Fun on the island

My family enjoys Vancouver Island a lot, here are some of the locations we wish to share with you. The focus is on the area around Nanaimo, since that’s where we live.

All of the things below, we have done ourselves, and have enjoyed enormously!

What to do in Nanaimo?

  • Stroll around Maffeo Sutton park and have your picture taken by the big frame
  • Dive into the lake at Westwood or Colliery Dam Park
  • Follow the stream through Bowen Park
  • Swim in the Nanaimo River
  • Drink a coffee while browsing the fantastic selection of second hand books at Waddington Coffeehouse
  • Fill up on chips at the Pirate’s (or deep fry a snack of your choice) or get fish with the chips at Troller’s by the harbour
  • Watch the ferries take off to Vancouver at Departure Bay Beach
  • Kayak around Newcastle and Protection Islands, and take a dive on Newcastle’s exposed side.
  • Return at night to Protection Island by ferry to enjoy a drink at the Dinghy Dock Pub while watching the city lights of Nanaimo
  • Hike through the Morrell Sanctuary or through Witchcraft lake to the top of Mnt Wakeshiah (aka Mount Benson)
  • Return to the slopes of Wakeshiah the next day, for a hike to the Ammonite Falls. If the water’s low, go as far downstream as you can.
  • See the salmon swim up the Chase River Estuary
  • Cross Piper’s Lagoon at low tide and see the old fishermen houses. When the water’s higher, take a swim on the other side of the peninsula.  Then head to Neck Point for a nice evening stroll.
  • Hike to Jack’s Point and see the ferries head off to Tsawassen, while the sea lions pass by
  • Take a dive around Snake Island and swim with the seals
  • Get lost on the trails around Lost Lake and Cottle Lake in the Linley Valley. You’d never guess Hammond Bay had so much nature.

What to do around Nanaimo?

  • Walk ten minutes into the sea at Rathrevor Beach in Parksville, and notice that it’s still only coming to your ankles
  • Cross the Kinsol Trestle near Shawnigan Lake
  • Bike around Gabriola Island
  • Check out the British Old Timers once a year at Transfer Beach in Ladysmith
  • Check out the goats on a roof and many other tourist traps (for once it’s nice being trapped as a tourist here) at Coombs
  • Press on the highway and pass by the Cathedral Grove on your way to the west coast.  See the giants!

Further away?

  • Try to make it to Sandy Island by low tide from Denman Island. The next day, get up to Helliwell Park on Hornby Island and see the eagles.
  • Hop on to Salt Spring Island, buy some organic seeds, eat in a tree house and hike up the mountain.
  • Hike and camp in Strathcona, but don’t forget it stays snowy up there.
  • Surf the waves on Long Beach, or fly a kite on Florencia Bay
  • Then get some green goodness at the Tofino Botanical Gardens
  • See Nanoose Bay from the nice Notch Hill summit
  • Spend as long as you can at Cape Scott and discover the covert beaches, harvest shellfish and hike through the mud to some nicely deserted beaches. Don’t let the bears, wolves and cougars scare you!
  • Hike around the lighthouse in Ucluelet
  • Smell the roses at the Butchart’s Gardens near Victoria
  • Watch Victoria from Mount Tolmie or Mount Douglas, then head off for the Parliament Building, stroll by the harbour and enjoy shopping for specialties in Chinatown


In the future, I hope to add links to these recommendations. For now, dear reader, I call upon you to do the Googling.


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