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Day Trip: Exploring Protection Island

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.

Protection Island on Google Maps

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.

Boat Ride to Protection Island

Welcome to Protection Island

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. Protection Island in Nanaimo

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.

Protection Island in Nanaimo Protection Island in Nanaimo

Protection Island in NanaimoProtection Island in NanaimoProtection Island in NanaimoProtection Island in NanaimoProtection Island in Nanaimo

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!

Protection Island in Nanaimo

Protection Island in Nanaimo

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!

Dinghy DOck Pub on Protection Island Dinghy DOck Pub on Protection Island

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! 

Ferry Information:

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

Have you been to Protection Island? Share your experience in the comments below.

3 comments

  1. Hi Mariska
    Great Pictures.
    We have lived on Protection for over 12 years. There is a real community feeling due to everyone living on an island. So close to the city , but a world apart.
    I have some videos and comments about Protection Island on my web site http://rkirby.ca/protection-island.html

  2. Thank you! Decided to spend out last day in Nanaimo exploring Protection Island, thanks to this helpful review. Great photos, useful info!

  3. Hi! I lived on the island for 6 years and have been off for 3 now… thanks for such a lovely stroll down memory lane.

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