nanaimo panoramic view

Top Summer Activities in the Nanaimo Area

nanaimo panoramic view

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. 

nanaimo winter activities

Top Things to Do in Nanaimo in Winter

nanaimo winter activities

Living in Nanaimo is such a pleasure. We’re surrounded by the ocean, mountains and plenty of wildlife. Not to mention, the this amazing island life doesn’t have to end once the summer does.

Due to the temperate climate we get here in Nanaimo, winters are fairly mild and this is one of the best places in Canada to escape the cold.  This means we can include plenty of outdoor as well as indoor activities on our list of the top things to do in Nanaimo in the winter. 

Whether you want to stay cozy and warm indoors, or you are still yearning to get outside and explore, this guide will have plenty of inspiration for you. With over 10 years of experience in the Nanaimo real estate market operating as part of Sutton Realty Nanaimo, as well as calling this place home, I am happy to share my top winter activities in and around Nanaimo with you. 

1. Visit Ammonite Falls

Vancouver Island has no shortage of beautiful waterfalls and Ammonite Falls is one of the best. Located less than a 20-minute drive from downtown Nanaimo in Benson Creek Falls Regional Park, this is easy to get to and the trail itself is a fairly easy hike.

The winter is actually one of the best times of year to see this waterfall as the flow of water is much higher than in the drier summer months  Watch the water cascade over the edge and enjoy the refreshing feeling of the spray swirling around you. 

2. Eat Your Way Along The Nanaimo Bar Trail

This city is famous for the delicious sweet treat known as the Nanaimo Bar. It is made up of chocolate, graham crackers, nuts, butter and custard powder. If you haven’t tried one yet you need to get your hands on one ASAP.


But why stop at one? Find the absolute best of these bars by going to as many of the 39 stops as possible along the Nanaimo Bar Trail. There are plenty of choices ranging from the classic style all the way to deep-fried and ice cream variations too. A tasty way to spend your winter!

3. See A Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Game

The Nanaimo Clippers are a Junior A hockey team that has been playing in the BCHL since 1972. You’ll catch their games at the Frank Crane Arena. The atmosphere at local hockey games is brilliant and you will enjoy watching some of Canada’s future stars take to the ice throughout the winter months.

4. Go Ice Skating  

If watching ice hockey isn’t good enough for you then why not take to the ice yourself. There are three public ice arenas to choose from and they include community events and programs that will help you learn to skate if you have never tried it before.

Depending on where you are in Nanaimo you can check out the Frank Crane Arena, Nanaimo Ice Centre and the Cliff McNabb Arena. 


5. Go Shopping

What better way to stave off the winter blues than with some retail therapy? Nanaimo has lots of great shopping and there is a little something for everyone. Check out some of the specialty shops and boutique stores in Nanaimo’s historic Old City Quarter.


If you fancy pottering around the largest mall on Vancouver Island then head to Woodgrove. Here you will find over 140 stores to choose from, with a wide variety of products and services on offer.


6. Eat Comfort Food In The Cities Best Restaurants

Another great way to spend a cold winter’s evening is to wine and dine with friends or family in one of the amazing restaurants we have littered across Nanaimo. Whether you want some amazing Greek food from Asteras, wood-fired pies and housemade pasta from La Stella Trattoria or some vegan food at Eve Olive, there is no shortage of delicious restaurants to choose from. 


Wash it all down with a couple of glasses of local BC wine and you have the perfect winter evening. 


7. Walk Along The Water By The Harbour

If you don’t fancy going for a hike but still want to stretch your legs, you can walk along the path that runs along the cities harbour. You can start at the southern end where there is a marina full of pleasure boats and a commercial fishing dock.


As you walk north you will pass by shops and restaurants before coming to Swy-A-Lana Lagoon which is a fishing pier and a children’s park. The walkway does continue on to the Departure Bay ferry terminal if you would like to walk even further.


