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Nanaimo Travel Guide, British Columbia

Located on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is the second-largest city and it is not only known for its size but for its beauty. The city is an excellent destination for a weekend outing and those who have not seen the city for a long time may be surprised by the changes they can see and they are only for the better.

The most pleasant part of the city is its waterfront that makes for an excellent getaway for the locals. Tourists are also attracted by the beauty of it. The banks of flowers, walkways, marina boardwalks scenic surroundings, and floating restaurants lure people every year. What could be more relaxing after a day’s work than sitting on a bench in a sunny day and watch the activity on the waterfront? The place gets really busy especially on Fridays when the local farmers come to sell their products.

The place is easy to find if you look for the white fortified tower called “The Bastion” as it is the central point of the area being a historic landmark dating 1850 as well as an informative centre as at present it hosts the summer tourist information center. But anyway the waterfront is just steps away form downtown which is just as charming.

While you are at the waterfront of course you’ll visit the city’s busy port that has ships coming in and out and linking Nanaimo to the other destinations like: Gabriola Island, Newcastle Island, Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay. It has beautiful and long walkways that will lead you to it from the heart of the city. This is Harbourside Walkways stretching for 4km.

If you feel like stretching your feet and just relax on a bench, there is a car-free provincial park just for the purpose. Continue your walk to the Old City Quarter going along the Bastion Street which is beautifully lined with shops and other amenities.

Of course these are the places mostly visited and the quieter parts of it, the rest of the city being a bit hectic.

And as another proof as to how loved this part of the city is there’s a special event in Nanaimo held on the waterfront that attracts lots of tourists in summer: the July's Marine Festival. It is best to visit the city in this period even if it is more crowded because it lights up with life. There are a great number of evens taking place in this period including a street fair and parade, but the one that attracts the most people is The World Championship Bathtub Race.

If you don’t happen to visit the city in this period there’re always other possibilities to fill up your time after you have visited the city. The two close islands of Gabriola and Newcastle make for a perfect outing.

You can get to Gabriola Island from the harbor by taking a short ferry ride. It is a small island and it takes only half an hour to drive from one end to the other, but you definitely won’t regret being here as you’ll experience a breathtaking beauty comprising petroglyph rock carvings, tide pools, sandy beaches, an excellent gallery of local arts and crafts and more. Some of the nicest parts of the island are Sandwell Provincial Park, Drumbeg Provincial Park and Silva Bay.

Newcastle Island is an ideal destination for outdoor sports lovers and campers. With 18 campsites with all the necessary amenities, it is worth spending more than one day here. Swimming and hiking are great.

Whether you want to stick to visiting the city or decide for a longer stay and visit the nearby islands, a trip to Nanaimo is definitely worth making.

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