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Attractions and Sightseeing | Car Rental | Boat Rentals and Tours | Diving | Entertainment | Fishing | General Information | Golf | Lodging | Restaurants | RVs | Transportation | Weather and Conditions | Whale Watching


Attractions & Sightseeing:
our favourite daytrips

nanaimo's waterfront walkway shows off it's amazing vancouver island waterfront location Nanaimo Harbourfront Walkway - It's hard to imagine a more beautiful place to stroll- parks, shops, floating cafe´s, yachts, beaches and a crab pier.  Watch our photo tour or view our Nanaimo Waterfront Walkway YouTube video nanaimo vancouver island's incredible waterfront walkway and seawall.  8 minute drive from the Living Forest next to downtown Nanaimo.  Google Maps driving directions to park at Maffeo-Sutton Park at the walkway entrance.


Newcastle Island Newcastle Island Provincial Marine Park  - is the jewel of Nanaimo Harbour and only a five minute foot passenger ferry ride from Maffeo-Sutton Park on the Nanaimo Harbour Ferry's 'pickle boats' (schedule and pricing).  Great beaches, a lake, trails for hiking and biking, an historic pavilion with cafe' and just a great place to spend the day. Take our Newcastle Island photo tour  or view our Newcastle Island YouTube video Google Maps driving directions to park at Maffeo-Sutton Park by the Nanaimo Harbour Ferry dock.


Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Park - stroll along easy shady trails among 800 year old growth giant fir trees!  Scenic 60 minute drive.  Take the photo tour or watch the Cathedral Grove YouTube video cathedral grove youtube video Google Maps driving directions to Cathedral Grove from the Living Forest.


Great Summer Swimming Little Qualicum Falls - You can never see too many waterfalls!  Just a few minutes before Cathedral Grove is Little Qualicum, about a 50 minute drive.  Moderately strenuous 30 minute loop trail across two bridges let's you see these amazing waterfalls and canyons- enjoy the picnic shelter above the falls.  Take our photo tour or watch the Little Qualicum Falls YouTube video little qualicum falls spectacular rapids and waterfalls Google Maps driving directions to Little Qualicum Falls from the Living Forest.


Englishman River Falls -
Another amazing waterfall park, Englishman River's main falls drop nearly 100 feet beneath the bridge over the canyon.  A moderately strenuous 30 minute walk through tall trees will let you see a series of falls and pools that are truly breathtaking.  Take our photo tour or watch the Englishman River Falls YouTube video englishman river falls more amazing vancouver island waterfalls  50 minute drive.  Google Maps driving directions to Englishman River Falls from the Living Forest.


Pipers
Neck Point -
Offering a great view of the Winchelsea Islands, Georgia Strait, and the mainland mountain range, Neck Point is one of Nanaimo's best oceanside parks. Beachcombers will be right at home here, with several gravel and rock beaches to explore and plenty to see. The many bays make this a favourite with scuba divers and snorkelers, which Nanaimo is world famous for. In 2002, a rare 'superpod' of over 200 Orcas (killer whales) paraded past the Neck Point's viewing platform, thrilling the lucky park users there that day. Park map.  Extensive trails, benches, picnic tables and those oh-so-important port-a-potties and doggie bags.  Watch our Neck Point photo tour.  Google Maps driving directions to Neck Point from the Living Forest.  24 minute drive.

Linley Valley Linley Valley-
Linley Valley is true gem within the city, though less than half of the 400 acres has park status, at present. Miles of trails crisscross the moss covered rocky knolls with oceanviews and deep forest valleys, and anyone looking for relaxing or challenging bike rides or hikes through the forest and hilltops would do well to check it out. Lost Lake and Cottle Lake are also within the valley, as well as several creeks.  You won't believe you're still in the city!    Google Maps driving directions to Linley Valley from the Living Forest
20 minute drive.


Colliery Dam Colliery Dam-
This nearby  park, as it has numerous entrances and many separate forested trails. They all revolve around the small lake, its dam and various bridges over the chutes of water.  Stocked with trout it's a great place to fish from shore (freshwater fishing license required).  Park map.  8 minute drive from Living Forest.  Google Maps driving directions to Colliery Dam from the Living Forest.