8. Visit the Local Museums And Art Galleries

Soak in some of the local culture and explore some of the museums and art galleries around Nanaimo. The Nanaimo Museum showcases some interesting pieces of local and regional history as well as feature exhibits from the National Gallery, the Canadian History Museum, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.


The Vancouver Island Military Museum is full of interesting artifacts from the navy, army and air force such as uniforms, weapons and medals and the view from the museum is incredible.


If art is more your type of thing then head to the Nanaimo Art Gallery which showcases local and contemporary art. It also offers lectures and workshops, plus you can even buy some of your own local artwork. 


9. Entertain the Kids 

For some family friendly fun in the winter, you can take your kids to the water park at Beban Park. With a lazy river, spray features and a water-slide the kids will be kept well entertained and you can enjoy some time in the full length pool, steam room and hot tub.


Another great choice is the kids fun house at Jumping Jiminy’s. There is a large play area, games room and a climbing wall and is for kids up to the age of 15. 


Enjoy Winter in One of the Best Cities in BC 

There are plenty of amazing things to do in Nanaimo in the winter, both indoors and outdoors. And whether you like to relax with some good food or explore the outdoors, there is plenty to keep you entertained in this amazing part of Vancouver Island.


If you’re ready to sell, or looking for a new investment opportunity, Jeff King Real Estate is here to help! Check out our latest listings and contact me if you have any Nanaimo real estate questions.

relaxing living room

How To Turn Your Island Home Into A Relaxing Retreat

relaxing living room

Vancouver Island has a reputation as a place to put your feet up and relax. Many cities on the Island are outgrowing their small town status (thanks to a strong Vancouver Island real estate market), and throngs of vacationers come every year to enjoy the plentiful beaches, serene forests, and laid-back atmosphere.

For people who call Vancouver Island home, the Island is also a place to work or raise a family. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the relaxing vibe and turn your home into a place where you forget you aren’t on vacation.

Here’s how you can turn your Island home into a relaxing retreat with some inexpensive interior design changes.

Thinking of selling your home sometime soon? Don’t be surprised if buyers snatch your property up quickly after taking a walkthrough in your calming West Coast-inspired space. 

Banish Clutter

Before you visit a home goods store, you can make your home more relaxing by dealing with a big cause of stress: clutter around the home.

Focus on areas within sight first like messy desks or old mail. Then tackle storage areas by taking items in for donation or getting rid of junk.

Keep an eye out for woven baskets or drawer inserts on your next shopping trip. Any way you can organize “unnecessary clutter” will give your space a much more relaxing feel.

Experiment With Earthy, Natural Colours

Living in Nanaimo, Tofino, or other coastal Vancouver Island locations brings a certain colour palette to mind. The soft beige of a sandy beach, calming ocean blue, and evergreen shades are the hallmarks of West Coast-inspired design.

It is a safe bet that if you incorporate these colours into your living space, it will feel much more relaxing. 

Furniture made of driftwood, woven jute rugs, and accent walls in shades of blue and green are ways to bring West Coast design into your home. Look for inspiration from designers who live and work on the Island, and stay on the lookout for conversation pieces from local artisans.

The Relaxing Power Of Plants

Vancouver Island is all about greenery. Low-lying parts of the Island have some of the mildest weather in Canada, and this means the landscape stays green all year round.

It only makes sense you should carry this theme into your home, and outfit your space with houseplants that not only look great, but help to purify the air.

Even though Vancouver Island sees very little sunlight during the winter months, there are many easy to maintain plants that have become ubiquitous in Island homes. Snake Plant and Chinese Evergreen are particularly good for low light rooms, and Boston Fern and Spider Plant are known for their hardiness and quick propagation.

If you can, build a relaxing space in a room with south-facing windows and position your plants to take advantage of the sunlight. 

Use Natural Light

While we are on the topic of sunlight, let’s talk about how to maximize natural light in your Island home. 

