One of the Nanaimo area's hidden gems is the Cottonwood Golf Course, 1975 Haslam Road, at Cassidy on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. This 18-hole course runs right along the east side of the runway at Nanaimo Airport, which can be a blast, and you'll enjoy some pleasing mountain views from the course.

The Cottonwood dress code specifically prohibits "cut-offs", "tank tops", and "sweat pants" — seriously. Hats are optional. Green fees are around $28 for nine holes or $25 to $50 for 18 holes depending on the time of day (mornings until 2 pm are the most expensive).

Don't miss the Cotton Club Restaurant (daily 11 am to 7 pm) at the club house. Prices are reasonable and the views are excellent from its outdoor terrace. Even if golf isn't your thing, the Cotton Club is a perfect place to come for lunch after checking in at the nearby airport terminal. (It's too far to walk — you'll need a car.) If you check in a couple of hours early you'll have ample time for a leisurely lunch before heading back to the airport just in time for your flight. What better way to impress out-of-town guests you're seeing off?

To get to the Cottonwood Golf Course, turn east off the Trans-Canada Highway on Haslam Road, the first road north of the airport. Southbound if you reach the airport access road you've gone too far and will have to turn around; Northbound turn right on the very first road after the airport. For more information call 1-250-245-5157.

Cottonwood Golf Course
Terrace at the Cottonwood Golf Course
Cottonwood Golf Course
        Cottonwood Golf Course