 Departure Bay Beach -
Experience the incredible Snuneymuxw First Nation welcoming totem.  The Departure Bay beach and seawall is a popular place to visit for saltwater swimming, beachcombing, strolling, kayaking -- or maybe just grab a meal or a coffee across the street and enjoy a beautiful sunset- even from your car or RV.  The beach is the finish line for the world famous Bathtub Race in July and in December, the annual Polar Bear Swim.  Google Maps driving directions to Departure Bay Beach from the Living Forest a 16 minute drive.


Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival Nanaimo DragonBoat Festival
This incredible festival runs annually at Maffeo Sutton Park on Nanaimo's beautiful harbour.  Teams from all over North America compete in a charitable event to raise funds to beat cancer.  Three days of family events on the water!  Google Maps driving directions to Maffeo-Sutton Park from the Living Forest.  8 minute drive.


Bathtub Races Nanaimo
Marine Festival and Bathtub Races- Home of the world famous Bathtub Race, the finale of the Nanaimo Marine Festival, a three day celebration of events and entertainment on Nanaimo's waterfront. Full list of events and activities at www.bathtubbing.com Google Maps driving directions to Maffeo-Sutton Park from the Living Forest 8 minute drive (this will show you where it is- parking that day will be hard to find- check the above website for parking and shuttle info).


Lost lake Lost Lake Park -This serene and forested 15 minute loop trail circles north Nanaimo's water reservoir, Lost Lake. Hard packed gravel trail, located on the north edge of Linley Valley. Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  22 minute drive


Bungy Zone Wild Play Elements Park - Tree Go aerial adventure park and Bungy jumping, rapid rappelling, zip lines, and more.  Learn the ropes and skills of climbing and then go bungy jumping from their bridge over the Nanaimo River canyon-- it's the ultimate adrenalin rush.  Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  7 minute drive


Nanaimo Aquatic Centre Nanaimo Aquatic Centre - If the weather's bad or you just crave the pool, this is one fabulous facility!  Wave pool, water park, indoor water slides, sauna, hot tub, steam room, fitness machines, childminding, cafeteria, diving, and oh yeah, a competition/lengths pool- all only a few minutes away. Check out this amazing virtual tour, and get all the schedules and pricing at the Parks and Rec info page for this facility, as well as the other indoor pool and outdoor pool in Nanaimo.  Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  10 minute drive


Hemer Park -has a great network of smooth, gentle trails through tall conifers, without a lot of change of elevation. The 45 minute loop is sandwiched between two quiet lakes, one of which is a bird wetland and features a sunny bird viewing platform.  Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest. 13 minute drive



Piper's Lagoon - Situated just south of Neck Point, Piper's Lagoon is a long spit and rocky outcropping that encloses a sandy lagoon. At low tide, the lagoon drains and sandpipers and other seabirds roam the flats looking for a meal. This beautiful city park is popular with good reason- sand beach, rock bluffs and Garry Oaks. Park map Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  22 minute drive


Nanaimo Museum Nanaimo District Museum - Partake in Nanaimo's rich cultural history in the heart of downtown on the bottom floor of the Port of Nanaimo Centre. Visitors can explore the nearby Bastion, a 150 year old Hudson's Bay Fort on the waterfront, stroll the re-created streets of both early Nanaimo and Chinatown, and much more.  A rich history with a new museum!  Google Maps driving directions from Living Forest.  6 minute drive


Butterfly World
Butterfly World - Butterfly World is a large garden/greenhouse that is home to hundreds of beautiful butterflies and birds.  Just outside of Coombs.  Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  43 minute drive


Horn Lake Horne Lake Caves - The Horne Lake Caves is Vancouver Island's most popular spelunking destination, with several cave networks to explore for both beginners and veteran cavers. Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  77 minute drive (mostly freeway, but last 15 minutes is good quality gravel road)


Romper Room Indoor Rock Climbing - The Romper Room is an indoor rock climbing gym with over 7000 sq.ft. of climbing wall and a great staff.

 MV Francis BarkleyMV Francis Barkley a day trip by boat to the West Coast - Why drive to the west coast when you can relax and take this amazing round trip day cruise and go sightseeing thru the Alberni Inlet past the Broken Islands to the towns of Bamfield or Ucluelet for lunch.  Leaves early each morning from Port Alberni and returns around dinner time.  Really see the west coast!  Google Maps driving time to the Lady Rose from the Living Forest.  90 minutes driving time.