In the summer, you should have less of a problem filling your space with light, but many homes will not have the same advantage during the winter months

So how can you maximize the natural light that makes it into your home? Reflective surfaces like mirrors, furniture with glass or chrome accents, and metallic light fixtures all bounce light into your living space.

Although it may not seem like much, reflective surfaces can effectively double the natural light in a room. 

Do you have a skylight or south-facing window that pulls in a large amount of light during the winter? Focus on maximizing this space. Natural light boosts your mood and creates a serene environment for you to relax and recharge your batteries.

Try Aromatherapy

Candles can be an inexpensive, easy way to change the character of a room in your home. 

Look for candles in soothing spa-inspired scents like eucalyptus or lavender. Scents like these “hack” the brain/scent connection to make you feel more relaxed or transport you to your last vacation resort visit. 

If candles aren’t your thing, essential oil diffusers are another effective way to bring a relaxing scent into your home. 

Try a Wellness Space

It can seem daunting to change your entire home, especially if some rooms don’t have the advantages of natural light or good temperature control to allow you to relax.

Start off by designating a “wellness space” where you can go to relax, do yoga, or entertain guests. This space doesn’t even have to be an entire room, even a cozy corner or nook can do.

With so many more people working from home these days, the lines between your workspace and relaxation zone are being blurred. Keep your wellness space clutter-free and purposeful by using calming tones, soft textiles, and plants.

Looking for inspiration but don’t want to get dissuaded by expensive interior design magazines? 

Check out our listings to see a variety of well-staged homes in the Nanaimo real estate market and beyond.

reclining airport passenger with santa hat

Holiday Travel Tips

Since many people take time off to visit family and friends in other places, the holidays are the busiest time of year to travel. It’s also one of the most taxing times to travel, with people reporting it was as stressful as moving. Take the stress out of holiday travel with these tips!

Do your research. Whether you’re planning weeks in advance or you’re trying to get a last-minute deal, it helps to do your research. Choose flexible travel dates to help you pinpoint the best deal. Also, consider flying into an alternate airport nearby that may not be as busy.

Plan carefully. Flying in the winter may increase the chances of flight delays due to inclement weather. Avoid narrow layover times to reduce the chances of missing connecting flights or choose destinations in warmer cities, if possible.

Pack light. More airlines are charging to check bags. Save money by packing lighter or sending items to your destination instead of bringing them on the plane. Send gifts to their destination, or if you must bring them with you, don’t wrap them.

Leave early, whether you’re flying or driving. This will allow you the buffer time necessary to deal with traffic jams, parking and security. If you live in an area with a light-rail transit system that stops near the airport, use it to avoid traffic and airport parking.

Stay up-to-date on flight changes. Download your airline’s app to get alerts about gate changes and delays.

Stay Healthy While You Travel. In addition to being the holiday season, it’s also cold and flu season. Travelling in close proximity to others may increase your chances of getting sick during your vacation. Keep germs and viruses at bay with these tips:

Stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle and fill it at a water fountain once you pass through security, or purchase water from a vendor in the secured area. Since the pressurized cabin of the airplane tends to dry the eyes and nasal passages, increase your water intake to keep germs away. Water may also help prevent blood clots.

Bring your own blanket and pillow. While some airlines still provide these amenities, most do not. Plus, carrying a small, foldable blanket and a neck pillow will reduce the number of germs you’re exposed to.

Bring healthy snacks, including nuts, dried fruit and other easily portable food items.

Move around to avoid blood clots. Blood clots are a major concern when flying, especially if you are flying cross-country or overseas. Get up and walk around the cabin, if possible. While seated, tap your feet or do  seated calf raises to improve blood circulation.

If You’re Driving:

Get your car ready. Take your car in for a tuneup and address any potential issues beforehand. Have the mechanic check fluid levels and check your tires as well.

Plan your route ahead of time. Whether you’re driving a few hours of a few days, it helps to know the route you’re taking. If you’re taking a long trip, plan where you want to stop for the night and make a reservation at a nearby hotel so you can be sure you’ll have somewhere to stay overnight.

