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Car Rental in Nanaimo

Discovering Nanaimo and Surrounding Areas by Car

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Located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is a vibrant urban centre found between the foot of Mount Benson and Nanaimo Harbour. Known as the 'Harbour City', Nanaimo offers a rich history that's beautifully preserved and presented. With fantastic museums, landmark architecture and stunning natural parks, there will be no shortage of memorable experiences.

Before starting your journey, you might want to check out the Nanaimo Museum to learn more about this fascinating city. The museum showcases the city's indigenous heritage and its interesting coal mining history. After the museum, treat yourself to a beautiful harbourfront walk and enjoy the stunning view of the Newcastle Island, which can be easily accessed by a ferry from Maffeo Sutton Park, an amazing seaside park where locals love to hang out.

For a relaxing day trip by car, consider driving south to the Englishman River Falls Provincial Park. The park is located just an hour away from Nanaimo and is famed for its breathtaking waterfalls and picturesque walking trails. Alternatively, a 90-minute drive north will take you to the charming town of Comox, with its delightful restaurants, beautiful marina and accessible hiking trails. A visit to the Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara should wrap up your day perfectly. It's the largest resort spa in Canada, with outdoor pools and mineral baths that will leave you relaxed and rejuvenated.

Car Rental in Nanaimo

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the cost to rent a car in Nanaimo?

The cost of renting a car in Nanaimo depends upon factors such as the duration of rental, type of the vehicle, and the rental company chosen. Comparing different providers can help you get the best deal.

2. Which car model is frequently rented in Nanaimo?

Small economy cars and Compact SUVs tend to be the most popular choices among renters due to Nanaimo's city infrastructure. However, larger vehicles like SUVs and minivans are also popular, especially for those planning outdoor trips in the region.

3. What are the popular car rental locations in Nanaimo?

Some of the most popular locations to rent a car in Nanaimo include the downtown area, the ferry terminal, and Nanaimo Airport.

4. Is a 24-hour car pickup and return service available in Nanaimo?

Yes, many car rental companies in Nanaimo offer 24-hour car pickup and return services.

5. What is the minimum rental period?

The minimum rental period usually depends on the rental company's policy. Generally, it's one day, but it can vary.

6. What is the minimum age requirement to rent a car in Nanaimo?

Generally, the minimum age to rent a car in Nanaimo is 21 years. However, drivers under the age of 25 may have to pay a young driver surcharge.

7. What documentation is required for car rental in Nanaimo?

You will need a valid driver's license, credit card, and proof of insurance. Foreign renters may also need an International Driving Permit.

8. What is the best time of year to drive around Nanaimo?

The best time to visit Nanaimo by car is generally during the summer months. The weather is usually pleasant for outdoor activities and the roads are free of snow and ice.

9. What are the main airports in Nanaimo?

Nanaimo has one primary commercial airport, Nanaimo Airport (YCD). Newcastle Island Aerodrome is also nearby, serving floatplanes.

10. Can I pick up the car in Nanaimo and drop it off in another city?

Most car rental companies offer one-way rentals, allowing you to return the car at a different location, but additional fees may apply.

Customer Experiences


Nanaimo – 22-11-2023. I recently rented a car from this company and I couldn't be happier with the service. They provided a clean, tidy vehicle at a reasonable price. Plus, the beautiful waterside location of Nanaimo made for a scenic drive.


Nanaimo – 15-09-2023. My wife and I used this company for our trip to Nanaimo. Not only the car was in great condition, the staff were friendly and helpful. The whole process from rental to return was easy and efficient. We were also pleased with the competitive pricing.


Nanaimo – 30-07-2023. It was my first time renting a car, but these folks made the process so smooth. While the price was fair, the exceptional customer service made the experience worth every dollar. I’d recommend them to anyone visiting Nanaimo.


Nanaimo – 19-06-2023. Impressive attention to detail, reliable cars and friendly service. The pricing was pretty decent, and the car served me well on my trip around Nanaimo. Solid choice for car rental.


Nanaimo – 02-04-2023. Definitely enjoyed my experience with this company. The car was clean, smooth, and well-maintained. The cost was also reasonable. Will certainly be using them on my next visit to Nanaimo.


Nanaimo – 27-02-2023. The car I rented from them was perfect! Good gas mileage, easy to drive, and clean. The staff were helpful and the price was right. Enjoyed driving around Nanaimo with it.

Road Connections from Nanaimo

Exploring Vancouver Island by Car

  1. Nanaimo to Victoria: A 113 km journey along BC-1 S which usually takes about 1h 36m. Roads are well maintained with beautiful scenery.
  2. Nanaimo to Parksville: A short 37 km drive on BC-19 N which typically takes around 30m. Roads are excellent, providing a smooth ride.
  3. Nanaimo to Tofino: At 207 km distance, it's a beautiful 3h drive via BC-4 W. Be mindful of the curvy scenic roads.
  4. Nanaimo to Ucluelet: A 207 km journey via BC-4 W, normally taking about 3h. Be aware of wildlife on this picturesque route.
  5. Nanaimo to Courtenay: Approximately 110 km drive via BC-19 N taking roughly about 1h 15m. Roads are in good condition.
  6. Nanaimo to Port Alberni: It's a 77 km journey through BC-4 W usually taking 1h 14m. Enjoy great views and excellent road conditions.
  7. Nanaimo to Campbell River: Located 155 km away via BC-19 N, expected drive time is about 1h 53m. Roads are in excellent condition with several points of interest along the way.

