Getting Here

By Bike
By Public Transit
By Land

Town and Country

From Departure Bay to Neck Point Park and Saysutshun Island there are many places to stop along the ocean’s edge, or venture inland to one of many parks and trails with an abundance of unique birding opportunities.

Nanaimo River Estuary
 Birding
  • 1
    Nanaimo Estuary Natural Area
    1270-1136 Raines Rd

    This short trail on the banks of the Nanaimo River offers a host of birding opportunities, all within view of downtown Nanaimo.

  • 2
    Nanaimo River Estuary
    1160 Island Hwy

    This diverse area is where the Nanaimo River meets the Salish Sea, creating the largest estuary on Vancouver Island.

  • 3
    Hemer Provincial Park
    Entry at the end of Hemmer Road

    Just South of Nanaimo, this forested park includes walking trails and a viewing platform over the marsh perfect for easy-access birding.

Anna-ShayneKaye-1 - BC Bird Trail
Anna's Hummingbird by Shayne Kaye
 Cafe
  • 4
    COCO Café
    1840 Cedar Rd

    Fresh baked goods made in-house daily, as well as specialty coffees, teas, breakfast, and lunch options to dine-in or take with you into the field.

 Food
 Visitor Centre

Parks and Recreation

Stretching North along the Island Highway, Nanaimo’s local parks welcome birders of all backgrounds to slow down, and enjoy the scenery.

Buttertubs Marsh Park - Nanaimo - Central Vancouver Island - BC Bird Trail
Buttertubs Marsh
 Birding
Newcastle Island by Nancy Shields
 Cafe
 Food
  • 12
    Mon Petit Choux
    120 Commercial St

    This French-inspired cafe can help turn a birdwatching hike into a five-star picnic, with fresh, organic bread, pastries, breakfast, and lunch options.

  • 13
    McLean’s Specialty Foods
    426 Fitzwilliam St

    Purveyors of imported delicacies and specialty foods, this local favourite boasts over 150 varieties of cheese from around the world.

 Shopping
  • 14
    Strong Nations Books

    Ordering from this Indigenous-owned online bookstore supports the local community while extending your learning journey through art and literature.

  • 15
    The Backyard Wild Bird & Nature Store
    6314 Metral Dr

    This community birding hub has all the essentials for making any backyard a bird paradise. In season, they also offer guided bird walks throughout Central Vancouver Island. 

Eating Well in the Harbour City

We all get peckish after a day, or two, or three, of exploring Super, Natural British Columbia. Thankfully, Nanaimo’s growing farm-to-table food scene has plenty of options that cater to any taste.

Gabriel’s Café
 Cafe
 Food
Least Sandpiper by Shayne Kaye
 Accommodations
  • 22
    Buccaneer Inn
    1577 Stewart Ave

    Just around the corner from the Departure Bay ferry terminal, this Nanaimo motel features nautically-themed rooms with a wide range of amenities all along the water.

    Book Now
  • 23
    Inn on Long Lake
    4700 N Island Hwy

    Just north of downtown Nanaimo and close to the Departure Bay ferry terminal, this hotel property features rooms fitted with private balconies or patios offering gorgeous views of Long Lake.

Explore More

Guided Bird Walks hosted by The Backyard Wildbird and Nature Store

Leaves the Birdstore at 9 a.m. on Sunday Mornings