Size: 57.6 sq km
Ferry to and from: Nanaimo
Located a short hop from Nanaimo, Gabriola Island is famous for its millennia-old petroglyphs—ancient art carved into rock faces by the Snueymuxw First Nations (the artifacts have their own museum). The soft stone that made the art possible also creates gorgeous rock formations along Gabriola Island’s shores and makes for plenty of swimming opportunities on the wide, white beaches. Gabriola Island is nicknamed “The Isle of Arts” thanks to its long-standing and deeply embedded communities of painters, sculptors, photographers, glass artists, musicians and writers. Visitors are encouraged to visit Gabriola Island’s many studios and galleries, especially during the annual Thanksgiving Weekend Studio Tour.