Nainaimo is a harbour town that we passed through so we don't have too much info on it. Nanaimo has a main street with cafés, restaurants, book shops, etc... There is a park that has a pleasant stroll along the harbour, with parking and public washrooms. The town is ample with a lot of average stuff around, we didn't love it but it could be because we didn't spend too much time there... I bet you it has some interesting stuff around that we did not discover.
If you are looking for hiking, climbing, sailing, biking, walking, traveling, etc books and maps you have a really good shop on Church st (intersecting main street) called “Nanaimo charts and maps”. Totally worthy to check out!
We went to the climbing gym “Romper Room”, its a decent one with fun route setting for all levels, but unfortunately the holds hadn't been cleaned in a long time making some feet and slopers glassy(we might be a little bit pussy). Anyway it deserves a look for boulders and rope climber a like (it does have a lead arch!) Best to go for the $10 at happy hour - Monday to Friday from 2 to 5 pm.
WHERE TO SLEEP?
Bearing out of town and onto hwy 4 we found a curious place called “Tranquility woods store & campground”. Its 30 min from Nanaimo on the way to Tofino. For $25/night you can enjoy a private site in the middle of the forest with picnic tables, fire pit and water tap. The “community campground” also has free showers, wifi and coin laundry. This place is for all season renting too, a lot of rv's were living there full time and some sites have brilliant houses built on them with tons of character. The location is also great for visiting Englishman River falls.
NEXT TO NANAIMO
Don't miss Englishman River Falls if you are on your way to Tofino/Ucluelet. Just beside the parking area you have the provincial camping and a nice loop that consists of an upper and a lower falls along a picturesque canyon. The loop is very easy and it will take you about 45 minutes.