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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > The Islands  > Gabriola Island

Gabriola Island
Gabriola Island is located east of Nanaimo by 3.7 nautical miles across Northumberland Channel north of Valdes Island and De Courcy Island and north-east of Mudge Island.

Larger Gulf Island
Gabriola Island with 53 square kilometres (21 square miles) in area is one of the larger islands off the Nanaimo coastal area. The island was first inhabited by the Snuneymuxw First Nations, then discovered by the Spanish explorers in 1791-1792 with Europeans settling in the late 1800's. Today, the island has a population of around 4,500 year-round inhabitants (2008).

BC Ferries Scheduled Sailings
To get to Gabriola Island, you have to take a BC Ferries scheduled sailing from Nanaimo Harbour to Descanso Bay Ferry Terminal. The one-way sailing time usually takes around 20 minutes and, except for Sundays, starts every day at 06:15 am ending at 10:55 pm from the Nanaimo Terminal.

The 'Village'
The main centre for Gabriola Island is at the 'Village' around a 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal at Descanso Bay on North Road. The 'Village' has a number of services, conveniences, including a food market, liquor store, and the only gas station on the island and the nearby farmers' market.

Gabriola Museum
For attractions on Gabriola Island, try visiting the Gabriola Museum. The museum features a number of displays and exhibits concerning the island's inhabitants before the First Nations and after, with the arrival of Europeans and the maritime history and the local quarry mining and logging heritage found throughout Gabriola Island.

Provincial Parks
Gabriola Island is also home to three provincial parks - Drumbeg, Gabriola Sands and Sandwell. Drumbeg is on the southern tip of the island and has a protected Garry Oak ecosystems, conglomerate rock formations and lots of bald eagles; Gabriola Sands features twin sandy beaches along sandy cliffs and Sandwell has walking trails, a long, sandy beach and has some petroglyphs on the rocky sandstone at low tide.

Descanso Bay Regional Park
For more outdoor recreation along the waterfront, go to Descanso Bay Regional Park situated near the ferry terminal. Here you can find an all-year-open, kayak/canoe small boat launch and walking trails throughout the beautiful old-growth forest. Descanso Bay Regional Park also has RV Camping where there are 32 private campsites surrounded by a forest.

Gabriola Land and Trails Trust
The Gabriola Land and Trails Trust has built and maintained a number of unique trails along the beautiful waterfront and the local parks of Gabriola. Many trails exhibit unique geological formations along the natural sandstone rock formations. The Gabriola Land and Trails Trust has produced a great map to follow the island's pointing out and preserving important ecological eco-systems.

Snuneymuxw First Nations
Gabriola Island is also the traditional land of the Snuneymuxw First Nations. There are various archeological sites along the coastline where you can find ancient petroglyphs artwork drawings of the Snuneymuxw carved into the sandstone shelves.

Silva Bay Resort and Marina
The main marina and resort on Gabriola Island is found at Silva Bay which is located on the south-west side. Here you can find The Silva Bay Resort and Marina and Pages Resort and Marina. The bay features a well-protected moorage, easily accessible to Georgia Strait and the San Juan Islands and has various slips to tie up your marine craft.

Fishing Charters and Kayaks
On Gabriola Island, there is Silver Blue Charters if you need a fishing guide. There is also Jim's Kayaking for direction, kayak trips or a guided tour throughout the Gulf Islands.

Restaurants on Gabriola Island
For restaurants, cafés or food on Gabriola Island, there is the Silva Bay Resort that features an excellent menu especially the fish and chips. There is also Raspberry's Jazz Café on North Road, Suzy's Restaurant across from 'The Village' plus the Surf Pub and the Driftwood Restaurant featured at the Surf Lodge.

Bed and Breakfast
There are a number of Bed & Breakfast establishments on Gabriola Island if you would prefer not to camp or the campground at Descanso Bay Regional Park if it's full.

Information on Gabriola Island

 

 

Gabriola Island - Not For Navigation
click map for larger image

 

Descanso Bay Ferry Terminal
Descanso Bay Ferry Terminal

 

False Narrows between Mudge Island
South Road Community Park

 

Gabriola Museum
Gabriola Museum

 

Drumbeg Provincial Park
Drumbeg Provincial Park

 

Descanso Bay Regional Park
Sandstone Rock Formations

 

Gabriola Sands Provincial Park
Gabriola Sands Provincial Park

 

Silva Bay
Silva Bay

 

Pages Marina
Pages Marina

 

Fish and Chips at Silva Bay
Fish and Chips at Silva Bay

 

Gabriola Golf Course
Gabriola Golf Course

 
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