For rustic camping in a beautiful setting, head to Descanso Bay Regional Park on Gabriola Island.
The park has 32 camping sites and can accommodate trucks and trailers, motorhomes and tents. All the sites are forested and quite private, and several have ocean views!
Located only 1.5 km from the ferry terminal, and 2 km from the village centre, the park is in an ideal location whether driving, walking or biking.
The Regional Park is adjacent to the 113 acre Cox Community Park, which offers a network of trails through a well-established forest setting. Also nearby are the famous Malaspina Galleries (2.1 km from the campground).
Within the park, there are three bays, as well as a small boat launch area, that allows one to explore and view the unique sandstone shoreline by kayak or boat.
Don’t have your own kayak? Head out on a guided tour right from the campground!
From June 29th – August 18 (2020) guided tours for both kids and adults are offered out of Descanso Bay Regional Park every Monday and Tuesday.
Kayaks are provided, but you must bring your own life jackets, water and snacks
- No experience necessary
- You MUST pre-register at least 5 days in advance!
- Cancelled if the wind is +20 knots.
Mondays – ages 8 – 15
- Cost is $40 per day / per person
- 9:00 – 12:00
Tuesdays – ages 8 – 108
- $40 per day / per person
- 9:00 – 12:00
You can pre-register for kayaking tours here.
Park Information and Rules
Occupancy: Maximum 8 people total per site (up to 4 adults (18 yrs and over) are allowed)
Vehicles: Maximum 1 per site: 1 vehicle with a trailer, or 1 RV: or 1 vehicle with up to 2 tents. There is an extra vehicle charge (see below for rates).
Check-in: 1:00 – 8:00 pm
Check-out: By 11:00 am. Ensure your campsite is clean and free of any garbage before you leave.
Quiet Time: From 10:00 pm – 8:00 am (enforced). There is also no loud music permitted at any time. If your music can be heard by your neighbours, it is too loud.
Generators: Are allowed to be used midday only (11:00 am – 3:00 pm) – enforced
Alcohol: Alcohol is restricted to campsites
Pets: Must be on a leash at all times, and you are required to pick up after them.
Garbage and Recycling: Garbage and recycling containers are provided near the park registration office.
Campfires: Firewood can be purchased in the park or you are welcome to bring your own. Campfires are restricted to the provided fire rings only. However, during the summer Gabriola often has a no-campfire rule. You will need to follow the seasonal fire restrictions posted throughout the park.
- No services provided
- The park has standard pit toilets
- There are no public showers in the park
- Potable water is available, however, it should not be used for filling up your RV or trailer as there is a water shortage on the island.
- There is no sani-dump on the island. If you bring over a camper or RV, it is advised to arrive at the campground with an empty tank.
Animals: There are no large predators (bears or cougars) on Gabriola, however, there are plenty of birds, mice and other small animals. So food should be stored in sealed containers.
Conservation: Park flora and fauna are protected. Please leave the trees, plants, flowers, seaweed, shells, and all sea life (starfish, crabs, etc.) where you find them.
Rates for 2020
(High Season (April 1 to September 30)
- Small sites (bike in) – $20.00 per night, plus tax
- Large sites (vehicles accessible) – $23.00 per night, plus tax
- Reservation fee (non-refundable) – $6.00 per campsite, per night, to a maximum of $18.00, plus tax
- Extra vehicles – $11.50 per night, plus tax
- A minimum 3-night stay is required on statutory holiday weekends.
- A minimum 2-night stay is required if booking a Saturday in July and August.
Low Season (October 1 to March 31)
- All sites – $10.00 per night, plus tax
- Reservation fee (non-refundable – $3.00 per campsite, per night, to a maximum of $9.00, plus tax
- Extra vehicles – $5.00 per night, plus tax
Descanso Bay Regional Park is a wonderful place to camp. Our children spent hours playing on the beach within view from our campsite. The large sandstone creations in the bay became animals of all sorts, great hiding spots, castles and forts. And of course, then there’s always the endless hunt to spot sea treasures. If you want a true getaway, that’s only a hop, skip and puddle jump away from home, I highly recommend Descanso Bay on Gabriola Island!
Have you been? Tell us all about it in the comments below.