Served by BC Ferries from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver), a distance of 50 km ( 31 mi) by sea, with a crossing time of 1 hour and 35 minutes.
Nanaimo is located 26 km (16 mi) north of Ladysmith, on Hwy 1. 110 km (68 mi) north of Victoria. Vancouver Island's second largest city is situated beside the only natural harbour on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island with the mildest, sunniest climate in Canada. Nanaimo is the third oldest city in BC. This city offers great outdoor activities: - diving, kayaking, salt and fresh water fishing, swimming, picnicking, canoeing, camping, cycling, golfing, tennis, soccer, hockey, enjoy curling, bowling and wild life watching... just to mention a few. Take the family to Bowen Park and enjoy the hiking trails, nature centre, petting zoo, swimming and wading pools. Stroll the Harbourside Walkway (4 km - 2.5 mi) and enjoy the wonderful views of the harbour and Newcastle, Protection, and Gabriola Islands. Also the Bastion and the Nanaimo District Museum are situated along this walkway. During the summer visit the Bastion, built in 1853, is the oldest structure of its kind in North America. Board the paddlewheel ferry at Maffeo-Sutton Park for Newcastle Island Provincial Marine Park and enjoy exploring the area. Stroll through this historic city and enjoy well-preserved 19th century buildings. The city offers moorage for more than 500 boats in its harbour, which makes it an ideal base for boaters wishing to explore its surroundings. Nanaimo is also an ideal destination for conventions, business meetings and sporting events.
Nestled in Nanaimo's Old city Quarters, Pioneer Plaza and Commercial Street, all located in the heart of downtown, are dozens of locally owned stores and galleries. The city is also home to major department stores located in several malls and shopping centres, such as Harbour Park Mall, Rutherford Mall and Woodgrove Centre, being the last one the largest shopping and entertainment centre on Vancouver Island. Nanaimo also offers great and affordable accommodations, from numerous campgrounds, cozy bed and breakfast inns, comfy hotel and motel rooms to luxury ocean front suites.