Newcastle Island (Saysutshun) offers the perfect Nanaimo day trip. You need a boat to get there - the little ferry dock is at Maffeo Sutton Park, on the north end of downtown.
There's a lot to explore on this island, including:
- Different marine environments including beautiful swimmable beaches and dramatic rock formations
- Scenic picnic spots
- Historic sites including stone quarries, sealed coal mines, remnants of a 1920s resort, and First Nations sites.
- Wildlife including blond raccoons, otters, eagles, and more deer than you've ever needed to see.
You can camp at the beautiful oceanside campground here. Some people reserve spots for weekends when Nanaimo will have fireworks on display at nearby Maffeo Sutton Park.
The park is quite large, especially considering it's so close to downtown Nanaimo; a walk around the circumference covers more than 7.5 kilometers. The hiking is easy.
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