Boaters flock to Nanaimo's scenic waters every year and use the many moorage facilities available, including Newcastle Island and the Nanaimo Port Authority's Visiting Vessel Pier. Locals stroll the downtown docks to marvel at the sheer size and luxury of the visiting yachts and sailboats that sometimes arrive with their own crews, an on-board helicopter pad, or an incognito celebrity or two. And, when one of the visiting cruise ships makes a scheduled stop in Nanaimo the city rolls out the welcome mat with entertainers and music at Pioneer Plaza in the harbour.
Within walking distance of Nanaimo Harbour, there are three distinct shopping districts: The Arts District, the Old City Quarter and the Waterfront, each offering one-of-a-kind shops and services. First Nations and West Coast art, marine souvenirs and supplies, specialty book stores and colourful home and garden stores populate the Waterfront and Arts District. You can even visit a Farmers market on Fridays (May to October) at Pioneer Plaza on the harbourfront.
Nanaimo's culinary scene offers everything from home-style pub fare to four-course meals on the waterfront to a diverse mix of international flavours from Middle Eastern to Coast Salish. There is something for every taste on your own wine and dine tour of Nanaimo.
Ocean parks such as Swy-A-Lana, Piper's Lagoon, Departure Bay, and Neck Point offer beaches for swimming, windsurfing and snorkeling. At Swy-A-Lana, the passenger ferry departs for Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park where more than 15 kilometres of trails wind through forests, historic sites and an inland lake.
It's for good reason that the famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau called the coastal waters of BC, Vancouver Island and Nanaimo, "the best temperate water diving in the world and second only to the Red Sea." World famous artificial reefs can be found in Nanaimo's harbour - three sunken vessels, which provide endless exploration for experienced and novice divers alike.
For more information on marine and outdoor activities in Nanaimo, including fresh water lakes and rivers, go to TOURISM NANAIMO