Family Time at Downtown Nanaimo’s Waterfront

Downtown Nanaimo has a ton of activities and neat places to offer that can make for an exciting day out in the city. Whether you’re a family of four, a couple out on the town, or simply you taking some time for yourself, there’s plenty to see and do.

Right along the waterfront we have the great Harbourfront Walkway that extends all the way from the inner harbour to the Departure Bay ferry terminal. You will pass many little shops and cafés along the way. So treat yourself to some coffee and make your kids happy with some delicious ice cream!

From here you can make your way down the dock to the fishing and crabbing piers. Crabbing is a fun activity for the whole family. You will need some equipment such as a trap, a crab measurer, and a salt water fishing licence. Once you have those items you are all set to experience a local tradition while meeting some friendly locals who have crabbed for years.

If you don’t feel like crabbing you can keep your eyes open for Lucy, our very own harbour seal. She usually stays close to the harbour and honours locals and tourists with her smiling face. Once past the shops and fishing pier, you will enter Maffeo Sutton Park. This park lies right on the water with some beautiful views of the Mainland as well as Newcastle Island and Protection Island. You will find a large children’s playground, a pavilion, a water basin, and some key features of local history, including a pirate statue of Frank Ney (a former mayor of Nanaimo). If you are up for even more adventure you can take a little pickle boat over to Newcastle Island, our marine provincial park. The ferry leaves every 30 minutes right from within Maffeo Sutton Park.

Credit: Cinnabar Vista Productions/Tourism Nanaimo

Credit: Cinnabar Vista Productions/Tourism Nanaimo

Once on this small island, you can choose your pathway from a total of approx. 21km of trails. They can be considered easy walking trails with different viewpoints, beaches, wildlife, and stunning scenery along the way. Newcastle Island is also home to some blond raccoons, so if you’re lucky you might be able to spot one!

Credit: Cinnabar Vista Productions/Tourism Nanaimo

Credit: Cinnabar Vista Productions/Tourism Nanaimo

After a long day of exploring the town, take a dusk-lit stroll back along the waterfront to one of the stops on our very own Nanaimo Bar Trail!

Try the Nanaimo Bar Cheesecake at Minnoz, the tasty Raw, Organic Vegan & Gluten free Nanaimo Bar at Powerhouse Living Foods Co., or, if you’re looking for the classic treat, try the Traditional Nanaimo Bar at Javawocky Coffee House, located right on the Harbourfront Walkway!

Have you been to Nanaimo’s waterfront? What’s your favourite activity to do there? Let us know in the comments below!

– Helga

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