Top 16 Things To Do In Port Alberni, Canada: The Ultimate Fishing Town - Updated 2023

Things to do in Port Alberni Canada
| 7 min read

Nestled in Vancouver’s Island’s charming Alberni Valley, lies Port Alberni, the Salmon Capital of the World and the Ultimate Fishing Town. As you can imagine, some world class salmon fishing in both saltwater and freshwater takes place here, so if you are an avid fisherman, you better put this cute town high on your list. However, for those who are not fishing enthusiasts, there is lots more to do around here, always in a very relaxing way. The surrounding area is blessed with numerous clear lakes, mountains, rainforests, and rivers ready to be explored, while the town’s boardwalk is filled with inviting restaurants and shops. If you want to know more, here’s a list of the best things to do in Port Alberni, Canada.

1. Explore the unique cultural heritage of Port Alberni at Alberni Valley Museum

Alberni Valley Museum is an impressive local museum, located in the heart of Port Alberni, showcasing the area’s past with a great collection of artifacts. For the visitors’ convenience, there is a visible storage system along with easy to use catalog books. The collection also includes great photographs and artwork. The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibits and organizes school projects and other public programs as well. It is a community museum, hence the admission by donation.

Alberni Valley Museum

Address: 4255 Wallace St, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 3Y6

Website: Alberni Valley Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 5pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

Price: Make a donation

2. Discover the Alberni Aquarium and Stewardship Centre through a virtual underwater world tour

Constructed with the purpose of showing people how aquatic life is at the local wetlands of Alberni Valley and also of raising public awareness regarding these marvelous marine creatures, the Alberni Aquarium and Stewardship Centre is a nice experience for kids and adults alike. Their mission is educational driven and as such, they do offer exciting activities for children but also video footages for adults. The exhibits are divided into ecosystems, from the freshwater salmon tank to deep ocean tanks.

Alberni Aquarium and Stewardship Centre

Address: 5440 Argyle St Unit 7, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1T7

Website: Alberni Aquarium and Stewardship Centre

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 5 USD

3. Ride the heritage Alberni Pacific Railway

Alberni Pacific June 16 and 17 2013
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Drew Jacksich used under CC BY 2.0

If you are up for a vintage train ride, then try the Alberni Pacific ‘Steam’ Railway. The train is pulled by a restored 1929 locomotive that takes you through the city of Port Alberni and the surrounding forests and reaches the McLean Mill Historic Site. The ride lasts about 35 minutes each way and it’s a pleasant trip to do with the whole family. At the McLean Park, you will have the chance to see the only commercial steam-operated sawmill in action, cutting wood as a demonstration.

Alberni Pacific Railway

Address: 3100 Kingsway, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 3B1

Website: Alberni Pacific Railway

4. Wander around the colorful collection of waterfront shops, galleries, and eateries at Harbor Quay

Aerial View of Port Alberni harbour
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kevstan used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Harbor Quay is the area where all the action takes place, boasting a number of colorful waterfront shops, dining venues, and galleries. Harbor Quay is also home to the Clock Tower which offers beautiful views of the Alberni Inlet and occasionally of a seal or a whale. Here, you will also find a children’s park and the Spirit Square Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning, and marinas with large vessels or fishing boats. You can also visit the area to enjoy some live music from a cafe or have a picnic.

Harbor Quay

Address: 5440 Argyle St, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1T6

Website: Harbor Quay

5. Soak in the tranquility of nature at Stamp River Provincial Park

Stamp River Provincial Park
Source: Photo by user David Stanley used under CC BY 2.0

This could be an incredibly fun day out with or without kids. A visit to the picturesque Stamp River and Falls of the Provincial Park will take all your worries away, and it’s only 20 minutes from Port Alberni. Among the things you can do here are camping in the outdoors, hiking within the park and along the river, or discover the delightful falls where shoals of salmon tend to circle in the pool below the falls. The park is open year-round, however, fees are collected between April 15th and October 15th.