Keep roadside assistance information on hand. Having this information readily available will help you think clearly and act quickly in the event of car issues.

Store a cell phone charger in the car. Using your phone to navigate or play music can drain the battery. Keep a charger in the glove compartment or centre console to keep it charged in case of an emergency.

Pack a winter safety kit. The kit should include an ice scraper, a small snow shovel, tow rope, jumper cables, a blanket, flashlights, a first-aid kit and a portable radio.

Safe travels & happy holidays to you and your families!

hands holding seedling

Top 3 Landscaping Trends

Refresh your landscape with these top trends.

1.Livable Outdoor Spaces.

Many homeowners are treating their patios and backyards like another room of the house by adding outdoor kitchens with pizza ovens and using decorative planters and garden art to put their unique stamp on the space. How can you make your space more livable?

Add a deck or Patio. Great for entertaining or for lounging during your free time, a deck or patio is a must-have feature. If natural stone or brick patio pavers are out of your budget, concrete pavers are a budget-friendly alternative.

Enhance your lighting. Set the mood and enjoy your patio into the evening with the right lighting. LED and solar are becoming increasingly popular. Use strings of lights, torches or LED glass pavers that can be incorporated into the hardscape.

Think comfort. Homeowners are turning their patios into outdoor living rooms. Out with the plastic patio furniture; in with the oversized sofas, armchairs and tables made for the outdoors.

2. Low-Maintenance Landscapes.

Water Conservation efforts in many areas of the country are prompting homeowners to make their landscapes drought-tolerant. One of the benefits of these landscapes: they’re lower maintenance. Make your landscape more low-key.

Plant natives. Plants that are normally found in your area have adapted to the soil, water and weather patterns of your area. This makes them easier to care for than non-native species.

Practice xeriscaping. Ideal for areas that don’t naturally get a lot of water, xeriscaping utilizes low-water-use plants, native grasses, mulch and other elements to create a low-water, low-maintenance landscape.

Install artificial turf. It looks like grass but requires less maintenance and water. Many municipalities, particularly in the West, offer incentives to replace grass with artificial turf.

3. Gardening for Wellness

It’s no secret that whole foods are the keys to good health. Many people have turned their own yards to grow the fruits and vegetables required for good nutrition. Not only are you able to see the fruits of your labor grow and flourish, but gardening can also burn up to 400 calories an hour. Get growing!

Prepare your soil. Healthy fertile, well drained soils yields healthy plants. To see if your soil is healthy, dig a hole and look for earthworms. The more worms you see, the healthier your soil is. or, send a sample away to a lab for a complete analysis of the nutrients in your soil.

Plant what you love. Make a list of the fruits and vegetables that you love before you shop for seedlings. This will help to ensure that most of what you grow is consumed. Some popular plants to start with include pole beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, salad greens, collards, herbs and strawberries.

No yard, no problem! If you don’t have the yard to grow a garden, grow what you love in containers instead. Find a sunny spot on your deck or patio, and arrange your portable garden for optimal light.

couple decorating their living room

Decorating Tips From The Pros

Choose your colour palette first. Whether you plan to redecorate one room or your whole home, a colour palette helps you invoke a sense of unity throughout the space. For inspiration, look at the colours in the furniture you plan to have in the room; or, go with a simple, muted palette that allows your furniture to be the focus of the room and encourages a restful environment.

Pro tip: If you love the style of your furniture, but not the colour or patterns, consider buying slipcovers to create a uniform appearance. Slipcovers also prolong the life of your furniture by protecting against the wear and tear of active children and cuddly pets. Keep extra on-hand in case you have to wash one.

Go for quality over quantity. Resist the urge to overflow the space with furniture. Instead, choose a few key, well-made pieces that will create a timeless look. If you’re just starting out in your first home, splurge on a sofa and enjoy quality that will last.

Pro tip: If you have carpet, layer a rug over it to add dimension, texture and incorporate more colour into the room.

