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pipers-lagoon-nanaimo-guesthouseOne of the many things that brings people from far and wide to beautiful Vancouver Island are the numerous beaches that run continuously all around the island, along fjords and inlets that mark the unique geography of the region. Nanaimo is well known as a starting point for those coming to the Island for their adventures, and often the appealing attractions of this city are overlooked as people carry on to their destinations. Piper’s Lagoon is one of those often missed treasures! Located just ten minutes north of Departure Bay (the famed BC Ferries terminal), Piper’s Lagoon has been legendary amongst locals for decades both as a place of recreation and in Nanaimo lore. The lagoon itself is amazing and unique in the Nanaimo area. About 300 square yards in size, it’s one of the bigger lagoons you will find on the Island. It is cut off from the crashing surf of the Pacific by a dyke which cuts straight across from one shore to the other. Surrounding the lagoon is beach comprised of thousands of tiny rocks, including many known as “mermaid’s tears” (beach glass). The lagoon itself is used for swimming and “lazy” boating including novice kayaking, dinghies, and other small watercraft. For the explorer, the entire area has actually been made into a park (known, for clarity’s sake, as Piper’s Lagoon Park). Travelling just up from the beach, you will find a larger rockscape and spots where the driftwood has accumulated over the years. There’s a great view of Georgia Strait from a small hill up from the lagoon, and if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of the famous Nanaimo rabbits among the scrub or majestic eagles in the Garry Oak and arbutus which dot the landscape. You can also explore Shack Island, a rocky piece of land which houses a couple of older looking shacks. The island can be reached by boat, by swimming, or simply by wading out at low tide. On an Island full of remarkable features, Piper’s Lagoon truly stands out. It’s very close to one of the busiest cities on the Island and yet many of the millions of people who make port in Nanaimo have never visited it. If you are exploring Vancouver Island this year, make sure to put this spot down on your must-see list!