Nanaimo’s stunning coastline, river canyon, and forested mountain offer countless opportunities for epic outdoor adventures. Visit Nanaimo and get ready for more jaw-dropping, heart-pulsing moments than you ever imagined.
Go whale watching
Wonder what it’s like to see whales in the wild? It’s absolutely magical. From Nanaimo, head out with Vancouver Island Whale Watch in an open-air Zodiac inflatable or a covered boat from April through early October to see orcas, humpback whales, sea otters and more.
Hit the beach
Nanaimo’s long oceanfront makes this an ideal place for swimming and snorkeling. Head to ocean parks including Pipers Lagoon, Departure Bay, Neck Point, and Swy-A-Lana Lagoon. Freshwater swimming spots with sandy beaches include Westwood Lake and Long Lake.
Explore tiny islands by kayak
Paddle the shoreline of several small islands in the Nanaimo harbour to explore sea caves and see harbour seals or stir up bioluminescence after dark. Along Saysutshun Marine Provincial Park you’ll also see Indigenous totems and unique sandstone formations.
Zipline or bungee jump the canyon
Fly over the gorgeous Nanaimo River canyon on a zipline at WildPlay Element Park. The treetops adventure course, canyon swing and bungee jump over the river offer a fresh perspective of the area’s natural wonders.
Catch a salmon or Dungeness crab
Alongside the locals, sink a Dungeness crab trap at Maffeo Sutton Park’s fishing pier. On salmon fishing charters hear the zing! of your line and reel in a 30-pounder. For freshwater fishing, try the Nanaimo River and trout-stocked lakes.
Ride the biking trails
Mountain bikers love the abundance of biking trails in Nanaimo. For big-air jumps and drops, ride the Doumont downhill and cross-country trails. The Westwood Lake Trails are a bit tamer with a 5.5-km loop around the lake that connects with the challenging Mt. Benson foothills network. For easy cruising ride the 20-km paved Parkway Trail.
Dive the shipwrecks
Charter companies take divers just outside the harbour to the site of two sunken retired Navy vessels, artificial reefs now covered in colourful marine life. At other local dive sites you’ll see wolf eels, octopus and more.