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shack-island-nanaimoIf you are looking for a touch of the good old days while visiting Nanaimo, BC then consider a visit to the quaint Shack Island. Located in Piper Lagoon, this wonderful little island is a great kayaking destination and offers fabulous hiking opportunities. To get to Piper Lagoon, follow Hwy 19A north, heading up island. Turn right on Departure Bay Rd and then take another right on Hammond Bay Road. Turn onto Lagoon Drive and you will find a parking lot at the end of the road. Keep in mind that the gates close at 11pm. If it is low tide you can actually walk over to the island, but circling it by kayak is a much better way to see the island and its inhabitants. Since the park protects the island from the ocean you will find that the water is relatively calm and getting around is easy. This fun island was considered home to a handful of fishermen back in the 1930s, who found that it was much easier to get to the fishing grounds from Shack Island than trying to get there from Departure Bay. Their 'shacks' are still very much on the island, and are actually still inhabited in the summer months by descendants of the original settlers. On the west side of the island you will find some small beaches that make good landing points. Step out and explore on foot, or continue around the island for some more sightseeing. On the north east side you will find good viewing opportunities for seals and sea lions around the reefs at Neck Point. The front desk staff at the Painted Turtle Guesthouse often recommend a trip to Pipers Lagoon and Shack Island to its guests, and it is a spectacular place to visit year round! Regardless of whether you are an avid kayaker or just a beginner the areas around Shack Island and Piper Lagoon offer great wildlife viewing and relatively calm seas. With its close proximity to Nanaimo, this location is a fabulous idea for a day trip out of the city.