days to explore the city. I have such distinct memories of walking through Maffeo Sutton Park and along the waterfront with my husband and pregnant with our first child. Little did I know then that we would move here 2 years later. This park holds such a special place in my heart. We walked the waterfront admiring all the boat and seaplane activity. The crabbers on the dock pulling up crab traps. The little shops and places to eat, and the sounds of live music and children playing at the beach. Even though it was lively, there was still that “Island feeling” everyone always talks about. The state of mind really, where you feel calmer and more connected to nature and to each other just being there.

Fishing & Boating

We spend a lot of time out on the water fishing and boating, year round, often extending our day-trips to weekend adventures so we can enjoy as much as we can. The fishing is incredible, there’s nothing quite like catching your own fresh Salmon and crab and having a true west coast feast after a day on the water. We often see whales and porpoises while we’re out and about too! It’s something we can all enjoy together as a family.

Bowen Park

We first discovered Bowen park in the late spring and how lucky we were! The Rhododendron gardens were in full bloom! Walking through the gardens is a magical and breathtaking experience, something my parents sadly missed the first time they came as they didn’t plan to stay long enough. As you continue through the park there is a peaceful duck pond and trails that lead to a rushing waterfall, something you wouldn’t expect to see right in town. There are also beautiful totem poles that as they aged, have been laid down to make their return to the earth.

The Vault Cafe

The vault is my favourite Cafe in town. The ambience is what drew me in and the coffee and food keep me coming back. It’s nice to cozy up by a large gorgeous window and sip coffee, but it’s also nice to grab it to go and stroll all the unique boutique stores and places to stay in the area. I also hear they have open mic nights, maybe one of these days I’ll get up the courage to sing!

Neck Point

Neck point is one of our most beloved places to spend time. There’s a stunning beach area just off the parking lot which makes it perfect for quick and easy access. There’s also numerous paths that lead you along the beautiful ocean and through the forest. Some trails are easy, others are more challenging. Im still discovering new places! A nature craftsman has also made the most magical “fairy doors” on some of the trees. My boys love to follow the glitter “fairy dust” that has been left along the path leading up to the fairy doors. We’ll often pack a picnic lunch or supper and spend time at sunset beach. It is always so peaceful there, perfect for a swim in the golden evening light.

Long Lake

No matter what the weather’s doing, my boys and I love spending time at long lake. I’ll pack a chair, some hot coffee and some beach toys, and the kids are content to play for hours. We watch canoers, kayakers and paddle boarders out on the water all day, but it’s particularly peaceful to watch in the early morning or evening. Picnic dinners and evening swims are pretty special there too.

All images by Tiffany Szigety