Nanaimo, Pipers Lagoon Park, Photo Picture BC

Gabriola Island

Gabriola Island is known as the “Isle of the Arts” as it is home to dozens of world-renowned and emerging artists. Beaches, waterfront parks, theatre, music and the many art galleries and studios draw visitors to experience this charming island. There are also several popular attractions here. One such is Drumbeg Provincial Park where the sandstone beach has tidal pools teeming with life, beautiful driftwood, as well as magnificent diving and snorkeling opportunities. Sandwell Provincial Park is also worth visiting, with its long sandy beach and views of the Strait of Georgia. At low tide you can walk down the beach to view a prehistoric petroglyph carved into the sandstone rocks. Also popular is the famous Malaspina Galleries. The product of thousands of years of erosion from wind and rain, the “galleries” have formed a beautiful cave-like sandstone formation measuring 90 m (295 ft) by 3.5 m (12 ft) overlooking the water, which visitors to the beach can safely walk under and explore.  Hiking, walking and cycling trails criss-cross Gabriola and you’ll see them everywhere. Make sure you pick up a trail map.

Location

Gabriola Island is about a 20-minute ferry ride from Nanaimo, Vancouver Island. It is one of the islands that collectively make up the Gulf Islands of British Columbia and is situated in the Salish Sea in the Strait of Georgia, between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland. Other access to the island is by float plane, or your own boat.

A Step Back in Time

The south end of Gabriola Island was first visited by the Coast Salish to hunt and fish during the hot summer seasons. Ancient petroglyphs can still be found carved into the sides of numerous sandstone cliffs. The remains of a former First Nations village can be seen extending over a kilometre on the shoreline, and artifacts are still routinely found. The name of the island is derived from the Spanish name ‘Punta de Gaviota’ (Cape Seagull), which was given to the island by Spanish explorers in the late 18th century. This name was later corrupted into “Gaviola” and eventually “Gabriola” by other settlers.

Contact Information

Visiting Gabriola

Gabriola Island & Nearby Accommodations

22 Listings

Whiskey Creek RV Campground
Descanso Bay Regional Park

Descanso Bay Regional Park

Gabriola Island

Camp by the sea on scenic Gabriola Island. Two oyster bays provide many delights for kayakers, picnickers, campers, hikers and swimmers. Located near the ferry, the family-oriented campground offers private, wooded sites. ... Read more
Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV

Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV

Nanaimo

Immerse yourself in 53 forested, waterfront acres year round at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Park. With over 345 ocean side, ocean view, forested sites for RVs, guests will enjoy the array of amenities, including WiFi, laundry mat, shower and bathroom facilities, games room, playground, s ... Read more
Page's Resort & Marina

Page's Resort & Marina

Gabriola Island

Situated on beautiful Gabriola Island overlooking stunning Silva Bay, Page’s Resort & Marina offers secluded seaside cottages and a fantastic campground nestled in the lush forest. Travel by land, air or sea to reach our resort and have a relaxing and memorable experience. The charming cottages fe ... Read more
Mountainaire Campground & RV Park

Mountainaire Campground & RV Park

Nanaimo

This beautiful 40 acre park caters to family fun in a relaxed, natural atmosphere. With 30 and 50 amp fully-serviced sites and plenty of green spaces as well as quiet tenting sites nestled in the trees, the Mountainaire is the perfect place from which to base your Vancouver Island vacation. You’ll ... Read more
Inn on Long Lake

Inn on Long Lake

Nanaimo

With a central location in Nanaimo, Inn on Long Lake is the perfect property as a base to explore the East Coast of Vancouver Island. With newly renovated rooms and private balconies, guests are guaranteed to enjoy a relaxing and scenic view of Long Lake. All rooms are equipped with a fridge, microw ... Read more
Jinglepot RV Park & Campgrounds

Jinglepot RV Park & Campgrounds

Nanaimo

Time amid garden rocks, flower fragrance, fountain sounds and bird's song. Serene, peaceful, full facilities, pull-thrus. Separate or group tenting area. Central and great convenient location for all of the island and Nanaimo including ferries. 15/30/50 amp, cable, city sewer, city water, cable, int ... Read more
Best Western Northgate Inn

Best Western Northgate Inn

Nanaimo

Nestled in the beautiful northern edge of Nanaimo, Best Western Northgate Inn is the ultimate destination to explore the natural surroundings of Vancouver Island. Offering modern guestrooms equipped with many amenities, guests will enjoy a relaxing and cozy stay provided by our friendly team. Having ... Read more
Brannen Lake RV Park & Campsite

Brannen Lake RV Park & Campsite

Nanaimo

40 acres of trees, grass & quiet. Minutes from major shopping. 110 acre lakefront farm adjoining campsite. Nightly hayrides. Swimming, hiking trails, boat-ramp, wharf, store, hot showers, flush toilets, laundry and playground. Full/partial hook-ups serving tents to R.V.'s towing a vehicle. Call us t ... Read more
Nanoose Creek Campground

Nanoose Creek Campground

Nanoose Bay

Conveniently located mid island, 10 mins drive to either Parksville or Nanaimo. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of a small campground with large spacious sites close to beaches, golf courses and hiking. Free hot showers, internet, free WiFi, cablevision. Groups welcome. Pull-thrus over 125’. ... Read more
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Travel Spotlight
Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989