Dreaming of a spring getaway? Escape with a two-day excursion to Nanaimo, where you can kayak the historic harbour, zipline through Douglas fir forest, sample award-winning brews and soak in the gorgeous views. All within a fun, yet relaxing, two days.
Whether travelling by ferry from Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay, or flying in by Helijet, harbour-to-harbour float plane or through the Nanaimo Airport, enjoy your picturesque journey to the heart of Vancouver Island and begin your adventure!
9 a.m. – Start your day with coffee and breakfast at Gabriel’s Gourmet Café, open daily at 39 Commercial St. (250-714-0271). Serving “farm-to-fork fare,” this is one of Lonely Planet’s top picks for Nanaimo for good reason! Other accolades have come for their breakfasts and their vegetarian fare.
10 a.m. – Depart for WildPlay Element Parks, 35 Nanaimo River Rd. (250-716-7874 or 1-855-595-2251). This seven-hectare park, set within beautiful Douglas fir forest by the Nanaimo River, offers four outdoor adventures: Bungy Jump, Primal Swing, a tree-to-tree aerial adventure course and the Canyon Zip. Check in for your Classic Adventure Course.
12:30 p.m. – After some monkeying around at WildPlay, enjoy a well-deserved lunch at Gina’s Mexican Café, a favourite destination for locals, tourists and boating adventurers. Located at 47 Skinner St. (250-753-5411), Gina’s has served authentic Mexican cuisine for more than 25 years.
2 p.m. – Free time to explore the harbour or do a little shopping.
3 p.m. – Check in to the pet-friendly Coast Bastion Hotel, 11 Bastion St. (250-753-6601 or 1-800-716-6199). Located in the heart of downtown Nanaimo, near the ferry terminal and within walking distance to the seawall walkway, restaurants, bars and boutiques of all kinds, the Coast Bastion invites you to relax in your bright, modern guest room. The on-site Minnoz Restaurant and Lounge features the freshest local seafood, gourmet breakfast, tapas and more.
4 p.m. – Stop by Longwood Brewery for a flight. Located just off the Nanaimo Parkway at 101A-2046 Boxwood Rd. (250-591-2739), Longwood’s knowledgeable staff will help you find your perfect pour.
* If you indulge and don’t have a designated driver, you can arrange for a ride with AC Taxi, 250-753-1231, or Get a Go Go: 250-244-3456.
Dinner – Visit the inviting Longwood Brew Pub, 5775 Turner Rd. (250-729-8225) for a delicious dinner, complete with stunning mountain views and spectacular sunsets. One of Nanaimo’s favourite gathering places, Longwood is known for its brewing and culinary excellence using the freshest ingredients.
Evening – After dinner, drop off your vehicle at the hotel and continue your tasting tour at White Sails Brewing, a craft brewery with a fab taproom at 125 Comox Rd. (250-754-2337), across the street from beautiful Maffeo Sutton Park. Next, stroll to The Nanaimo Bar for a Nanaimo Bar Martini and live music; 2-75 Front St., Nanaimo (250-714-0466).
8:30 a.m. – Start your day in the heart of downtown with a delicious breakfast at the Modern Café, at 221 Commercial St. (250-754-5022).
10 a.m. – Dip your paddles and head to the historic 336ha Saysutshun Island, traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, and take a cultural walking tour with a Snuneymuxw First Nation guide. Back on the water, follow the coast north to discover beautiful homes perched above small parks and lagoons and tiny islets with mysterious sandstone formations. To the south, through the old Nanaimo harbour, the Dodds Narrows tidal rapids are a gatekeeper to the Gulf Islands, stretching the length of southern Vancouver Island.
Lunch – Paddle to the Dinghy Dock Pub for lunch on Protection Island in Nanaimo Harbour (250-753-2373). Open daily, the Dinghy Dock is Canada’s only registered floating pub – a unique venue for viewing wildlife and enjoying good food, a kids’ fishing hole and one of the most amazing views around!
3 p.m. – Relax with a coffee and Nanaimo bar at the Vault Café, 499 Wallace St. (778-441-2950).
4 p.m. – Enjoy a tasting at Millstone Estate Winery, a small, family-run vineyard nestled in the Millstone River valley producing handcrafted wines, focusing on Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Ortega and Gwertz. 2300 East Wellington Rd. (250-716-3549).
After a full – and fulfilling! – two days, enjoy your trip home, planning your return visit with a whole new itinerary!
Learn more and book your perfect weekend getaway at tourismnanaimo.com.