Hiking, Vancouver Island

Day 26: Protection Island

Distance Walked: 7.01 km
Walking Time: 1 hr, 42 min
Trail Rating: Easy


Protection Island is located in the harbour of Nanaimo, BC. It is home to 350 full-time residents. Locals commonly travel across the island by golf cart, while some transfer their groceries, recycling and garbage from the community dock by wheelbarrow.

Many islanders access the area by private boat, kayak or rowboat. A small, public ferry takes passengers to and from Nanaimo-Protection Island ($10 return ticket).

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Protection Island is part of the City of Nanaimo and is serviced by municipal water, sewer, hydro, Shaw and Telus. It offers residents and visitors a community dock, boat ramp, library, museum, public garden, community hall and fire station. The Dinghy Dock Pub is Canada’s only floating bar-restaurant.

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This distinct island is made even more unique by its quirky pirate signs and street names. At low tide, it’s a short walk from Billy Bones Bay to the east shore of Saysutshun (Newcastle Island).

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There are currently no paved roads on Protection Island. A short 4 km trail will take you around most of the shoreline. The individual streets are well worth looping through. Most residents have gone out of their way to delight you with a sense of humour and provide a bit of local history. Since there are no commercial stores, and garbage and recycling can be a hassle, some locals simply leave unwanted items outside of their homes. The intention is, if you need something, help yourself.

Our Experience:

After yesterday’s long day (both in hours and in kilometres), we were looking for a hike that was quick, easy, novel and ended in refreshments. Protection Island checked all four boxes and more. It’s a captivating spot to spend a sunny afternoon. Stopping at Dinghy Dock’s is a definite must!

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24 thoughts on “Day 26: Protection Island”

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Ingrid. We have been trying to include a diverse range of trails so that there would be something for everyone. Well…except for daredevils and mountain-climbers, but they likely wouldn’t listen to my advice anyway! I hope that you are well. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Donna, Protection Island is such a pretty place with similar characteristics to Toronto’s Ward’s Island. Glad Corona Extra is a beer 🙂


    1. Thanks, Laurie. I think that most of them are recycling geniuses. At one of our local grocery shops, a cashier mentioned that residents from Protection Island (and some other surrounding small islands) regularly strip away any unnecessary product-packaging right at the checkout counter and leave it behind for the staff to deal with.
      BTW – I do likes the sounds of you visiting!


      1. They would have to be recycling geniuses! I am so fascinated by Protection Island and its community. Do have any blogging friends who live there? If so, I will check out the blogs.


  2. Wonderful to see – it’s an area I wanted to visit … but just never made it. A simple walk – yet one full of fun – love the locals interaction with any visitors … must be idyllic … and glad it was easier for you – take care – Hilary


    1. Hi, Hilary – I have been trying to give you numerous reasons to come back to the Island! Richard and I have been to Protection Island previously, but we have never before done such an extensive exporation. The island has many more homes (360) and many more full-time residents (350) than we would have guessed.


    1. Thanks, Susan – As we are head into the final stretch, we’ve decided to take it easy on ourselves. The amazing thing is that there has not been one walk that we didn’t enjoy or that we wished we had skipped (atleast not yet)! Thank you for staying tuned. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been there, and everything you say about Protection Island is absolutely true, Donna! It’s a fun day trip, and who could pass up Refreshments at the Dingy Dock Pub? I hadn’t realized one could walk across to Newcastle Island at low tide, until I read your 30 Hikes series.



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