Gabriola Island is also called The Isle of the Arts because it is the location of a 10 day annual arts festival for fine arts, painting, theatre arts, poetry, printmaking and more, every spring. Gabriola Island is also called Petroglyph Island because of the many ancient native stone carvings.
The island has a serene rural atmosphere with secluded beaches and beautiful forested parks. There are spectacular ocean views around every turn. The shoreline is sandstone and people can almost walk around the island. The locals have a thriving cottage industry of handmade items, pots, soap, clothing and other crafts. There is also a Farmer’s Market from May to Thanksgiving on Saturdays that offers fresh produce, crafts and baked goods. It welcomes patrons from the surrounding islands as well as visitors.
The public campgrounds in the forests are very well maintained and visitors can kayak around the island in a sea kayak that is more stable and safer than a canoe to get close to the sea life, birds and the fascinating sandstone caves on the shoreline. Sea kayaks have plenty of room for gear. Visitors can bring their own kayaks on the BC Ferries free of charges. The water on the southern side of the island is calm and perfect for kayaking. The launch is at Silva Bay.
Gabriola Island doesn’t have public transport, so it is recommended for visitors to bring a bicycle or car. Some of the favorite places to see and things to do are:
• The more than 50 petroglyphs at Jack Point, Weldwood and Lock Bay. The most popular is the carving of a killer whale that is near Degnen Bay.
• Eating fresh clams, mussels and oysters
• Wildlife watching with an abundance of killer whales, seals, sea lions, bald eagles and otters of which some are residents and some are transients
• Playing golf on the nine-hole golf course that overlooks Hoggan Lake. The Gabriola Island Goof and Country Club welcomes non-members and offers a full service clubhouse.
• There is world-class sailing around the island. People come from all over the world to sail in these waters. There are mooring facilities and anchorage, and the Silva Bay Yacht Club is the focal point for boating related events.
• Find a spot and watch the sunrise or sunset. The island is famous for its magnificent sunrises and sunsets as well as moonlight reflecting on the water.
• There are several good diving spots where visitors can see the giant Pacific octopus, wolf eels and much more. There is also great fishing all around the island.
• Hiking and cycling around the island is also very popular. The whole island can be hiked from one end to the other on high ground through forests and with spectacular ocean views along the way. A cycle ride around the island is 12 miles, but there are several beautiful beaches to stop for a picnic or swim.
Gabriola Island offers a variety of outdoor activities, a thriving arts community, pristine natural surroundings and a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. In other words, it is the perfect place to spend a few days to get refreshed and rejuvenated.