Vancouver Island’s East Coast is kissed by sandy beaches, lapped by the waters of the Strait of Georgia.  The Trans Canada Highway skirts its coastline along much of its route, winding north to become a marine highway at Departure Bay.

At the heart of this region is the city of Nanaimo. History, culture, adventure and amazing scenery combine to make the Nanaimo-Parksville region a magnet for visitors who revel in the many sea to sky attractions available year-round. It’s an unparalleled outdoor playground, opening the door on 360 degrees of adventure, from biking and hiking to water sports and exploring.

Beach communities line the western shores of the Strait of Georgia, stretching from Nanaimo thru Nanoose Bay to Parksville, Qualicum Beach and beyond. From mid July to mid August, Parksville hosts a sandcastle-building competition dubbed as “Parksville Beachfest”. It’s the only world championship sand sculpting official qualification event in Canada. Nearby Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park is an important stopover area for migratory birds providing birders with opportunities to sight many different species.

The region can be busy during the summer months so visitors travelling by RV would be wise to book RV campsites in advance. The whole area is perfect for a laid-back style of vacation and won’t disappoint.

Top 5 Things to Do

  • Sample Nanaimo Bars on the Nanaimo Bar Trail
  • Go whale watching
  • Horne Lake Caves
  • Sign up for a Craft Beverage and Culinary Tour
  • Witness the historic canon firing on Nanaimo's waterfront



Video courtesy of Tourism Nanaimo

Itineraries that include British Columbia

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