Nanaimo Driving Info

Answering Your Queries

1. Which side of the road should I drive on in Nanaimo?

In Nanaimo, as in the rest of Canada, drivers are obligated to drive on the right-hand side of the road.

2. What is the general speed limit in Nanaimo?

Unless otherwise indicated, the speed limit in urban areas is typically 50 km/h and 80 km/h in rural areas. However, limits can vary, so always look for posted speed signs.

3. Do I need a specific driving license to drive in Nanaimo?

If you're visiting from another country, you're allowed to drive in Nanaimo with your valid foreign license for up to six months. In some cases, an International Driving Permit is also recommended.

4. Are there many radar speed traps in Nanaimo?

Radar speed traps are used throughout Canada, including in Nanaimo. It's advised to stick to the speed limit to avoid any fines.

5. How is the traffic in Nanaimo?

Traffic within the city is generally light to moderate but can be heavier during peak hours. Extra time should be factored in for potential delays during these times.

6. Are there lots of toll roads in and around Nanaimo?

There are a few toll bridges and tunnels in British Columbia, but as of now not specifically in Nanaimo.

7. What are the basic road safety rules in Nanaimo?

Standard rules apply: obey traffic signals and signs, drive on the right, give way to pedestrians, and do not exceed the speed limit.

8. Is it challenging to find parking in Nanaimo?

Parking in Nanaimo is generally adequate with a mix of metered street parking and car parks available.

9. What should I do in the event of a car accident in Nanaimo?

If involved in an accident, you should immediately stop your car, ensure everyone is safe, call the local authorities, and report the accident to your car rental company as soon as possible.

10. What basic driving etiquette should I follow in Nanaimo?

Drivers should always be courteous, avoid blocking intersections, allow others to merge, signal before turning or changing lanes, and respect the rights of pedestrians and cyclists.

11. Are there seasonal driving concerns in Nanaimo?

During winter months, icy and snowy conditions can be a concern. It's advised to have a winterized car and be familiar with driving in such conditions.

12. Is there anything particular about driving in Nanaimo that I should be aware of?

Like any city, Nanaimo has its own traffic flow and intricacies. It is advised to learn and understand local traffic signs and road markings, and always stay alert while driving.

13. How can I avoid breaking the law while driving in Nanaimo?

Stay informed about local laws and regulations, obey traffic rules, stay within speed limits, do not drive under influence of alcohol or drugs, and always carry your driving license and rental paperwork.

14. How are the road conditions in Nanaimo?

Road conditions in Nanaimo are generally good, but it is always wise to check local resources for updates, especially during harsh weather.

15. Are there any specific rules for driving in rural areas around Nanaimo?

For rural driving in British Columbia, carry a map, stay on main roads when possible, watch for wildlife, and be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions.

Nanaimo Attractions

Top 8 must-visit places

  1. Harbourfront Walkway: This scenic waterfront path provides stunning views and numerous photo opportunities.
  2. Newcastle Island: A great day trip spot for hiking, kayaking, camping and wildlife spotting.
  3. Nanaimo Museum: Explores the rich 150-year history of Vancouver Island’s third oldest community.
  4. Petroglyph Provincial Park: Home to ancient rock carvings, this park offers a peek into First Nations' history.
  5. Cathedral Grove: Visit this old-growth forest for a quick walk among some of the tallest trees in Canada.
  6. Englishman River Falls Provincial Park: This park boasts two stunning waterfalls cascading into a deep canyon.
  7. WildPlay Element Parks Nanaimo: A thrilling adventure park with zip lines and high ropes.
  8. The Bastion: This octagonal shaped fort is one of the last freely accessible Hudson's Bay Company Bastions.

Top Roadtrips from Nanaimo

Explore British Columbia in Style

  1. Nanaimo to Tofino: This 207 km coastal drive takes you through ancient rainforests and stunning beaches. Experience surfing, whale watching, or just beach walking.
  2. Nanaimo to Victoria: A 113 km journey through the stunning southern coastline of Vancouver Island, with pit stops at quaint towns and beautiful parks.
  3. Nanaimo to Campbell River: This 155 km drive North through the scenic Oceanside Route is a haven for nature lovers, offering hiking, fishing, and wildlife spotting.
  4. Nanaimo to Port Alberni: This 77km drive west gives you a mix of coastal and mountain views, perfect for outdoor activities from hiking to fishing at Sproat Lake.
  5. Circle Route: A 255 km loop from Nanaimo through Duncan, Lake Cowichan & Port Renfrew offers lush forest landscapes, wineries, and beautiful coastal lines.
  6. Nanaimo to Comox Valley: This 134 km drive takes you to the heart of the island, boasting amazing glacier & mountain views, charming towns, and countless outdoor activities.
  7. Pacific Rim Highway: Starting from Nanaimo, this 196 km route to Tofino provides the extraordinary chance to traverse the island in full, from the mountainous interior to the rugged coastline.


Travel smooth and worry-free in Nanaimo with our top-rated car rental service. Our customer satisfaction is our ultimate goal, we provide 24/7 support for any help you need during your journey. Explore the region's unique beauty, engage with its rich history, or sail to nearby Gabriola Island with ease and comfort. Trust us for dedicated assistance anytime, anywhere.