posted by: Best Western Dorchester Hotel on: August 03, 2021

Image via Ron Manke


Nanaimo is located in central Vancouver Island, which makes it an excellent jumping off point to explore nearby regions. From winery hopping in Cowichan Bay to hitting the beach in Parksville, check out the top 3 summer day trips from Nanaimo, BC. 

Cowichan Bay

Less than an hour south of Nanaimo lies beautiful Cowichan Bay. This seaside town is bursting with charm and also happens to be filled with fun activities. Whale watching is a popular activity between April and October, where visitors can expect to see everything from humpback whales and Minke whales to sea lions and bald eagles. Cowichan Valley is also home to several of the top wineries in BC, including Cherry Point Estate Wines, Rocky Creek Winery, and Blue Grouse Estate Winery. Explore the 11 wineries and one cidery on your own or book a guided tour. 

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park

One hour north of Nanaimo (just past Qualicum Beach - more on that below) lies Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park. As the name suggests, this provincial park is home to caves and other incredible natural sights. Strap on your helmet and get exploring. Here, you’ll find crystal formations, waterfalls, and ancient fossils. Tours are recommended, especially if you plan to rappel down into the caves themselves.  

Qualicum Beach & Parksville

Finally, no trip to Nanaimo is complete without a day spent in Qualicum Beach & Parksville. Just north of Nanaimo, these relaxing oceanside towns offer beautiful scenery, as well as an opportunity for shopping and dining. Stroll along pebbly Qualicum Beach looking for all kinds of treasure, before heading to Parksville for more beach time (this time on sandy beaches). Be sure to stop by Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park when in Parksville. Though it can get crowded in the summer, you should still have plenty of privacy owing to the sheer size of the park.


If you’re visiting Nanaimo this summer, then be sure to explore the surrounding areas. And if you need a place to stay while in town, we’d love to host you at the Best Western Dorchester Hotel in Nanaimo.

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