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Things to do in
Nanaimo

Our most recommended things to do in Nanaimo

Vancouver: City Highlights Bus Tour

1. Vancouver: City Highlights Bus Tour

Explore the beauty of Vancouver on a bus tour to many of its iconic locations. Hop on your bus and head to Queen Elizabeth Park, sitting at 125 meters above sea level, it is the highest point in Vancouver. This makes the park perfect for taking pictures. Continue your tour to see Granville Island. Once there, the biggest attraction on Granville Island is its Public Market. Housed indoors, there are endless rows of stalls that feature fresh produce, gourmet foods, baked goods, and seafood. For the food-focused, a walking tour of the market can be a great way to get an insider’s insight. Then, walk through Vancouver’s Chinatown, a place of culture that is known for its authentic food scene. Millennium Gate is the landmark most visitors look for upon entering the Chinatown. It is also one of the largest historic Chinatown in all of North America. Carry on to Gastown to see its most famous landmark: the steam-powered clock that was built in 1977 and was Vancouver's first downtown core. This Gastown will make you will feel like you are in the 19th century while passing through the red brick and cobbled streets. Get back in your bus and make your way to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The bridge is 140 meters long and 70 meters above the river. It was originally built in 1889 and completely rebuilt in 1956. While you walk along the bridge, feel the weightless suspension as you walk high up over the valley and marvel at the breathtaking nature. Head over to Canada Place as your next stop. This building is located on the Burrard Inlet waterfront of Vancouver. It is the home of the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver's World Trade Centre, and the virtual flight ride FlyOver Canada. Finally, get close with nature at Stanley Park, your final stop. It is North America’s third largest park and a perfect place to explore nature. Approximately eight million people visit Stanley Park each and every year. Make your way back to your starting point at the end of your tour.

From Vancouver: Full-Day Victoria Tour with Ferry Ticket

2. From Vancouver: Full-Day Victoria Tour with Ferry Ticket

Explore the highlights of Victoria, the capital city of the Canadian province of British Columbia, on a full-day tour from Vancouver. Benefit from included roundtrip tickets on the BC ferry and entry to the Butchart Gardens. After meeting your driver-guide at one of the meeting points in Vancouver, board your transportation for the day and head toward the ferry dock to take the ferry to Victoria. During the ferry ride to Victoria, which is located on Vancouver Island's southern tip off Canada's Pacific coast, take in views of the surrounding island and look out for dolphins, seagulls, and more. Upon arrival, prepare to tour the large number of historic buildings and famous landmarks, such as the Parliament Buildings, in this old city. Enjoy a 1-hour visit to the Butchart Gardens to admire the stunning floral displays. Next, pass by Victoria's Chinatown on the way to Victoria Inner Harbour. See the Parliament Buildings and stop to take photos at the Victoria Mile Zero Monument. Afterward, take the return ferry to Vancouver and get dropped off at your starting point.

Nanaimo: Whale Watching Open Boat Tour

3. Nanaimo: Whale Watching Open Boat Tour

Your day begins by checking in at our office 45 minutes before your departure time and then you'll head down to the boat as a group. You'll then be introduced to the Salish Sea ecosystem and wildlife as you cruise through the Gulf Islands archipelago in search of whales and other marine life. You'll learn about the different types of whales that use the Salish Sea, including their natural history, and their roles in the marine food web. Throughout your adventure, your captain will be in touch with other whale-watching companies over VHF radio and will plan your route to maximize the area covered between vessels. You'll spend an hour viewing whales, and your marine naturalist will provide real-time insights into their behaviours. Onboard catalogues are used to identify individual whales, and this data will be collected throughout the season and sent to the Centre for Whale Research, Keta Coastal Conservation, and the BC Cetacean Sightings Network. Your tour will wrap up with an educational talk on marine conservation focusing on threats to BC orca, and conservation initiatives will be discussed.

Nanaimo: Vancouver Island Waterfalls, Vistas, Hikes & Caves

4. Nanaimo: Vancouver Island Waterfalls, Vistas, Hikes & Caves

Join us for a morning hike to one of Vancouver Island's favourite Waterfalls. Afterwards, we will be visiting Top Bridge Park for our interpretive nature walk through the old growth forest by the stunning Englishman River. Moving on we will be stopping for a complimentary lunch and coffee at a local coffee roastery. Before our last stop you wouldn't want to miss the Island's most popular sight, Cathedral Grove. An audio tour will guide you through the park so bring some headphones. Finish off the day with an amazing and fun underground 1h30 caving tour at Horne Lake Caves.