Mcleans Mill Steam Train Port Alberni's steam train and steam sawmill - Information about the Alberni Valley Museum, the Alberni Pacific Railway, the McLean Mill National Historic Site, and the Maritime Discovery Centre. Learn about Vancouver Island's past in a fun and entertaining way.  Take the steam train from downtown Port Alberni out to a fully functional steam sawmill- McLean Mill.  You can even stop for a wine tour on the train ride back.  Google Maps driving directions to the Alberni Train station from the Living Forest.  90 minute drive.

BC Forest Discovery Center - A wonderful tribute to old fashioned logging from 1919, a visit to the BC Forest Discovery Center is a great way to spend an afternoon in Duncan.

Mt. Washington Alpine Resort - Located near Courtenay, 1.5 hours north of the Living Forest.  Fantastic Skiing and Snowboarding, cross country and snowshoeing in winter- one of the highest annual snowfalls in North America.  In the summer the resort caters to world class hiking, downhill mountain biking (you and your bike ride up the chairlift and ride down), or just enjoy lunch and a scenic chairlift ride. From the chairlift, on a clear day you get a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains as well as the ocean! Unbelievable!

Helpful Resources:

BC Parks - Resource and listing of all the provincial parks in BC with in depth descriptions and directions to each.


Car Rentals
National Car & Truck Rental - Rentals of a variety of vehicles in many locations across the island.
Budget Car & Truck Rental - Offers many vehicles for rent with 21 locations on Vancouver Island.


Boat Rentals & Tours
Nanaimo Harour Ferry - The 'pickle boats' provide foot passenger ferry service to Newcastle Island or harbour tours.  
Pacific Northwest Expeditions - Offers 3-6 day guided kayak tours around Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia.
Alberni Outpost - Sea kayak rentals and tours - With daily tours, lessons and kayak rentals, it's no wonder Alberni Outpost is so popular.   Shore location beside the Brechin Boat Ramp by the Departure Bay BC Ferry terminal. Easy access to Newcastle Island!
Nanaimo Charters and Sailing School - Nanaimo Charters offers affordable powerboat and sailboat charters of the Nanaimo harbour, the Gulf Islands, and Desolation Sound.


Diving
Nanaimo Dive Association - Home of an exciting project that culminated several years ago with the sinking of the HMCS Cape Breton and HMCS Saskatchewan creating world's largest artificial reefs.

Entertainment

Island Event ListingsHarbourLiving.ca is Vancouver Island's Events Website - you'll run out of time before you run out of things to do!

Nanaimo Theatre Group - The Nanaimo Theatre Group puts on several excellent shows each year at the Bailey Theatre, from comedy to drama.

Fishing
Snow Cap Charters- our campers have raved about their Snow Cap fishing charter adventures!
Intrepid Salmon Charters- go for B.C.'s premier saltwater fishing experience.
Highroller Fishing Charters- Take a trip to the West Coast of the Island with one of the best guides available.
Invictus Charters - salmon, halibut, crab and prawns- or dinner!
BC Fishing Rules and Regulations (ocean and freshwater) If you're planning on doing some fishing in British Columbia, familiarize yourself with these government rules and guidelines.


General Information
Tourism Nanaimo - Directory site of tourist attractions, community events and recreational activities in Nanaimo.
Tourism Vancouver Island - An excellent directory site that lists everything on the island from golf to hotels.
Go Nanaimo - Your online gateway to Nanaimo, British Columbia, with travel articles and photos from across Canada.
Canadian Customs Information - Information every visitor to Canada should look over.
Campsites 411 - camping resources
Snowbirds and RV Travelers Magazine
RV West Magazine
RV Times Magazine



Golf
Cottonwood Golf Course- only 10 minutes south, of The Living Forest.  Cottonwood features 18 holes with lots of challenges.
Nanaimo Golf and Country Club - Beautiful course overlooking Departure Bay measuring 6,667 meters from start to finish-- 15 minute drive.
Fairwinds Golf and Country Club - Fairwinds is set on 1,350 acres near Nanoose Bay, a twenty five minute drive.
Pryde Vista Golf Course- 15 minute drive.

Winchelsea View Golf Course- 18 holes- 20 minute drive.
EagleQuest Golf- 9 holes 8 minutes drive.


