Destination guide

Stay in beautiful waterside vacation rentals at Nanaimo

Relaxed yet energetic, and with a good balance of natural beauty and major city amenities, Nanaimo makes a great holiday destination. Known as Harbour City, it boasts the longest shorelines in Canada. Visitors enjoy the lively recreational activities and vast green spaces that the city provides for solo travellers, couples, and families. Its climate is one of the friendliest in the country, so you can enjoy the scenery from your vacation house rental or condo in comfort. Nanaimo residents and visitors can find plenty of attractions in both the urban setting of the city and in the surrounding protected wilderness.

History

Nanaimo has accumulated a rich history from its humble beginnings as a coal mining town in the 1850s to becoming the dynamic regional hub it is today. Grab some handy heritage tour brochures and plan your sightseeing itinerary from your vacation home rental. See the Edwardian-style buildings in Old City or the ancient village remains of First Settlers at Maffeo Sutton Park. Nob Hill Park was included in the original plans for Nanaimo, standing today as a tribute to those planners who understood the importance of green spaces within city limits.

Activities

Activities and attractions in and around Nanaimo

Are you searching for attractions to visit while you're in the area? Although it can be tempting to stay in your comfortable vacation rental, you'll want to experience everything that Nanaimo has to offer. These are some of the major attractions to see, all within 30 miles (48.2 km) of the city center:

  • Nanaimo Aquatic Centre (1.2 mi / 1.9 km)
  • Brechin Lanes (2.2 mi / 3.5 km)
  • WildPlay Nanaimo (7 mi / 11.2 km)
  • Winchelsea View Golf Course (9.2 mi / 14.7 km)
  • Fairwinds Golf Club (11.7 mi / 18.9 km)
  • Ladysmith Golf Club (14.4 mi / 23.2 km)
Natural features

Exploring the natural features in Nanaimo

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or just want to spend some time taking in the scenery, Nanaimo is a great place to get outside. These are some of the area's most eye-catching sights, all within 30 miles (48.2 km) of the city center:

  • Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park (1.1 mi / 1.7 km)
  • Newcastle Island (1.7 mi / 2.7 km)
  • Beach Estates Park (2.1 mi / 3.3 km)
  • Departure Bay Beach (3.1 mi / 4.9 km)
  • Pipers Lagoon Park (4.2 mi / 6.7 km)
  • Roberts Memorial Provincial Park (10 mi / 16 km)
How to get there

Transportation to and around Nanaimo

Fly into Nanaimo, BC (ZNA-Nanaimo Harbour Water Aerodrome), the closest airport, located 0.1 mi (0.2 km) from the city center. If you can't find a flight that's convenient for your trip, you might consider flying into Nanaimo, BC (YCD), which is 8.3 mi (13.4 km) away.

How to get around

Getting around Nanaimo from your vacation rental

Three airports service Nanaimo, 2 of which are water-based. Visitors coming from Vancouver Airport can take the BC Ferries to Nanaimo, which takes around an hour and a half. BC Transit provides buses that have scheduled routes travelling around the city, but you're probably better off hiring a rental car to explore at your own pace. Paid parking lots are abundant in Downtown, plenty of which can be found near attractions. Nanaimo is a bike-friendly city, and the light traffic makes it feel safer to share the road with vehicles compared to other more congested places.

Food & drink 

Have a bite of some of Nanaimo's famous foodie treats

Downtown Nanaimo welcomes you with great food options to go along with the vibrant scenery. Homegrown ingredients create classic dishes with local twists and daring flavours. In addition to the wide selection of bars and diners, you'll also find floating restaurants with fresh seafood delicacies and street vendors with quirky favourites. The classic dessert item called the Nanaimo bar is made of three layers: a wafer and coconut crumb base with a custard icing middle, topped with chocolate ganache. Many variations of this are sold at various dessert stores around Nanaimo, so you'll have lots of opportunities to try it out.

Essential info

Key facts for your Nanaimo vacation rental stay

Nanaimo has a population of over 90,000 residents and is visited by travellers from other BC cities and the rest of Canada. Known previously as Hub City, it sits on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The climate is temperate, with dry summers and rainy winters. English is the spoken language and the currency used is the Canadian dollar. Bars are open to people aged 19 and over, and restaurant servers are generally given a 15–20% tip. Nanaimo has a safe environment day and night with low crime rates, but if you do need emergency assistance, call 911.

What are the popular points of interest near where I can stay when travelling to Nanaimo?

HomeAway offers a large selection of lodging choices near lovely places in Nanaimo. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Nanaimo Regional General Hospital: 286 home rentals
  • Vancouver Island University: 276 home rentals
  • Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park: 267 home rentals
  • Nanaimo Aquatic Centre: 284 home rentals
  • Nanaimo Museum: 270 home rentals

But there are many other points of interest around Nanaimo listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available near the point of interest of your choice.

Can I rent Houses in Nanaimo?

Yes, of course. HomeAway has 83 Houses in Nanaimo. Our other popular types of vacation rentals in Nanaimo include:

  • Condos/Apartments: 42 lodging choices
  • Cottages: 19 lodging choices
  • Cabins: 19 lodging choices

But you can also enjoy a great stay in one of our other vacation homes including Bungalows and more.

Can I find a vacation rental with pool in Nanaimo?

Yes, you can select your preferred vacation rental with pool among our 47 vacation homes with pool available in Nanaimo.

    Explore destinations around Nanaimo