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Top Ten Things to Do in Nanaimo

Check out our recommendations for an awesome experience here in Nanaimo. From family-friendly adventures to wine and craft beverage tours, there’s something for everyone here. Don’t forget about the downtown core, with quaint shops, heritage buildings, the historic Old City Quarter and the Diana Krall Plaza! For more information on these top ten things to do, head to Tourism Nanaimo.

Nanaimo Bar Trail: If you have yet to try a Nanaimo Bar, you simply must follow your taste buds on this self-guided adventure through the streets to find some delicious takes on the traditional sweet treat at local coffee houses and cafés.

Snorkel with Harbour Seals: Vancouver Island is rated as one the best cold-water destinations in the world, and a hot spot for dive enthusiasts. Take the plunge (in a wet or dry suit) and catch playful Harbour Seal pups in action with one of several local dive companies.

Take a Catamaran Cruise: Don’t want to get wet? Enjoy Nanaimo’s natural beauty and amazing sea life on a relaxing Catamaran, or shake it up and head out onto the open water on a hovercraft!

Craft Beverages and Culinary Tour: Unleash the culinary magic of this region with a four-hour Taste of Nanaimo tour by Vancouver Island Expeditions. Sip and nibble favourites from some of the area’s best family-owned vineyards, breweries, distillers and local food producers located throughout the city.

Witness the Historic Cannon Firing: Go back in time at the Nanaimo Museum and the Bastion’s daily cannon firing located beside the Bastion on the Pioneer Waterfront Plaza. The cannon fires everyday at noon sharp from mid-May to Labour Day in early September.

Island Hop: Newcastle Island, Protection Island and Gabriola Island are all just a quick ferry ride away from Nanaimo, with ferry terminals located within easy walking distance from the BEST WESTERN Dorchester Hotel.

Artisan Trail: Find a one-of-a-kind creation and meet some great artisans on the Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Trail loop. Take your car and visit local farms, fields and artisans plying their craft in the Nanaimo area.

Go Catch a Fish: Snag the catch of the day and have some fun with local fishing guides Invictus Charters, a Coast Guard-approved, Transport Canada-certified member of the West Coast Fishing Association.

Paddle Up: Book a tour or rent a canoe/kayak/paddle board for an exhilarating self-guided experience on the big blue ocean. Ask us about local rental shops and tour companies to try out.

Nanaimo’s Natural Wonders: Get outside and enjoy what Mother Nature created; Check out the tidal lagoon at Pipers Park, Ammonite Falls, sandstone rock formations at Malaspina Galleries, the Abyss Fault Line, and more!

Nanaimo Attractions

There is still more to see and do here in Nanaimo! Check out these great attractions in and around Nanaimo to complete your Vancouver Island experience!

Horne Lake Caves and Outdoor Centre

About an hour north of Nanaimo lies an incredible adventure where you have a unique opportunity to unleash your inner spelunker! With daily cave tours, safe for rookie spelunkers, this is a must-see on Vancouver Island.

Nanaimo Museum

The Nanaimo Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into what life was like for early West Coast settlers, and is the guardian of the Bastion, a former Hudson’s Bay Company outpost built in 1853 that is the last remaining original wooden bastion left in North America.

Protection Island

Home to Dinghy Dock Pub, Canada’s only registered floating pub, this island boasts gorgeous views, amazing wild life and beautiful walking trails for everyone to enjoy. You will find the ferry to Protection Island just a short walking distance from our hotel.

Banquet & Meeting Rooms

Our flexible meeting and event spaces are perfect for your next business or social function, large or small. Perfect for corporate getaways, banquets, wedding venues, family gatherings, networking events, and more, our hotel offers comprehensive event planning services as well as catering options.