Looking for the best way to get acquainted with Nanaimo on your next Vancouver Island visit?
We have put together a list of the top summer attractions in the Nanaimo area, along with insights into the housing market in each Nanaimo neighbourhood.
Whether you are coming to Nanaimo just to visit, or you are seriously considering moving to town, we are confident that these summer activities will convince you that living in Nanaimo is the right call.
Take in Ammonite Falls – Jingle Pot
New residents in Vancouver Island can expect to get used to many natural wonders like breathtaking mountain vistas, ocean sunsets, and waterfalls. Lots of them.
Although Ammonite Falls in Nanaimo’s rural Jingle Pot setting isn’t considered a huge waterfall, it is one of the “must-see” local experiences. The hiking route to get there is a 5.5 km out-and-back through a relaxing evergreen forest and canyons.
While you are in the area to check out Ammonite Falls, leave some extra time to cruise nearby Jingle Pot Road and take in some of the finest acreage and equestrian properties in the area.
There is such a wide range of homes and some of the finest land for sale in Nanaimo: from old farm homes to modern subdivisions, all within a ten-minute drive of the Nanaimo city centre.
Got a designated driver? You can also experience Nanaimo’s local wineries, Chateau Wolff and Millstone Estates while you are on your way back to town.
Sunset at Neck Point Park – Hammond Bay
It’s not a secret: the rocky outcrops at Neck Point Park offer some of the best sunset views in the summertime.
It is also a popular spot for birdwatchers, photographers, and general nature lovers.
From some choice sunset-viewing spots, you will be able to get a good look at some of the finer waterfront properties in Hammond Bay.
Steep rocky terrain means that most of these properties don’t come with private beaches or docks, but their high vantage points offer privacy and panoramic views of the Salish Sea.
This is a relatively new neighbourhood, with many “older” properties being only 20 or 30 years old. You can expect these homes to have modern amenities, and newer shopping centres are only a short drive away in North Nanaimo.
For more information on properties like these, check out our recently-released guide to the luxury Nanaimo real estate market.
Dining By the Sea – Downtown
Several downtown restaurants in Nanaimo do local Vancouver Island seafood very well. The quiet, quaint local harbour is the best place to enjoy great seafood, and there are several high-rated restaurants worth trying.
The Lighthouse Bistro and Trollers Fish & Chips are local favourites for sea fare, and there are also many boutiques, coffee shops, and pubs to explore in the “Old City.”
Many of these structures date back to the late 1800s, and the city has funded revitalization programs to retain the historic charm of the downtown core.
Although some of the city’s oldest residential properties can be found here, some of the most exciting real estate is new developments and condos that overlook the harbour.
The most highly-coveted condo properties are on Promenade Drive, including one of a few of the city’s true “high rises”.
Island Living – Gabriola Island
It is so close that you feel like you can touch it. Gabriola is only a twenty-minute ferry ride from the downtown Nanaimo Harbour Ferry Terminal, but it offers all the seclusion and tranquillity that the Gulf Islands are known for.
Gabriola has been coined “the Isle of the Arts” thanks to its creative culture (with over 70 art studios) and busy summer schedule of festivals and workshops.
It also has over 4,200 residents, meaning that amenities like shopping, a community bus service, and dining options are available.
But at its core, Gabriola is still a quiet place to unwind. Because of its convenient location, it is also seeing some attention in the vacation home (and staycation home) market.
For residents who live in the Mid Island region, Gabriola is something special. Getting there doesn’t involve a multi-stop ferry trip like Salt Spring, Pender, or Galiano.
Look for quirky acreages and lots with built-in artist studio spaces (perfect for working from home).
Beachcombing and High-Class Relaxation – Parksville
Not many first-time visitors to the Mid Island have heard much about Parksville.
Maybe it’s better that way since the best-kept secret of the Nanaimo area can get by as a pleasant surprise between the Nanaimo city centre and Qualicum Beach.
Parksville is best enjoyed in the summer, with expansive golden sand beaches to contrast Nanaimo’s rocky appearance. These beaches (Rathtrevor, a three-mile-long stretch being the best-known), are a great place for long walks, tanning sessions, and exploring tide pools.
And Parksville isn’t just known as a sleepy low-frills vacation destination any longer. The luxury Tigh-Na-Mara and its famed “Grotto Spa” is a seaside resort on 22 acres of tranquil forest. It has been voted the #1 spa in BC, and also features 2 award-winning restaurants.
With this increased traffic, potential homebuyers are taking notice. Parksville is a mere 30 minutes from Nanaimo, and is seeing plenty of the same interest that has boosted Nanaimo’s real estate market in recent years.
We’ve Only Scratched the Surface
As beautiful as living in Nanaimo can be in the winter months with mild weather and constant green foliage, it really shines in the summer when the beaches fill with vacationers and the tourism industry is in full swing.
Check out our guide to Nanaimo neighbourhoods post for deeper coverage on neighbourhoods like Chase River, Uplands, and Diver Lake.
Looking to find a new home with easy access to outdoor activities and everyday essentials?
Get in touch with Jeff King Real Estate to learn more today.