Unofficially called Petroglyph Island, Gabriola is the second largest of the southern Gulf Islands
. It acquired its nickname because of its many ancient Indian stone carvings, the best-known of which is that of a killer whale (near the shore at Degnen Bay). Other sites of the petroglyphs include Jack Point, Lock Bay, and Weldwood, where more than 50 have been discovered under thick moss. The community of Gabriola offers most services. On the north end of the island is Gabriola Sands Provincial Park
, known for its expansive beaches. Smooth eroded sandstone ledges can be seen at the Malaspina Galleries nearby. On the south end of the island is Drumbeg Provincial Park
, with a sandy beach. No camping is offered at either park.
The history of the island is interpreted at the Gabriola Museum.