Visit Saysutshun for a Day

Saysutshun | Tourism Nanaimo

Getting There

Catch a morning harbour ferry from downtown’s Maffeo-Sutton Park to Saysutshun Marine Provincial Park (Newcastle Island), the traditional Indigenous territory of the Snuneymuxw Peoples. There are no roads or cars on this island in the Nanaimo Harbour, but you can easily explore the nature, history and Coast Salish culture by foot or bike in a day or half day.

Note: The passenger ferry runs from late spring to early fall, however, the island is accessible year-round via boat, canoe or kayak.

Take a walk

Start your day’s adventure by hiking or biking the forested coastal trail (8km) that winds around the perimeter of the island. Be sure to stop at scenic lookouts with views of the Salish Sea and Coastal mountains, sandy beaches and interpretive signs.

On your journey, keep a watch out for blonde raccoons. Saysutshun is home to rare blonde raccoons whose light colouring is due to a recessive gene. They can occasionally be seen digging for clams on the island’s many beaches.

Alternatively, rent a kayak or canoe and explore the island’s shoreline from the water.


After your walk, treat yourself to lunch at the concession housed in the island’s restored 1930s dance pavilion. Take the opportunity to try the traditional Snuneymuxw fry bread.

Explore Saysutshun History

Start the afternoon by investigating the island’s historic sites from several eras.
There are Snuneymuxw village sites and totems, sandstone quarries, a herring saltery and coal mine sites to explore and learn about. The island is also a source of traditional natural medicines and has long been associated with physical and spiritual healing. Learn more on a cultural walking tour during which you can hear stories directly from a Snuneymuxw knowledge keeper.

Relax on the beach

Next, head back to the pavilion for an ice cream and take it with you to one of the island’s sandy beaches. Swim in protected, shallow waters or explore tide pools, overturning rocks to see flowery anemones and scurrying crabs.

Stay a little longer

Not ready to leave this beautiful island? Book one of the 18 forested campsites just a five-minute walk from the docks and you can wake up to the sunrise over the ocean. Flush toilets and hot showers are included. Reservations are highly recommended.


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