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Nanaimo and Northern Gulf Islands Paddling


Nanaimo is a small city of approximately 85 000 people. It's located on the East Coast of Vancouver Island and near some great paddliBrechin Boat Rampbrechinboatramp ng one-day or multi-day paddling trips. Nanaimo also has great hiking trails, mountain biking trails and a pleasurable walk along the city waterfront.

BC Marine Trails Resources for Nanaimo and Southern Gulf Islands

   For the independent paddler or a paddler on a guided trip our state-of-the-art map gives the details about where to launch a kayak and the location of sites such as Newcastle Island. Or you can see nearby launch sites on the map. Please read the disclaimer below before using map resources.

  •    Visit our map and search for Newcastle Island, Brechin Boat  or Pirates Cove Marine Park (place term in search box).
  •    If you need better planning/map tools our membership provides a map ruler and a downloads page for your GPS as well as sponsor benefits (i.e. discount on a tour or kayaking gear).
  •    Resources: A variety of resources to help you find or plan a paddling trip.


If you are visiting the Nanaimo area there are a number of day trips or multi-day trips.

  • A paddling trip to Newcastle Island is very popular. Alberni Outpost (sponsor below) rents kayaks opposite Newcastle Island at the Brechin Boat Ramp. The island is historically rich place to visit. School groups can be seen in June or September visiting the quarry. Or during the Spring to Fall months visitors take the long walk through the island's trails passing under many magnificent tree stands. Kayaking visitors pull up onto a beach and may camp overnight or simply enjoy a day's pleasure.
  • Nearby, Gabriola Island has several paddling daytrips including visiting the Malaspina Galleries, Entrance Island or the Flat Top Islands. And if you are into a multi-day trip many paddlers launch from Cedar-by-the-Sea and visit places like Pirates Cove Marine Provincial Park. The geology and flora along the islands is idyllic especially when a seal, sea lion, or an eagle is seen.
  • Adventuress Kayaking Adventures visits the Ballenas Winchelsea Archipelago opposite the Nanoose area south of Parksville, BC or join the local Nanaimo Paddling club, who periodically have a group trip. On our map search for the Ballenas Islands.

 Articles/Guide Books

  • Volume 1: British Columbia's South Coast and East Vancouver Island Atlas by Kimantis
  • The Wild Coast 3: A Kayaking, Hiking and Recreation Guide for BC's South Coast by Kimantis

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The BC Marine Trails New Vision: The entire B.C. coastline linked through marine routes and land sites for safe and sustainable water-based public recreation.

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