Whether you’re looking for sandy beaches for swimming at high tide, a grassy park with picnic tables, or a rocky beach to explore at low tide, the City of Nanaimo is a great place to visit. Read on to learn about the best Nanaimo beaches, as well as some of Vancouver Island’s best beaches.
The best Nanaimo beaches at low tide
The four best Nanaimo beaches for low tide are found in central and north Nanaimo:
- Departure Bay Beach
- Piper’s Lagoon Park
- Invermere Beach
- Blueback Beach
What makes Departure Bay Beach a great place to go at low tide?
Departure Bay Beach’s proximity to the ferry terminal, sandy beaches, and ease of shore access at low tide make it a great place to start your Nanaimo beaches adventure.
Not only are the sandy beaches of Departure Bay are great place to explore at low tide, they’re also a good first stop in the City of Nanaimo. As you leave the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal, follow Departure Bay Road to Kinsmen Park. This grassy park has picnic tables, and a small parking lot, with plenty more angled parking along Departure Bay Road. The first thing you’ll notice is the great view back toward the ferry terminal. At low tide, Departure Bay offers warm shallow waters, which are perfect for young children looking for sea life in the intertidal zone.
What makes Piper’s Lagoon a great place to go at low tide?
At low tide, the rocky beach on the Pacific Ocean side of Piper’s Lagoon Park becomes a sandy beach and a great place for swimming.
Piper’s Lagoon Park is a great place for viewing birds at both high tide and low tide. It’s also the perfect place to kick back and relax on a rocky beach with a great view. Piper’s Lagoon Park is only a little further along Departure Bay Road. At Hammond Bay Road, follow the signs toward Piper’s Lagoon Park. At high tide, Piper’s Lagoon Park is a perfect place to go for either a short walk, or a long walk.
The ocean side of Piper’s Lagoon Park has rocky beach and is the perfect spot to sit if you’re looking for a great view across the Strait of Georgia toward the mainland of British Columbia. The inland side of the main trail at Piper’s Lagoon Park is bordered by Page Lagoon, the name of the lagoon itself. At high tide, this protected lagoon is a great place to view marine life.
At low tide, Page Lagoon becomes somewhat of a mudflat. At the north end of the main trail, you’ll find a protected rocky beach looking toward north Nanaimo. This is a great spot to sit and relax with the protected Pacific Ocean to one side, and the shores of Page Lagoon to the other.
What makes Invermere Beach a great place at low tide?
Invermere Beach is one of the largest sandy beaches in North Nanaimo. At low tide, it’s the perfect place for a long walk.
For easy access to Invermere Beach, drive to the end of Invermere Road in North Nanaimo. You won’t be disappointed by what this beautiful sandy beach has to offer at low tide. It’s the perfect place for young children to run around in warm shallow waters. Invermere Beach is also popular with dog walkers, as it’s considered an off-leash area.
This beach has easy access with a small parking lot, from which it’s a short walk down to Invermere Beach. At low tide, the warm sandy waters of Invermere Beach are not unlike what you’ll find beyond North Nanaimo, at Parksville Beach.
What makes Blueback Beach a great place at low tide?
Another of the largest sandy beaches in North Nanaimo, Blueback Beach is a great spot for a long beach walk, or to enjoy warm shallow waters at low tide.
To access this great spot in North Nanaimo, head to the end of Blueback Road. Access to the sandy beaches requires navigating some steep terrain, but it’s well worth the descent. Here you’ll enjoy a great view of North Nanaimo and across the Strait of Georgia to the mainland of British Columbia.
Blueback Beach actually connects to Invermere Beach, so if one of these two great low tide sandy beaches seems too busy for your liking, simply head to the other. At low tide, the warm sandy waters of Blueback Beach are not unlike what you’ll find beyond North Nanaimo, at Qualicum Beach or Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park.
Should I visit Neck Point Park at low tide?
Neck Point Park is a great place for a long walk along beautiful trails. It also offers a great view east toward the mainland of British Columbia. While this North Nanaimo park is a popular spot, it’s not a great place for enjoying sandy beaches at low tide. Neck Point Park has a rocky beach, and isn’t really all that remarkable at low tide. However, it’s a great place to enjoy a great view of the coastal mountains, or to take advantage of the grassy park grounds and picnic tables.
Are there any great sandy beaches beyond North Nanaimo?
Maffeo Sutton Park is a great place to visit if you’re in downtown Nanaimo. This city park is a great spot for young children as it offers playgrounds, picnic tables, and a grassy park.
At low tide, Maffeo Sutton Park’s Lana Lagoon is a great place for young children to explore sandy beaches and look around for marine life that live in shallow tidal pools. Lana Lagoon is completely protected from the waves of the Pacific Ocean. It’s one of the best Nanaimo beaches for young children. There is a large parking lot within easy walking distance of Maffeo Sutton Park and Lana Lagoon. It’s also a perfect place for a long walk, as the City of Nanaimo has a harbourside walking path that runs right through Maffeo Sutton Park.
Westwood Lake Park is a great spot to enjoy sandy beaches and fresh water on the western edge of the City of Nanaimo. It’s the perfect place for families with young children.
While the City of Nanaimo is known for the Pacific ocean and low tide sandy beaches, it is also home to some great fresh water sandy beaches. Westwood Lake Park is one of these, offering picnic tables, sandy beaches, and a grassy park. It’s a great place for swimming on a hot summer day, and also a popular spot for a long walk. Westwood Lake Park has a four mile long circuit trail, the ideal place for a walk through the shady forest on a hot summer day.
Long Lake Park is another fresh water popular spot, in the heart of the City of Nanaimo. It’s the perfect spot for a quick stop at a sandy beach on your way to North Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, and beyond.
The main access points are on the south end of Long Lake. Loudon Park is one of these spots, offering sandy beaches, tree-shaded picnic areas, and a grassy park. This is the perfect place for a picnic followed by a quick fresh water swim. Long Lake definitely has more of an urban feel to it, but it’s still a great place for fresh water sandy beaches in the City of Nanaimo.
Is it worth stopping in the City of Nanaimo on my way to Qualicum Beach or Parksville Beach?
The City of Nanaimo is a great place to stop and explore beautiful sandy beaches, fresh water lakes, and some of the most wonderful natural beauty in North America. With plenty of sandy beaches, Nanaimo is the perfect place to explore for a day or two.
Many tourists who visit Vancouver Island spend little time in the City of Nanaimo after they leave the ferry terminal. This is a shame, as the City of Nanaimo has much to offer. It’s one of the fastest growing cities in British Columbia, and North America for that matter! And with so much natural beauty, it’s easy to see why.
Check out this article entitled 20 of the Best Beaches in Victoria BC Canada. You’ll learn about some Vancouver Island’s best beaches beyond the City of Nanaimo.