Create a focal point. Whether it’s a mirror, a vase, an antique chair or particular colour, make sure the focus is something you love. The furniture and decor in the room should complement your focal point.

Pro tip: Layer your lighting to create interest and help features stand out. Install lights overhead or on the walls and include table and floor lamps.

Display wisely. If you have collections, arrange them in odd numbers. Collections of three or five are more aesthetically pleasing than those arranged in even numbers. Vary the textures, sizes and colours so they still look like a collection, but aren’t too uniform.

Pro tip: Look for items in your home, such as vases, knickknacks, photos, etc., that would fit together as a set to display.

Select your paint colour last. While many people design a room around the colours they choose for its walls and trim, it makes more sense to pick colours after you’ve decided what furniture, decor, rugs and lighting you want to use in the room.

Pro tip: If you want to brighten a dark room, choose a light colour for the walls and go a shade or two lighter for the ceiling.

Now, get decorating!

home renovation tools

7 Things to Keep in Mind For Your Next Renovation

1. Make a list of what you want to change. Look at websites and magazines to get inspiration for the redesign. Write down what you like and why you like it, and look online and at your local home store to get a price estimate. Once you know what you want to change, prioritize your list by ranking each item in order of what needs to get done first. Refer to your list throughout the project to help you stay on track.

2. Consider your resources: time, budget and overhaul, take into consideration the amount of time, money and energy that you’ll have to dedicate to the project.

3. Set a budget. Once you figure out how much you can spend, subtract 20% to 30% from this number and set it aside for contingencies.

4. Sketch it out. A rough sketch of the layout of the space will help you narrow down the fixtures, cabinets and storage options you’d like to incorporate.

5. Measure everything more than once. It may sound persnickety, but taking the time to measure things twice will help you to ensure that you don’t need to make costly returns or corrections.

6. Replace the underlayment. If you’re ripping up flooring and fixtures, consider replacing the underlayment. Not only does this allow you to start fresh, it also gets rid of any water damage, which commonly occurs in the humid bathroom environment.

7. Reduce the impact of the renovation. Move your stuff over to the bathroom that’s not being remodelled before the work begins. That way you won’t have to hunt for your favourite body wash or your disposable razors.

save money on home heating

Save Money on Home Energy This Winter

As we head into the winter months, you may notice one thing: an increase in your energy bill. The reduced amount of daylight drives us to turn on our lights sooner, while the cooler temperatures cause us to crank up the heat inside. The winter and summer months tend to be the most energy-intensive times of the year, as we try to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, despite what the thermometer says.

8 Tips to Save Money and Stay Warm this Winter

1. Set the thermostat to 20° C (68°F) when you’re home. Studies show you use 3-5% more energy for each degree the thermostat is set above this number. Instead of increasing the heat, put on a sweater to stay warm.

2. When you leave the house, lower the thermostat. Why heat your house if no one is home? Lowering your thermostat 10 -15 degrees can save 5-15% a year on your energy bill.

3. Close your curtains or blinds at night and when you’re not home to keep warm air from escaping. Go the extra mile and invest in thermal blackout curtains, which can help keep warm air where it belongs—in your home.

4. Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk gaps and cracks when you see them to prevent heat from escaping.

5. Close the damper of your fireplace when you’re not using it. Being mindful of this small action can keep your house noticeably warmer.

6. Insulate. Up to 25% of heat is lost through the small cracks and holes around the house. Properly insulating your walls, floors and attic can save you up to 10% on your total energy costs.

7. Replace old windows. Depending on the climate, windows can account for 25-50% of a home’s heating and cooling needs.2 Make sure you’re not losing precious heat in the winter by replacing your old windows with high performance, energy-efficient windows. The added bonus? These windows not only regulate the amount of heat that is absorbed, they also help block outside noise.

8. Maintain your heating and cooling duct system. By keeping your HVAC system in great shape, you can avoid costly and sudden repairs that might leave your home without heat, plus save money on your energy bills.