Nanoose Bay. Photo credit: @telladam
Beachcomber Regional Park. Image: @telladam

Nanoose Bay

Nanoose Bay is located at the south end of the Parksville Qualicum Beach region, 15 km south of Parksville and 26 km north of Nanaimo. Take the scenic route on Northwest Bay Road into the heart of the community. The quaint Red Gap commercial hub is a great place to stop for a coffee break or some grocery shopping.

Things to Do in Nanoose Bay

Parks

Ranked as the #1 Thing to Do in Nanoose Bay according to TripAdvisor, the 35-hectare Moorecroft Regional Park is a breathtaking forest park found along a 1-kilometer stretch of rocky shoreline. A prime destination for bird-watching (look for bald eagles, yellow-rumped warblers and brown creepers), there are also a number of trails to explore, a central lake and several points along the shore with views of the Salish Sea. Dive into the waters at Arab Cove, or refuel with a seaside picnic.

Located on the end of Nanoose Bay's Beachcomber peninsula, Beachcomber Regional Park is a small, one hectare park that contains a surprising number of experiences for outdoor enthusiasts. Navigate a collection of manageable, tree-lined trails and ascend to the lookout to gaze out across the Strait of Georgia and observe the mainland mountains off in the distance. Along the shore, look for small tide pools to investigate or enjoy a swim just off the stone beach.

An additional park awaits just off the shores of Nanoose Bay. Accessed via recreational boats, such as kayaks or canoes, the unpopulated Gerald Island Provincial Park is home to wildlife such as sea lions, bald eagles and other species of birds.

Water-Based Activities

This coastal community offers plenty of on-water experiences for visitors and locals alike. Rent a kayak or canoe, or set out on guided explorations with Adventuress Sea Kayaking. The outfitter's tours range from shorter island paddles, sunset expeditions or wildlife tours, to multi-day kayaking and camping excursions to nearby parks and islands.

Seafarers seeking a less strenuous water-based adventure could join Haida Gold Ocean Adventures for a day of fishing or exploration by boat. Relax on a sunset cruise, reel in Pacific salmon, explore area islands and keep your eyes open for whales, dolphins and other marine life. Anglers can also cast a line on one of several fishing charters in the area.

Scuba Diving

Nanoose Bay is also home to a number of diving sites that allow adventurers to submerge themselves in the waters off Vancouver Island. In fact, Madrona Point is considered one of the best dive sites on Vancouver Island, with three distinct dives that accommodate divers of multiple skill levels and depths ranging from 18 to 27 meters.

Both Madrona Point and the nearby Wall Beach diving site — near Beachcomber Marina — present divers with the high likelihood and memorable experience of encountering sea lions during their dive. Additional Nanoose Bay diving sites include Tyee Cove, Dolphin Beach, Cottam Point, The Jib and Yeo Islands.

riders lined up on horses at Paradise Acres Ranch in Nanoose Bay
All saddled up at Paradise Acres Ranch

Horseback Riding

Over 50 hectares in size, Paradise Acres Ranch invites you to enjoy picturesque, panoramic views of Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Moriarty by horseback. In addition to riding lessons offered year-round, Paradise Acres also offers trail rides through a blend of woods and fields that range from one to four hours in length.

Golf

Golfers of all skill levels can drive, wedge and putt their way through well-manicured greens as they dodge the more than 70 sand bunkers throughout the 18-hole waterfront course at Fairwinds Golf Club. Novice golfers can improve their game with lessons at the on-site Learning Centre.

Skydive

Thrill-seekers can take their exploration of Nanoose Bay to new heights — 3 kilometres above the ground to be specific — with a tandem skydiving experience offered by Skydive Vancouver Island. Feel the rush of falling 200 kilometres per hour and marvel at the landscape of British Columbia and Vancouver Island as an expert skydiver guides you to a soft landing below.

Fairwinds Golf Club golf course
Fairwinds Golf Club

Hiking

Nanoose Bay has some incredible day hikes among towering old growth fir and twisted red arbutus trees. At Powder Point Road you can take a short hike up the Notch to admire Garry Oak and Arbutus meadows, with spectacular views of the Strait of Georgia and across to the mainland.

Hikers can also explore the more than 5 kilometers of rustic, mossy trails that surround Enos Lake. The loop is home to a diverse mix of plant life and beautiful views of the lake, with a vista of the Sailish Sea and southern mountains at the trail's highest elevation.

hiker at the notch in Nanoose Bay
Hiking the Notch. Image: Megan Beauregard

Eating & Drinking

After a round of golf at Fairwinds Golf Club, enjoy a meal at Fairwinds Bar & Grill. Golfers and non-golfers alike can enjoy a menu of locally sourced ingredients, with special dining experiences for holidays throughout the year as well as occasional live music and dances.

Nearby is Seascape Dining — one of Nanoose Bay's newer dining options. Located in Fairwinds Landing, this "modern Canadian tavern" is home to spectacular waterfront and marina views from its patio and inviting indoor dining room. On the menu, look for AAA sirloin steaks and modern takes on traditional pub fare, with ample options for plant-based diners as well.

Located in the lush countryside of Nanoose Bay, The Rocking Horse Pub's cozy decor and menu evokes the charm of a traditional English pub. The menu includes classic pub fare, such as Shepherds pie and fish and chips, as well as an assortment of "Burgers from around the World" that can be savored outside on their sun-soaked patio or inside beside a fireplace.

Nanoose Bay is also home to several markets perfect for those looking to procure fresh produce. Nanoose Edibles Farm grows and sells certified organic vegetables such as artichokes, carrots, peppers, tomatoes and salad greens on their nearly 10-hectare property year-round. Springford Farm Market provides farm-raised beef, eggs, and seasonal produce, in addition to an expanding collection of products from Vancouver Island artisans such as bakeries and cheesemakers.

springford farm
Springford Farm Market

Lodging

Located on Craig Bay, Pacific Shores Resort is a 6-hectare waterfront resort with comfy accommodations, gardens, trails and pools. The resort not only offers oceanfront views, but provides guests with multiple ways to set out onto the water, including stand-up paddle boards and kayaks, as well as numerous dry-land activities such as pickle ball courts, ping pong tables and cruiser bikes.

The aforementioned Paradise Acres Ranch also doubles as a lodging option, perfect for equestrian aficionados looking for a ranch vacation. The ranch operates as a bed and breakfast with a kitchen helmed by Chef de Cuisine Gerd Voigt while also offering treed campsites for tents and RVs.

Nanoose Bay Listings

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