Victoria or Nanaimo; West Coast Big Tree Coastal Adventure

5. Victoria or Nanaimo; West Coast Big Tree Coastal Adventure

If you’re looking to explore Vancouver Island’s wild west coast without the hustle and bustle of Tofino, consider visiting Port Renfrew. Once we pick you up, we’ll take a scenic drive along the Pacific Marine Road. We will stop to marvel at the stunning views of Harris Creek and pay a visit to the 500-year-old Harris Creek Spruce, which spans an impressive 4 meters wide. Then, it’s off to Port Renfrew for some invigorating hikes and tide pool exploration at Botanical Beach. We’ll also make a stop at the awe-inspiring Avatar Grove. There, you can witness 1000-year-old Western Red Cedars, including the famous “Gnarliest Tree in Canada.” Before returning to the east coast, we’ll take a 20-minute detour to see one of the Island’s most photographed sites: Sombrio Falls. The falls are tucked away in a short slot canyon on the beach.

Nanaimo: Whale Watching Semi-Covered Boat Tour

6. Nanaimo: Whale Watching Semi-Covered Boat Tour

Your day begins by checking in at our office 45 minutes before your departure time and then you'll head down to the boat as a group. You'll then be introduced to the Salish Sea ecosystem and wildlife as you cruise through the Gulf Islands archipelago in search of whales and other marine life. You'll learn about the different types of whales that use the Salish Sea, including their natural history, and their roles in the marine food web. Throughout your adventure, your captain will be in touch with other whale-watching companies over VHF radio and will plan your route to maximize the area covered between vessels. You'll spend an hour viewing whales, and your marine naturalist will provide real-time insights into their behaviours. Onboard catalogues are used to identify individual whales, and this data will be collected throughout the season and sent to the Centre for Whale Research, Keta Coastal Conservation, and the BC Cetacean Sightings Network. Your tour will wrap up with an educational talk on marine conservation focusing on threats to BC orca, and conservation initiatives will be discussed.

Nanaimo: Scavenger Hunt Adventure Self-Guided City Game

7. Nanaimo: Scavenger Hunt Adventure Self-Guided City Game

Looking for a family friendly activity? We can help you explore the city with our fun photo scavenger hunt. Using your smartphone, you'll be given a scavenger hunt list of items to find in the form of riddles and challenges to complete on our scavenger hunt app. You'll go look for the item described in the riddle, complete the accompanied challenge, and send in a photo to get points. Your points will show up on the app's leaderboard so you can see how you're doing compared to teams all across the country! Operation City Quest can be played in any city, no matter how big or small! Don't worry, you won't be alone. You'll have a remote host that will be communicating with you during your game via a chat feature on the app if you need help or have a question. They can also give you hints and additional *mystery* challenges! The goal of this interactive scavenger hunt is to find all the items, earn your way to the top of the leaderboard, and more importantly, to have fun with family and friends! Our games usually take about 2 hours and most teams walk around 2 miles during their scavenger hunt.

Bamfield: Inlet Boat Ride to West Coast Wilderness Overnight

8. Bamfield: Inlet Boat Ride to West Coast Wilderness Overnight

After your guide picks you up to bring you to Port Alberni, you will embark on a memorable trip down the Alberni inlet to Bamfield. The MV Frances Barley is a beautiful 65-year-old heritage ship, that will cruise you down the inlet. Never heard of Bamfield? Just across from Ucluelet, Bamfield is a wilderness haven, featuring some of the most beautiful beaches on Vancouver Island. Once you arrive in Bamfield, your guide will meet you to take you to camp where everything will be ready for you to enjoy the evening. But before, you will catch the water taxi across to the peninsula where you will be guided on a short hike to Brady's Beach. This one features amazing sea stacks, sea stars, white sands, rock hounding and beautiful crystal-clear water. Another chance to see whales pass by in the distance in the right season. Afterwards, tent is set up, fire blazing, smore's grilling and the diner will be going. You will be camping on the beach at Pacheena Bay, a beautiful expansive white sand beach where it is possible to go swim in the cold water of the Pacific Ocean and sometimes see whales in the distance. The next morning, you will visit the (very small) town of Bamfield and it's beautiful historic boardwalks. If you catch the right day, you will be able to attend a hike to the last standing First Nation village on the west coast, Kiix̣in. After the day your guide will drive you back to wherever you need to be on the Island, stopping by Vancouver Island's must-see, old growth trees at Cathedral Grove.

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What people are saying about Nanaimo

Overall rating

5.0
(5 reviews)

The highlight of my time on the Island, Noemie was the best guide anyone could ask for! So knowledgeable, passionate, and just an all around amazing person that made it feel like I was traveling with a good friend! The activities themselves were also each so breathtaking and, in the case of the cave exploration, challenging in the best ways possible! It gave me an opportunity to face a fear and overcome it and I never could have done that on my own! 10/10 would recommend to anyone and everyone!

Noemie is an exceptional guide - so knowledgeable and absolutely great fun to be around. I would recommend Noemie to introduce you to a new area, particularly if there is a lot of lichen in the area!

Super organized, very interesting and varied! It's a very special day! Highly recommended!