Visit Gabriola Island

Gabriola Island | Tourism Nanaimo

A day trip to Gabriola Island – One Day Itinerary

Spend an unforgettable day amongst the artistic community and natural wonders of Gabriola Island.


Take the short 25-minute ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo to Gabriola. The ferry departs multiple times per day and transports vehicles and foot passengers.

Arriving on foot? Gabriola’s GERTIE community bus runs on schedule 6 days per week servicing the entire island including pick-ups and drop-offs at the ferry terminal.

Start your day by heading to Gabriola Sands Provincial Park and the stunning twin beaches. These two sandy coves are a draw for locals and visitors alike thanks to the soft white sand and sheltered location. The perfect spot for the kids to make a sandcastle!

Take the picturesque drive along Berry Point Road to the northernmost tip of Gabriola where you can take in the stunning view of the Entrance Island lighthouse and on a clear day, all the way across the Georgia Straight to the mainland.


Stay in that area for a refreshing stop at the Surf Lodge and Pub where seafood appies and hunger-busting burgers are the order of the day.


Head back to the Village Centre on North Road where you can grab a coffee and sandwich to enjoy on the pretty patio at Mad Rona’s coffee bar.


Start your afternoon with a quick visit to the Gabriola Museum to see replicas of 30 petroglyphs (First Nations carvings) found around the island.

Afterwards, head along North Road to S’ul-Hween X’pey (Elder Cedar) Community Park, a 160-acre nature reserve featuring a 1.8km loop of boardwalk. The trails take you through forest and wetlands via several of the last remaining mature Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar trees on the island. 

Next, keep heading all the way down to the southern tip of the island where you will find Drumbeg Provincial Park.  This extensive coastal park includes a 1km sand and pebble beach to explore which at low tide reveals stunning sandstone formations.

Take a relaxing stroll along the coastal trails and keep an eye out for the Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons and Harbour Seals who frequent the area.

Once you’ve had your fill of the stunning ocean views, head back to the Village Centre along South Road. Along the way stop in at Brickyard Beach, an historic site that was once home to a brick manufacturer. Old bricks, mostly crushed now, can still be seen amongst the beach pebbles. Make sure to look out across the False Narrows towards Mudge Island as passing Orca Whales can often be spotted in this area.


Before heading back to the return ferry, stop at the Woodfire Restaurant for a unique wood-fired pizza or Italian pasta dish in a cozy and elegant setting.

Start planning your next trip to Gabriola to see all the amazing places you didn’t get to on this trip!


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