Grab a seat among the arbutus trees and admire the view at Pipers Lagoon. Photo by Leah Laberge

Valentine’s Day dates usually involve a lot of sitting and inactivity. Instead of Netflix, why not get outside and talk to your partner this year. Spending time outside with your loved ones can be invigorating—regardless of the weather. Here are a few ideas to break up the monotony of Valentine’s Day activities.

Pipers Lagoon and Neck Point

These two go hand in hand. Pipers is accessible, and the oceanic views are pretty hard to beat, with the long stalks of grass swaying in the wind.  Anyone up for a nice stroll can’t possibly object. Bring your dog, make a driftwood shack, and have a picnic on the beach, then head over to Neck Point and relive your childhood by climbing the rock cliffs (being careful, of course). Bundle up, get cozy, and watch the waves hit the shores of Shack Island. The surrounding forest and the rock face makes for a perfect secluded kissing spot.

Witchcraft Lake

For those willing to go all out, seeing Nanaimo from the top of Mount Benson is truly breathtaking. Photo by Leah Laberge

En route to Mount Benson, Witchcraft Lake is more of a swamp than its name suggests, though don’t let appearances fool you. With a nice boardwalk spanning from shore to shore, Witchcraft Lake has an easy 20 minute hike that’s a perfect, not-too-taxing adventure. Sit on a peak looking over the whole city and admire the view with your date—you’ll thank me later.


What would this list be if it didn’t involve a classic walk downtown? Make an adventure out of it—grab a falafel wrap at the Thirsty Camel, or a gooey bun from Cinnamon Joe’s Cafe window, and go out on the town. Window shop as you walk by Commercial  St. storefronts, and people watch as you make your way to the waterfront promenade. The downtown core is filled with little gems. Buy some coffee and stroll the harbour, warming up as you watch the seaplanes take off and admire the wares of local artists. For the evening, see if the Port Theatre has some tickets available, or go to the Vault for a beer and enjoy the live music venues.

Regardless of what your Valentine’s Day plans are, whether this year has you single and ready to mingle, in a committed relationship, or anything in-between, bundle up, suit up, go out, be active, and have some fun.

There are plenty of places to go for a drink in downtown Nanaimo—if drinking isn’t your thing, just look at the architecture. Photo by Leah Laberge

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