Cheap Flights to Nanaimo
Flying into Nanaimo means landing at the small, land-based Nanaimo Airport (YCD) or making a splashdown to arrive at the Nanaimo Harbour Water Airport (ZNA). Both approaches give you a bird's eye view of this scenic locale. If you're ready to see what this Vancouver Island town has to offer, let Skyscanner help plan your visit. The online search engine can help you find the cheapest flights, help with your hotel reservations and that rental car. Think about it. There's a sweet, delectable Nanaimo Bar waiting for you.
Best Time to Book a Flight to Nanaimo
Nanaimo is a year-round destination, but is particularly popular during June and July when temperatures average 21 degrees Celsius and there's little rain. December and January are the coldest months and though the average low is 4 degrees Celsius, it does occasionally get cold enough to snow. Flight availability is tighter during the summer, and the December/January holiday season. Skiers heading for the runs at Mount Washington often fly into Nanaimo. The least expensive flights are usually midweek. Use Skyscanner's Whole Month Search program to compare fares, one month at a time. Book your ticket as early as possible, and be flexible with your dates. That's the key to getting the cheapest airfare available.
What to Expect When Arriving at Nanaimo Airports
- The Nanaimo Airport, located 13 kilometres south of the downtown core, is an easy-to-navigate one-terminal facility. Air Canada Express and WestJet Encore provide service from Vancouver and Calgary, while Island Express Air flies into and out of Abbotsford, Comox, Victoria and Vancouver. All three carriers operate multiple daily flights. Operating hours for Nanaimo Airport are usually from 4:00am to 12:00 midnight or until the last flight arrives. A concession area with a café and a sundry store is next to the Departure Lounge. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the terminal. A car rental service desk is next to baggage claim, with adjacent doors that lead to the rental car lot just outside. There is so much to see and do in and around Nanaimo that a rental car is a great transportation option. The Nanaimo Airporter Shuttle and taxi cabs are available outside the terminal's main arrivals exit. Rates are based on destination, time and traffic. A taxi fare to downtown Nanaimo averages $40.00 CAD, excluding the tip.
- Located on the northern end of Nanaimo Harbour off of Front St, the Nanaimo Harbour Water Airport welcomes seaplanes from Vancouver, the Gulf Islands and various locations on Vancouver Island. Harbour Air, the main carrier, along with Seair Seaplanes, Tofino Air, Sunshine Coast Air and West Coast Air share the Vancouver run. Kenmore Air flies from Kenmore Air Harbour, Washington, USA. Seaplanes touch down in the Salish Sea and then water taxi to the dock at the Pioneer Waterfront Plaza, near the Lighthouse Bistro. Luggage is more limited on seaplanes, most of which are 18-seaters or smaller. Travelling light is your best option. Many hotels are within walking distance of the dock, but taxis and rental cars are available nearby.
What to See and Do in Nanaimo
- Now, about those Nanaimo Bars. Imagine biting into a dessert with a graham cracker crust infused with cocoa, almonds and shredded coconut, holding a buttery cream-custard filling that's covered with another layer of chocolate. Head for almost any bakery or café to sample this treat, or take the self-guided Nanaimo Bar Trail. Pick up a map at the Tourism Nanaimo Visitor Centre on Northfield Road, at the Tourism Nanaimo administration office on Front St or at a number of businesses downtown. With 34 stops on the list, it's best to pace yourself. Better yet, break up the tour so you're able to savour every bite of the various Nanaimo Bar creations.
- Check out the Nanaimo Museum for a look at First Nations and pioneer history and art as well as a replicated coal mine. Visiting exhibits are usually on display, with some of the past subjects being fossils, vintage camping supplies and Chinatown history. The NASA moon exhibit that featured Snoopy, the cartoon beagle from Charles Shultz's "Peanuts" comic strip, was a big hit.
- Nanaimo is home to more than 170 kilometres of trails. Some, like the Harbourfront Walkway, the Parkway and the E&N Trails are multi-use. Rent a bicycle, some roller blades or just go for a stretch of the legs on the paved surfaces. If you want a more natural setting, head for the Cable Bay Trail, Neck Point Park or Westwood Lake Park where the softer surfaces are great for walking and jogging.
- Protection Island is a quick 10-minute ferry ride from Nanaimo. It was once owned by an eccentric Nanaimo mayor, Frank Ney, who loved to dress in pirate costumes. As soon as you approach the dock you'll find that the pirate theme remains. The floating Dingy Dock Pub greets you with the skull and crossbones as part of their logo. It's even more "piraty" inside, complete with a talking parrot that gets pretty sassy.
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Airports near Nanaimo
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