Stamp River Provincial Park

Address: Beaver Creek Rd, Port Alberni, BC, Canada

Website: Stamp River Provincial Park

6. Go fishing at Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing

salmon fishing
Source: Pixabay

If the main reason you’re visiting Port Alberni is salmon fishing, you should absolutely try the Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing for a ‘fishing experience of a lifetime’. This fishing charter operator specializes in salmon, halibut, and steelhead fishing, while they provide world-class saltwater experiences in the Alberni Inlet, the Stamp River, and other places. Salmon species you might look for include coho, sockeye, and chinook, and you can discover them on a family trip.

Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing

Address: 5550 Cherry Creek Rd, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 7Z2

Website: Slivers Charters Salmon Sport Fishing

7. Dine with your family at Bare Bones Fish & Chips

Here’s our “just for the halibut platter” which comes with cod, salmon, halibut, prawns along with Caesar salad, coleslaw and chips! Make sure to check it out on your next visit!?

Posted by Bare Bones Fish & Chips on Sunday, 29 April 2018

This family-friendly restaurant in Port Alberni seems to be quite popular and features Canadian as well as British cuisine, with seafood being the main focus of the menu. The restaurant is actually a renovated old church which makes the premises pretty impressive. Your fish might be prepared in three different ways, panko, battered or grilled, so you get to choose. There is also an outdoor patio to sit if you prefer. So, if you crave for fish and chips, head to this restaurant.

Bare Bones Fish & Chips

Address: 4824 Johnston Rd, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 7L8

Facebook page: Bare Bones Fish & Chips

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11.30am - 8pm; Sun: 11.30am - 7.30pm

8. Explore nature at its best at MacMillan Provincial Park

There are so many parks at a close distance from Port Alberni that you will lose count. MacMillan Provincial Park is among the best ones and certainly worths a visit since it’s located just 16km (10mi) east of the city. The flora and fauna are stunning; some trees are over 800 years old, while black bears, cougars, elks, and owls are only some of the inhabitants of this woodland terrain. Perhaps the most popular attraction of the park is the Cathedral Grove, a woodland filled with large Douglas Firs, impressive enough to attract numerous tourists.

MacMillan Provincial Park

Address: 452 Alberni Hwy, Nanaimo F, BC

Website: MacMillan Provincial Park

Opening hours: 24 hrs

9. Marvel at the collection at Ahtsik Native Art Gallery

Posted by Ahtsik Native Art Gallery on Sunday, 19 May 2019

If you want to honor a high level of craftsmanship and support talented local artists, don’t forget to pay a visit to Ahtsik Native Art Gallery. Here, hand-crafted work, including jewelry, woodcarvings, and paintings among others, are well preserved and showcased. Visitors can simply admire the beautiful art collection of the gallery, or visit the gift shop to purchase original paintings, masks and other unique items. Artists are inspired by the artwork of first nations, like Nuxalk, Coast Salish, and Nuu-chah-nulth.

Ahtsik Native Art Gallery

Address: 7133 Pacific Rim Hwy, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 8Y4

Website: Ahtsik Native Art Gallery

Opening hours: Sun - Mon & Wed - Fri: 10.30am - 5pm; Tue: 10.30am - 5pm (Sat by appointment)

10. Discover the area's maritime history at Port Alberni Maritime Discovery Centre

Posted by Maritime Discovery Centre on Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Located on the waterfront, right next to the city’s harbor, the Maritime Discovery Centre is a lovely maritime museum with the shape of an actual coastal lighthouse. All the precious maritime heritage of Vancouver’s west coast, Alberni Inlet, Alberni Valley, and Barkley Sound is featured here through multiple interesting exhibits. The museum also hosts temporary events and exhibits with a dual purpose to educate and entertain its visitors.

Port Alberni Maritime Discovery Centre

Address: 2900 Harbour Rd, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 7X2

Website: Port Alberni Maritime Discovery Centre

Opening hours: Mon: 9.30am - 1.30pm; Tue: 12.30pm - 3.30pm; Thu & Sun: 9.30am - 12.30pm (closed on Wed, Fri & Sat)

11. Explore the stunning natural beauty of Alberni Valley on an ATV

Alberni Inlet (9383129855)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Scott Darbey used under CC BY 2.0

Alberni Valley is a relatively large area on Vancouver Island that includes Port Alberni, Sproat Lake, and other places as well. The number of lakes, rivers, and creeks that are actually part of Alberni Valley will impress you, so imagine exploring all this beauty in a fun and exciting way, an ATV. First nations’ cultures have also played an important role in shaping Alberni Valley, like Hupacasath and Tseshaht.

