My husband and I and our children have spent holidays here over the past 40 years. I can't believe I am living here being such a city person, BUT I LOVE IT!..and so much so that we moved here 2 years ago and bought beautiful Randle House by the Sea in the heart of Departure Bay. 3 steps to the beach and into the ocean! Very grateful!
If Victoria is the gateway to Vancouver Island for Americans, Nanaimo is the gateway for Canadians - for everyone else? Just depends on your route of choice. Nanaimo offers access to old growth forests, unique nightlife, waterfront adventures and... well, you could always drive to Victoria...
Next to Victoria, this is the next biggest town on the island. There isn't a whole lot to see or do here, but like most small towns there are a few cute coffee shops and stores to look around at.
This functional gateway city is many visitors to Vancouver Island's first port of call.