Parks and Attractions

Nanaimo Harbourfront Walkway

It's hard to imagine a more beautiful place to stroll - parks, shops, floating cafes, yachts, beaches and a crab pier. Eight minute drive from the Living Forest next to downtown Nanaimo.  Google Maps driving directions to park at Maffeo-Sutton Park at the walkway entrance.

Newcastle Island Provincial Marine Park

The jewel of Nanaimo Harbour and only a five minute foot passenger ferry ride from Maffeo-Sutton Park on the Nanaimo Harbour Ferry's 'pickle boats' (schedule and pricing).  Great beaches, a lake, trails for hiking and biking, a historic pavilion with cafe, and just a great place to spend the day. Google Maps driving directions to park at Maffeo-Sutton Park by the Nanaimo Harbour Ferry dock.

Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Park

Stroll along easy shady trails among 800 year old growth giant fir trees!  Scenic 60 minute drive. Google Maps driving directions to Cathedral Grove from the Living Forest.

Englishman River Falls

Another amazing waterfall park, Englishman River's main falls drop nearly 100 feet beneath the bridge over the canyon.  A moderately strenuous 30 minute walk through tall trees will let you see a series of falls and pools that are truly breathtaking. Google Maps driving directions to Englishman River Falls from the Living Forest. 50 minute drive.

Little Qualicum Falls

You can never see too many waterfalls!  Just a few minutes before Cathedral Grove is Little Qualicum, about a 50 minute drive.  Moderately strenuous 30 minute loop trail across two bridges lets you see these amazing waterfalls and canyons -- enjoy the picnic shelter above the falls. Google Maps driving directions to Little Qualicum Falls from the Living Forest.

Colliery Dam

This nearby  park has numerous entrances and many separate forested trails. They all revolve around the small lake, dam and various bridges over the chutes of water.  Stocked with trout, it's a great place to fish from shore (freshwater fishing license required). View the  Park Map.  Google Maps driving directions to Colliery Dam from the Living Forest. 8 minute drive from Living Forest.

Departure Bay Beach

Experience the incredible Snuneymuxw First Nation welcoming totem. The Departure Bay beach and seawall is a popular place to visit for saltwater swimming, beachcombing, strolling, kayaking -- or maybe just grab a meal or a coffee across the street and enjoy a beautiful sunset - even from your car or RV.  The beach is the finish line for the world famous Bathtub Race in July and in December, and the loction of the annual Polar Bear Swim.  Google Maps driving directions to Departure Bay Beach from the Living Forest. 16 minute drive.

Nanaimo Aquatic Centre

If the weather's bad or you just crave the pool, this is one fabulous facility!  Wave pool, water park, indoor water slides, sauna, hot tub, steam room, fitness machines, childminding, cafeteria, diving -- and oh yeah, a competition/lengths pool -- all only a few minutes away. Check out this amazing virtual tour, and get all the schedules and pricing at the Parks and Rec info page for this facility, as well as the other indoor pool and outdoor pool in Nanaimo.  Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  10 minute drive.

Hemer Park

A great network of smooth, gentle trails through tall conifers, without a lot of change of elevation. The 45 minute loop is sandwiched between two quiet lakes, one of which is a bird wetland and features a sunny bird viewing platform.  Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest. 13 minute drive.

Horne Lake Caves

Horne Lake Caves is Vancouver Island's most popular spelunking destination, with several cave networks to explore for both beginners and veteran cavers. View their website for tour options and more info. Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  77 minute drive (mostly freeway, but last 15 minutes is good quality gravel road)

Lady Rose Marine: Boat Trips Down the West Coast

Why drive down the coast when you can relax and take this amazing round trip day cruise and go sightseeing through the Alberni Inlet past the Broken Islands to the towns of Bamfield or Ucluelet for lunch.  Leaves early each morning from Port Alberni and returns around dinner time.  Really see the west coast! Check out their website for more info.  Google Maps driving time to the Lady Rose from the Living Forest.  90 minutes driving time.

Mt. Washington Alpine Resort

Fantastic skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing in winter -- one of the highest annual snowfalls in North America.  In the summer the resort caters to world class hiking, downhill mountain biking, or just enjoy lunch and a scenic chairlift ride. Check out their website for more info. On a clear day you get a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains as well as the ocean. Located near Courtenay, 1.5 hours north of the Living Forest.

Lost Lake Park

This serene and forested 15 minute loop trail circles north Nanaimo's water reservoir, Lost Lake. Hard packed gravel trail, located on the north edge of Linley Valley. Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  22 minute drive.

Neck Point

Offering a great view of the Winchelsea Islands, Georgia Strait, and the mainland mountain range; Neck Point is one of Nanaimo's best oceanside parks. Beachcombers will be right at home here, with several gravel and rock beaches to explore and plenty to see. The many bays make this a favourite with scuba divers and snorkelers, which Nanaimo is world famous for. In 2002, a rare 'superpod' of over 200 Orcas (killer whales) paraded past the Neck Point's viewing platform, thrilling the lucky park users there that day.  Extensive trails, benches, picnic tables and those oh-so-important port-a-potties and doggie bags.  Check out the Park Map.  Google Maps driving directions to Neck Point from the Living Forest.  24 minute drive.

Linley Valley

Linley Valley is true gem within the city, though less than half of the 400 acres has park status, at present. Miles of trails crisscross the moss covered rocky knolls with oceanviews and deep forest valleys, and anyone looking for relaxing or challenging bike rides or hikes through the forest and hilltops would do well to check it out. Lost Lake and Cottle Lake are also within the valley, as well as several creeks.  You won't believe you're still in the city!  Google Maps driving directions to Linley Valley from the Living Forest.
20 minute drive.

Butterfly World

Butterfly World is a large garden/greenhouse that is home to hundreds of beautiful butterflies and birds, and is located just outside of Coombs. View their website for more info.  Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  43 minute drive.

Wild Play Elements Park

Featuring an aerial adventure park, bungee jumping, rapid rappelling, zip lines, and more.  Learn the ropes and skills of climbing and then go bungee jumping over the Nanaimo River canyon -- it's the ultimate adrenalin rush. Check out their website for more info.  Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  7 minute drive.

Piper's Lagoon

Situated just south of Neck Point, Piper's Lagoon is a long spit and rocky outcropping that encloses a sandy lagoon. At low tide, the lagoon drains and sandpipers and other seabirds roam the flats looking for a meal. This beautiful city park is popular, with good reason -- it features a sand beach, rock bluffs and Garry Oaks. View the Park Map.  Google Maps driving directions from the Living Forest.  22 minute drive.

Port Alberni's Steam Train & Sawmill

Learn about Vancouver Island's past, in a fun and entertaining way.  Take the steam train from downtown Port Alberni out to a fully functional steam sawmill - McLean Mill.  You can even stop for a wine tour on the train ride back. Check out the McLean Mill website for more info.  Google Maps driving directions to the Alberni Train station from the Living Forest.  90 minute drive.

Romper Room Indoor Rock Climbing

Romper Room is an indoor rock climbing gym in Nanaimo with over 7000 sq.ft. of climbing wall and a great staff. Check out their website for more info.