Since moving back to Vancouver Island, I’ve done my best to follow through on my promise to myself to explore a new place or try something new at least once a week. This week was no exception and when I unexpectedly ended up exploring Protection Island, just off Nanaimo, BC.
To get to Protection Island, you need to take a 5-minute passenger ferry near the corner of Front Street and Promenade Drive. Although I found the ferry cost to be somewhat expensive ($9 return), it was well worth it once I saw what awaited me on the other side.
The main mode of transportation on Protection Island is by golf cart. The dirt roads are lined with lovely rustic cabins and cottages, and the beachfront homes have absolutely beautiful views. I found the island to have a very welcoming atmosphere; the people were friendly, saying hello or waving as they passed by in their golf cart, or on their bicycle.
We arrived on the island at mid-afternoon and decided to walk around and explore a bit before finding a seat on the sunny patio at the Dinghy Dock Pub. We weaved down the dirt roads (all named with a pirate theme) and explored every beach access trail we came across.
It was hard to believe that Nanaimo was only a 5 minute boat ride away. It felt like a whole other world and was a bit reminiscent of the time I spent on the islands in Belize. There were even palm trees!
Appys at the Dinghy Dock Pub
All that exploring makes a girl thirsty, so after a couple of hours we found our way back to the Dinghy Dock Pub and found a seat on the floating patio for well-deserved cocktails and appys. The pub was decorated with a pirate theme and also had a huge projection tv, perfect for a fun hockey (or other preferred sport) night out. If you arrive by private boat, there are lots of boatslips around the pub to moor your boat while you enjoy your meal.
We ordered the Thai mussels, crab stuffed mushroom caps and a pint of prawns. Sadly, I didn’t take photos of the food. I’m a huge fan of seafood, so as soon as the food hit the table I dived right in. The appys were delicious, the drinks were refreshing, the service was good and the hot sun and the view were amazing!
Protection Island made for a perfect mix of afternoon exploration and patio time; I highly recommend it as a fun day trip adventure if you’re in the Nanaimo area. Although we didn’t stick around for sunset, I imagine this would be a perfect spot to watch it from. I look forward to returning later this summer to take one in and to explore the island further!
The ferry runs from 7am to 10pm (11pm on Thursdays and Fridays). It leaves Protection Island every hour on the hour, and leaves the Nanaimo side 10 minutes past every hour. The ramp to access the Protection Island Ferry waiting room is located on the corner of Front Street and Promenade Drive in downtown Nanaimo.
Round Trip Fares:
Adult – $9.00
Senior (age: 65+) – $8.00
Child (age: 6-12) – $6.00
Bikes – $5.00
Dogs – $2.00