Nanaimo is a city on the east coast of Vancouver Island. It's located almost directly across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver. With a bustling harbour and a unique mix of eateries, shops, and museums, Nanaimo is drawing more visitors every year. Use Skyscanner to find discounts on flights, hotels, and rental cars to see why this coastal city is growing in popularity.
Renting a Car in Nanaimo
Travellers flying into Nanaimo will arrive at Nanaimo Airport, which is about 18 kilometres south of the city centre. Here they'll find three convenient options for on-site car rentals. Budget, Hertz, and National all have offices situated within the terminal. Additionally, all three companies have a variety of vehicles available, including sedans, vans, and SUVs.
There are also two ferries that arrive in Nanaimo. The first ferry option leaves Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver and arrives at Departure Bay in Nanaimo. This trip lasts one hour and 40 minutes. The second option leaves Tsawwassen for a two-hour trip to Duke Point, which is 15 minutes south of Nanaimo. For travellers who choose to arrive by ferry and are not coming with a vehicle, both Budget and National have rental car options in the city, including convenient locations near the ferry terminals.
Tips on Driving in Nanaimo
Highways 19, 19A, and 1 are the major thoroughfares that traverse the city. Unless otherwise posted, typical speed limits in Nanaimo are 30 kilometres per hour in a school zone, 50 kph on city streets, 80 kph on rural roads, and between 110 and 120 kph on major expressways and highways.
Like the rest of British Columbia, it is illegal for a driver to use a cell phone or mobile device while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle in Nanaimo. Additionally, the use of seat belts and vehicle child restraints is mandatory. Finally, keep in mind that Nanaimo does get snow in the winter, so drivers are urged to take more caution when driving during those months.
What to See and Do in Nanaimo
For travellers who have a sweet tooth, checking out the stops on the self-guided Nanaimo Bar Trail is worth the time and effort. The Nanaimo bar is a creamy chocolate no-bake bar famously invented in the city. The trail begins at the Nanaimo Museum where visitors can learn more about the original recipe. From there, the trail makes stops for traditional Nanaimo bars, deep-fried Nanaimo bars, speciality Nanaimo bars, Nanaimo bar cake pops, and more.
Travellers who love the water will find plenty of opportunities around Nanaimo to get wet. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and head out to explore all the secret inlets and coves of the harbours and lakes. Or take a charter boat out to the harbour and take advantage of an amazing opportunity to snorkel with seals.
Find great deals on hotels, flights, and rental cars in Nanaimo by using the Skyscanner app. Then head out and see what this lovely harbour city has to offer.