Lodging
Burnaby Cariboo RV Park - A great place to RV or camp in Vancouver, close to town with many amenities.
Camp-Along Tent and Trailer Resort - Camp-Along is a great campground near Penticton in BC's interior, located between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake. Partial and full hookups, heated pool, laundromat, showers, and only a couple minutes from the beach.
Coast Bastion Inn - The Coast Bastion is a 177 room hotel right at the harbour with a stunning view of the city and many amenities.
Pacific Sands Beach Resort - Pacific Sands is a beautiful Tofino resort bordering Pacific Rim National Park.
Vancouver Hotels Inc. - online discount booking service for Vancouver hotels.


Absolute Oceanfront
Absolute Oceanfront
Luxury Condos - If you have folks visiting that aren't campers and want a fine waterfront accomodation, these units are located at the Inn of the Sea, about 20 minutes south of the Living Forest.


RV Rental & Repair

RVing With Ease Rentals

RVing With Ease RV Rentals Ltd. is a full service RV Rental Company on Vancouver Island.  We always deliver and set up our fully stocked and sparkling clean Travel Trailers and 5th Wheels.  Our All Inclusive Pamper Package makes it really easy to enjoy an RV Vacation.  Serving Central to North Vancouver Island, West Coast as well as Hornby and Quadra Islands.

CanaDream RV Rental - Across Canada RV Rentals
Gordon's RV Sales -  Friendly and knowledgable staff, and only minutes away from the Living Forest. No webpage, but call 250-753-6223 for details.

Big Boy's Toys RV - 19-30 foot RV rentals with free ferry and airport dropoff/pickup service.
Good Sam Club - Home of the Good Sam Club, with information for members and non members alike.
Island RV Rentals - RV rental company based in Nanaimo that rents trailers and tent trailers. All models new or near new.
Arbutus RV - Multiple Island locations- Nanaimo location next to Nanaimo Airport.
Triangle RV - located in Sydney, near Victoria Airport.
First Choice Auto Clinic - repairs 250-729-4905 Bob Foster  3461 Shenton Road, Nanaimo
Big O Tires - our favourite place for tires and brakes


Transportation
BC Ferries - Schedules, condition reports and more from Vancouver Island's most important transportation link.
Washington State Ferries - Ferry service from Anacortes to Sidney, vehicles or passengers.
Sea to Sky Air - We invite you to explore Whistler, Squamish, Pemberton, Vancouver & Victoria and Sea to SKY country by air, sightseeing in comfort and experiencing the excitement of soaring above spectacular coastal terrain. Also offering flight training and pilot license certification.

Nanaimo Harour Ferry - The 'pickle boats' provide foot passenger ferry service to Newcastle Island or harbour tours.  New to Nanaimo in 2007, they're fleet of boats have plyed Victoria's harbour for years.
Victoria Clipper - Scenic ferry service from Seattle to Victoria. Passengers only, no vehicles.
Coho Ferry - Passenger and automobile service from Port Angeles to Victoria's inner harbour.
- Protection Connection Ferry - This passenger only ferry runs from downtown Nanaimo to Protection Island (and the Dinghy Dock Pub). No webpage, so call 250-753-8244 for details.
Nanaimo Airport - Air traffic to Vancouver and elsewhere in the region, complete with an on site 18 hole golf course.
Nanaimo Regional Transit System - Bus schedule and map -- closest pickup point is Southgate Plaza beside the Mohawk Gas Station (1/2 km. from Living Forest)
Tofino Bus - Bus service to Tofino from Nanaimo, Victoria, and Vancouver. Accommodates kayaks, bikes, and surfboards.
West Coast Trail Bus - Bus service to the West Coast trail and Juan de Fuca trail from Nanaimo, Victoria, and Port Alberni.
West Coast Air - need to get downtown Nanaimo to Vancouver International Airport or downtown Vancouver?



     
Weather and Conditions
Nanaimo Weather - 5 day forecast for Nanaimo courtesy of Environment Canada.
BC Road Reports - Road conditions and closures around the province.
Tide and Current Charts - 48 hour tide chart for Nanaimo. Click here for all British Columbia.

Whale Watching
Spring Tide Charters - Whale watching and marine wild life tours out of Victoria. Experienced crew and high number of sightings.
Seasmoke Whale Watching - Based in Johnstone Strait near Alert Bay and Telegraph Cove, Seasmoke Whale Watching offers both motor cruises and sailboat cruises (Sail with the Whales) among the graceful orcas. This area of British Columbia is known as one of the best places in the world to witness a large population of killer whales.
Jamie's Whaling Station - Whale watching, bear watching, and other adventure tours in Tofino and Ucluelet
Cowichan Bay Whale Watching