Alberni Valley

Address: Vancouver Island, British Columbia

12. Catch a show at the Capitol Theatre

Welcome to Port Alberni, home of the welcoming and inclusive Capitol Theatre. This is a space that welcomes creative folks in whatever that looks like.

Posted by The Capitol Theatre - Port Alberni on Monday, 17 July 2017

Perhaps you are into drama or you would like to check out the local theatre scene of Port Alberni since you are around. Then the Capitol Theatre will just do. It is a live theatre venue whose owner is an award-winning non-profit society called Portal Players Dramatic Society. The property also boasts a vintage movie theatre that offers an old-fashioned movie experience, while they also organize weekly theatre-related classes for children and youth.

Capitol Theatre

Address: 4904 Argyle St, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1V7

Website: Capitol Theatre

13. Explore a plethora of outdoor activities at China Creek Campground & Marina

Well, well, about that?! We have a positive turn for this long weekend's weather forecast:...

Posted by China Creek Campground on Thursday, 2 August 2018

Fan of the outdoors? China Creek Campground and Marina is the ideal spot to relax and unwind but at the same time to keep your body in shape. This is a much-loved place among fishing lovers but the pretty full facility campground attracts also other travelers. So, except world-class fishing; other facilities here include camping either beachfront located or among the forests, hiking trails, scuba-diving (to explore a quite amazing underwater world), a children’s playground, and a full-service marina operating from April 1st to September 30th.

China Creek Campground & Marina

Address: 2011 Franklin River Rd, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1V2

Website: China Creek

14. Unwind yourself at the Canal Beach

Sailing Camp. Week of Julu11-15th. Ages 6-11yrs old Register through parks and rec (250)-723-2181

Posted by Canal beach, Port Alberni on Thursday, 16 June 2016

Yes, that’s right, this is another waterfront park that attracts outdoor enthusiasts and it’s tucked away at the south end of Port Alberni. Among the activities offered here, are kayaking, windsurfing, kiteboarding and paddleboarding, although walking along the beach and playing frisbee or volleyball also counts as activities that pleasantly fill your day. The beautiful grounds make it a suitable spot for picnics since there are fire pits, tables, and a gazebo to help you organize a fun day out.

Canal Beach

Address: 2120 Plywood Dr, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1A5

Website: Canal Beach

Opening hours: 24 hrs

15. Soak in the nightlife vibes at Westwind Pub

Give yourself a little break and have some night time fun at the well-known Westwind Pub. This place is open from the morning until late night and also serves delicious food, including burgers and ribs, along with great drinks. A new family-friendly side welcomes young visitors before 8 pm, while, surprisingly enough, there is an outdoor volleyball court and pool tables for those restless souls. You may also want to relax at the heated outdoor dining patio and enjoy some cool live music on a Friday night.

Westwind Pub

Address: 4940 Cherry Creek Rd, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 8E9

Website: Westwind Pub

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11am - 11pm; Fri & Sat: 11am - 1am

16. Witness a contemporary game of hockey at Weyerhaeuser Arena

Weyerhaeuser Arena is a multifunctional space that has the capacity to host from hockey games to concerts and other events. Port Alberni and consequently Weyerhaeuser Arena is home to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, a Junior ‘A’ hockey team that seems to attract pretty avid hockey fans who shake the arena every time the Bulldogs score. Recreational skating, figure skating, and recreational hockey are also available throughout the year.

Weyerhaeuser Arena

Address: 3737 Roger Street, BC, Port Alberni , BC V9Y 8E3, Canada

Website: Weyerhaeuser Arena

Salmon fishing at its best

Frances Barkley at the port of Port Alberni
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Redonebird used under CC BY 4.0

Port Alberni is one of the few places where you can see salmon swimming and whirl around pools, and for some, this is a unique experience. Relaxing holidays is what you get once you visit this place, so don’t hesitate to book your next trip to this lovely little town!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Curious to see the world and eager to learn, I grew up trying to find ways to escape my comfort zone. Starting from my home country, Greece, I went on to explore many European countries. Then, I...Read more

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