Searching for a waterfront home on mid-Vancouver Island? Here's what you need to know!

Carly Carey Marketing
| Marketing Director
Updated on

Are you looking for waterfront properties on mid-Vancouver Island?  As a Vancouver Island real estate agent one of the most common questions I get is,

"Where can I find the best waterfront properties on Vancouver Island?” 

People mean different things when they ask to see waterfront homes, so I’m going to share the different types of waterfront properties we have on Vancouver Island (in particular mid-Vancouver Island) and where you can find them!

What kinds of waterfront properties are there on mid-Vancouver Island?

When it comes to waterfront on the island your choices are oceanfront, lakefront, and riverfront. What I love about central Vancouver Island is all the different options when it comes to ocean front, lakefront and riverfront homes on the island. Walk on waterfront is premium real estate on Vancouver Island, however you can’t get it just anywhere, there are a few select neighbourhoods in Nanaimo that have walk on waterfront. 

Oceanfront - Walk on and high bank

Living on the ocean is the dream of many of the clients I work with here on Vancouver Island. And we have a lot of incredible choices in oceanfront communities across Vancouver Island! 

Obviously, being an island we have a lot of oceanfront properties all around the island. But all oceanfront properties are not the same. When considering whether an area of oceanfront homes appeals to you need to consider exposure, whether you want walk-on waterfront or high bank waterfront. 

What is walk on waterfront?

Walk on waterfront is when you can easily access the beach without navigating too many steep steps or terrain. Basically there is very little between you and access to the ocean. This is what we mean by “living right on the beach.”

Where can I find homes with Walk on waterfront on Vancouver Island?

In Nanaimo there are only a few neighbourhoods that have walk-on waterfront. They are Pipers Lagoon, Departure Bay and Lantzville. Outside of Nanaimo, there are a lot more options for walk-on waterfront, such as Chemainus, Saltair, Ladysmith, Nanoose, Parksville and Qualicum.

If what you desire is to open your door in the morning to your backyard and make your way to the beach without having to navigate steps or steep terrain then you’re most likely going to want to explore Lower Lantzville, Parksville, Nanoose Bay, Qualicum and Chemainus. 

What is high bank waterfront?

High bank waterfront are properties with no other homes in between you and the water. They are perched high up on a cliff or hill and allow for amazing views of the ocean. Access to the waterfront can sometimes be direct from your property via stairs, steps and I’ve even seen a trolley system that can carry you up and down.

High bank waterfront is an amazing way to own a waterfront home while maximizing your ocean view. Imagine you are in your backyard and you have an expansive view of the gulf islands, the sunshine coast and the coastal mountains of Vancouver island. Often when I’m doing showings on these types of properties we even see a pod of Orcas! This is an absolutely magnificent way of taking in the beauty of Vancouver Island while perched form your lawn with your cup of coffee while enjoying all that the scenery has to offer.

Where can I find homes with high bank waterfront on Vancouver Island?

High bank waterfront is found in North Nanaimo, Hammond Bay, Departure Bay. You can also find high bank waterfront in most communities in the mid-Vancouver Island such as Nanoose Bay. 


The Nanaimo River is a beautiful river that spans 78 kilometers in the Greater Nanaimo area. You can find riverfront in Nanaimo on Nanaimo Lakes road and in Cedar and Extension. This style of waterfront is often more secluded, close to nature and a very peaceful lifestyle. The swimming in the summer is fun and challenging with the currents and you can even go fishing for trout!


There are so many options to choose from if you desire to live on the lake. In Nanaimo we have a few lakes to choose from, Brennan Lake and Long Lake are the 2 main lakes that offer lakefront homes. Both lakes allow motor boats and jet skies and are great for swimming.

Lake Cowichan 

Lake Cowichan is a very large lake. It has a surface area of 62 km2 (6,204 ha), is 31 km in length, with a perimeter of about 110 km. Its average depth is 50 m and its maximum depth is 152 m. There are several communities surrounding Lake Cowichan, including the town of Lake Cowichan, Youbou and Honeymoon Bay. There are many types of home to choose from on Lake Cowichan, everything from an off grid cabin to an executive home. You can have motor boats and jet skis on the lake, you will see houseboats in the summer and there’s even a marina with a gas station!

Want to find a waterfront home on mid-Vancouver Island? Let’s talk!

I’m Carly Carey, I’m a mid-island waterfront real estate agent and an almost lifelong resident here on Vancouver Island. I love helping people determine what is the best waterfront home and community for them. If you would like help finding a waterfront home on mid-Vancouver Island please reach out.


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