For many locals, Nanaimo River is the biggest incentive to remain in the mid-Island region, instead of moving to bigger cities or traveling abroad in the summertime. We'd rather stay here, playing in Nanaimo's most refreshing playground. Most communities can only dream of having something like our deep, clean river.
One of the best ways to enjoy Nanaimo River is to swim or "tube" downstream for a long stretch, with a car parked at either end. As you close the door of the car upstream,
make sure you're wearing nothing but a swimsuit and goggles (old, ratty
shoes are optional). Note, however, that this is only recommended for people who know the river well.
**There are a lot of places along the river's length where swimmers can be surprised by hidden currents, and drowned.**
It should be noted that, despite making its way into our "Nanaimo Parks" section, the Nanaimo River is not and has not a developed or maintained park per se, with the exception of one small park (Nanaimo River Park), somewhere near Cedar – and we've heard this park is not representative of the awesomeness along the rest of the river.
Back to the list of Nanaimo parks and places
Open in Google Earth (kmz file)
The Nanaimo River has spots that are deceptive and very dangerous. There is almost one death per year at this river. Stay in the wide pools, and avoid areas with churning, frothing, and bubbling. Be extremely cautious when you are near falls and rapids, even if you are standing on dry ground. Don't drink alcohol if you will be swimming. And of course, never swim alone.