Accommodations and Camping
- Best of Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Island: High Tea to Low Tide
- Vancouver’s Totem Poles
- Vancouver’s Best Hiking
- Family Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
- Focus on Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Weekend Getaway
- Victoria Weekend Getaway
- A Tour Through Time
- Inside Passage Cruises
- Outdoor Adventures
- Winter Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
A few of Nanaimo’s older motels offer rooms under $50 outside of summer, but only Nicol Street Hostel (65 Nicol St., 250/753-1188, www.nanaimohostel.com, dorms $22) falls into this price range year-round. In a converted house, this accommodation enjoys a convenient location three blocks from the train station and seven blocks from the bus depot. The hostel operates year-round, providing dormitory-style accommodations as well as campsites, a kitchen, laundry, TV room, and bicycle rentals. Guests can get discounts at many local restaurants and attractions.
On an island of overpriced accommodations, the two-story Buccaneer Inn (1577 Stewart Ave., 250/753-1246 or 877/282-6337, www.thebuccaneerinn.com, $80–200 s or d) stands out as being excellent value. Bedecked by a nautical-themed mural and colorful baskets of flowers, the motel is surrounded by well-maintained grounds, a sundeck, picnic tables, and a barbecue facility. The rooms themselves are spacious and brightly decorated, and each has a desk, coffee-making facilities, a small fridge, and Internet connections. Friendly owner/operators provide a wealth of information on the local area (as does the motel website).
A few blocks toward downtown from the Buccaneer is the Waterfront Lodge & Marina (1000 Stewart St., 250/753-7111 or 800/663-2116, www.waterfrontnanaimo.com, from $110 s, $120 d), a four-story waterfront motel facing Newcastle Island that saw a major revamp in early 2010. The rooms are extra large, and each has a kitchen and private balcony.
A bit nicer than you’d expect from the bland exterior, the Best Western Dorchester Hotel (70 Church St., 250/754-6835 or 800/661-2449, www.dorchesternanaimo.com, $130–170 s or d) offers water views and a rooftop terrace from a very central location. Rooms in this historic building won’t win any design awards, but are relatively modern and many have water views.
The closest of the commercial campgrounds to downtown is Westwood Lake RV Camping and Cabins (380 Westwood Rd., www.westwoodlakecampgrounds.com, 250/753-3922, Unserviced sites are $21, hookups $26–31, cabins $80 s or d, or $90 with linen). Set on the edge of beautiful Westwood Lake, amenities include canoe rentals, a barbecue area, game room, laundry, and hot showers.
Living Forest Oceanside Campground (6 Maki Rd., 250/755-1755, www.campingbc.com, tents $26, hookups $28–39) is set on 20 hectares (49 acres) of coastal forest at the braided mouth of the Nanaimo River south of downtown. The location is delightful and facilities modern, including a laundry, wireless Internet, general store, game room, and coin showers.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition