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“Beautiful view is NOT worth it.”

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Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 1, 2013

Me and my family as well as two other camping parties decided to spend the Canada day long weekend at The Living Forest Oceanside campground and RV park. The three of us were tenting so we booked well in advance. We stayed in sites T-21, T-23 and T-24. I'll give a quick summary of the pro's and con's of this campsite.

PROS:
-friendly check in, friendly and fairly prompt communication via email when booking
- beautiful view's from specific sites, especially ours (T-23)
- flush toilets as opposed to outhouses, fairly clean
- hot coin showers ($1 for 5 minutes)
-nice little ice cream stand on grounds, convenient for hot days
-small little beach access area and numerous trails throughout.
-paved roads throughout, great for kids riding bikes and chalk drawing
-decent little playground for younger children.
- not a lot of partying going on considering the crazy number of camp spots.

CONS:
- NOISE!!The campsite does not allow any "outside" music which means no stereo's or boom boxes etc. This was great in the "keeping with nature" theme the park seems to have but we were unable to enjoy the sounds of the birds chirping etc due to a screaming child in site T20. We were camping with four kids of our own. I am normally a very empathetic person especially when I hear a child crying but this kid SCREECHED at the top of its lungs for hours on ends and the parents did NOTHING to console him/her. And this wasn't just once in a while. It was ALL day and ALL night. I know this is more a complaint about the parents of this child but even if this shrieking child had not ruined two nights of our trip, surely the close proximity of the campsites would have been a deal breaker anyways. I am used to "condo camping" side by side but you could hear everything your neighbors said or did.
- bathrooms. I dislike outhouses and would be willing to stand in line for 45 minutes to use a flush toilet and that's often what I did... Waited in line for the bathrooms. The people to bathroom ratio was not even. They need more toilets.
- wood. They charged $7 for 7 WET pieces of wood. I don't think wood should be something that they make a big fat profit from, it should contribute to the enjoyable camping atmosphere that you are paying for.
- lack of garbage cans. They ask that you not put your campsite garbage into their bathroom garbage cans yet the only garbage cans I could find were near the office. If one is walking their dog on a leash (as we often did) it would be nice to put the dog poo bags we carried somewhere rather than having to carry them all the way to the entrance of the campsite.
- They don't sell a lot of necessity items in their office. While they have ice and overpriced chips or marshmallows, they have no tooth brushes, aspirin, suntan lotion, tooth paste, sanitary supplies, bars of soap or shampoo... Just the little things that one might not think to pack. There is a dollar store a short drive away but again, that involves leaving the campground.
- bugs! We really enjoyed the view from our campsite and the forest area is lovely but the bugs are INSANE. My son had more than 30 bug bites on his body despite rubbing ourselves with fabric softener sheets (which is supposed to keep bugs away) using "off" bug spray and wearing long sleeved shirts and pants! It was insane.
- The cost. $26-$48 a night is the summer price range. Not a steal by any means but not outrageous. Just know before you go, the campsite cost includes only TWO guests, any additional people cost: children 6-17 are an extra $1, extra adults are $4 PER night.

Needless to say, we will not be back anytime soon!
Very disappointed.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Canshy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, marketing and social engagement coordinator at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this reviewResponded July 9, 2013

Thanks for your review Canshy. Obviously it's nicer to respond to a wonderful review, but that's what TripAdvisor is all about. And I appreciate you taking time to outline the positives of your stay too. Let me speak to some of the things that made your stay less than stellar, just to give you an idea of why' some of the things are the way they are at Living Forest, even if they're not easily changed. Our park is continually being upgraded and fine tuned, and camper feedback is almost always where ideas for our changes come from.

First, it sounds like the biggest issue of your stay was the noise from the neighbouring kids. Some folks have different styles of parenting, and that's a tough one to deal with on a long weekend, made worse when we don't have any other sites to relocate you, which we would normally offer in a situation like that. Our staff and owners all camp too, and know what it's like to be next to people accustomed to 'living out loud'.

When the park is completely full, the number of bathrooms seems like it's never enough if you have to wait. We try very hard to cater to our campers' needs by making sure our showers and the 22 flush toilets located around the park are well constructed and maintained. Two new bathrooms were completed in the last year also, but on long weekends there's going to be a strain on resources, and I know that's not fun.

I do apologize if the firewood you received was wet. I wish you would have brought that to our attention- we would have exchanged it for dry wood. I have no explanation except to say that we spend several months each fall stockpiling wood so it's seasoned for the camping season- we hate wet wood when we camp too! As for pricing, will tell you that because we pay fair wages to our staff, and because buying/splitting/stacking/bundling/transporting to office of the firewood is so labour intensive, even at the $7/bundle price, firewood is only a break even proposition. We actually encourage campers to bring their own! We also rent propane campfires and, similarly, encourage folks to bring those too if they own one.

And speaking of profit, you may have noticed that our cafe is donating ALL profits from that part of our operation to charity. Any profit we make comes from the camping fees, and overall, we feel our rates are in line with many other campgrounds in our region according to our ongoing research. Our pricing policy on extra adults and kids is posted on our website and rate brochures, so I'm hoping there wasn't any misunderstanding about that.

We have scaled back the number of products we sell in our office. We can't begin to compete with the prices offered at the shopping centre half a kilometer away, as you noticed with our marshmallows! For that reason, we encourage campers to grab supplies on their way in, or take the short walk/cycle/drive over to take advantage of their superior selection and pricing, if they forget something.

Garbage collection is something that is never perfect. We used to have individual site cans which was more convenient, but had serious drawbacks too- if lids got knocked off, dogs, crows or raccoons would make a mess. Also, the noise involved in twice weekly rounds through the park was always a half day unwelcome intrusion. Having to carry garbage and recycling to our central bins near the entrance was preferable to the majority of campers according to our surveys before we switched to this system a few years ago. The lesser of two evils shall we say.

And after a record wet June, I'm afraid the first couple weeks of July are going to see the peak of the mosquito season, before the dry part of the summer allows nature to curtail those pesky things. I've been up and down the Island over the past 10 days, and I can tell you, we haven't cornered the market on 'mozzies' at Living Forest- they're everywhere right now.

Canshy, I know you didn't have a great time on the long weekend, and I wish there was more I could do, but I will make sure your review is seen by owners and management as we are constantly trying to make our park a better place, and hearing the good and the bad is the only way to make that happen. Happy camping on your next adventure!
- respectfully, Scott Littlejohn

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180 - 186 of 221 reviews

Reviewed June 27, 2013

This RV park blew us away as we pulled into our lot - 86 i think it was, over seeing estuary where there's a mixture of fresh water and salt water, just breath taking views and a beach house when you walk down to the water front.

Living forest have ice for your nice cold beers and soft drinks, fire wood of substantial size to go in your fire pit, picnic bench on plot and the best thing of all, a cable hook up! This was brilliant for the fact we arrived at the start of the Stanley cup play-offs! Topped off with amazing weather.

Room Tip: Lot 86! Make sure your lot oversees the water!
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Toby W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, community engagement coordinator at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this reviewResponded June 28, 2013

One word: "Thanks a million"- OK, OK, that's three. Anytime anyone takes time to write a review, we are thrilled, as the Littlejohn family and our special staff love trying to impress campers with a park which is our pride and joy.

Vancouver Island is a unique jewel for travelers and those of us lucky enough to live here. I hope you find time to explore enough of it to make your jaw loosen into a 'wow' shape once or twice, like it did for us when we stepped off the ferry 45 years ago. Plan a trip back to the rock again when you get a chance, and safe adventures! --Scott of the Forest

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Reviewed June 2, 2013

We stayed for a few days in early June. Nice and quiet in the evenings. Nice sea view from #197. Clean rest rooms, nice playground. Hiking trails are very nice. Close to a mall for groceries and Timmies. Very nice people at the front desk. Sites are very large and the trees that separate the sites are growing.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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Thank HXL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, Public Relations Manager at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this reviewResponded June 5, 2013

When I'm traveling, it's easy to get worked up enough to post a review for a place you had a bad experience, but when expectations are met, it's equally easy to just move on. For that reason, it's always fantastic to read a review where a camper's experience matched what they'd hoped for- especially when they mention the real heroes- our staff! Thanks for taking time to comment- most appreciated, and safe journeys!

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Reviewed January 28, 2013

Our stay here was for two months while we found a place to live, having just moved to the island. Our lot, as are most all lots, was very spacious and offered a fair amount of distance between ours and the next trailer. We picked one far back from the more popular ocean view side of the property. Because we were there in winter, there was not a lot of traffic or noise although with the well treed spaces I expect even in summer it would still be pretty relaxing and comfortable.

The staff was superb and helpful, the cost was certainly acceptable and well worth the offerings. We had stayed in other RV spots on out trip out to BC from Ontario and without fail. these were all "sardine can" style where trailers were jammed in as close as possible together to get as many in as they could. Not the case here. There are plenty of trees and space between most spots leaving you feeling nicely secluded in your space.

There are paths built into the surrounding forest that we explored regularly with our dogs (yes, pets are fine on a leash) and the people we encountered on our daily walks were all friendly, although this aspect isn't really under the control of the managers of course. I suppose this being the "winter crowd" may have given us a more relaxed bunch of people. None the less, we had a really great time here.

Amenities were good, for a campground. There are washrooms and showers peppered throughout the park although they were locked up for winter. A small concession stand was getting ready to open when we were about to leave. Laundry facilities were available and welcomed on our 2+ month stay. It is just up the road from a shopping area and large grocery store so although you are quite definitely "in the forest" amenities are just a 5 minute drive away.

This is a highly recommended space for RVers (and tent campers too) if you want to get away from the jam-packed feel of most such campgrounds.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Paul A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2012

We were sceptical first, because Living Forest Campground seemed to be the only one within the city area of Nanaimo, but that campground is really beautiful. Quiet despite the seaplanes, set in a nice forest, super views in the first and second rows. We watched seadogs playing every evening and sometime also during the day, directly from our site, wonderful! The staff is very friendly and helpful. Showers where clean, but a bit on the cold side for september (the water was very hot, so it was ok). Going into Nanaimo by public transportation is quite an experience, try it out by yourself, by bus;-) but it is manageable without problems. The big stores can be reached within 10 minutes walk, too, there are even some take-out places in the area. We stayed 3 nights and decided to stay for another 2 nights on our way back from the west coast to Vancouver.

Room Tip: If you are looking for a sunny site, go check the sites out first, it is worth it, since a lot of th...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank kanada11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, Community director at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this reviewResponded October 6, 2012

Thank you so much for sharing your experience at Living Forest. You write the kind of reviews we look for when we're planning trips- lots of details! If you go to the park map on our webpage, you can click on any site number and a photo of that site opens. We're proud of our park and love giving campers the chance to 'see' their site online before they arrive, and to be able to reserve that exact spot. Safe journeys!

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Reviewed September 20, 2012

Truly a great place for camping and hanging out. Our campsite wa so beautiful we hardly wanted to do any exploring. Their website is unlike any other we have seen. Just click on the campsite number useing the map and you see a picture of the campsite.It's also a good starting point for exploring downtown Nanaimo. Also some nice trails around the campsite as well. Friendly staff and a well organized and clean campground.We will be back!!

Room Tip: Recommend booking ahead if you want a ocean view site.You can check their web site and see what ones...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Raroboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, Community Director at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this reviewResponded October 6, 2012

It's always great to have 'Islanders' visit our park- thanks for that AND taking time to post a review. We camp all over the Island too and love your part of the Island also. Glad you enjoyed your time at Living Forest!

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Reviewed September 20, 2012

First time visit for me and I enjoyed my stay the entire time . The staff were excellent , freely offering help and advice whenever I approached them , and they all are very approachable and professional in their manner . The campground is a wonderful place to stay , everything worked with no surprises . I especially enjoyed the quiet at night and how clean the campground facilities were kept , many thanks to those involved in those areas . I really appreciated the effort by staff to maintain that , especially under the difficult and trying circumstances that can occur from time to time . I see that many families come and stay , and as a parent myself , the efforts put in by all the staff to keep things safe and fun are much valued . I will definitely return for another stay . Again , thanks to all at the Living Forest cg. .

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Mike M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, Community Director at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this reviewResponded October 6, 2012

Thank you for a thoughtful review Mike, and thanks for making the trek from Kelowna! We visited Kelowna in May and love your community too. We made a commitment to being a family oriented campground long ago. The childhood memories created on family vacations are among the most powerful and long lasting anyone has. We're so pleased to try to create an environment that fosters that! Happy camping!

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Additional Information about Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV

Address: 6 Maki Rd, Nanaimo, British Columbia V9R 6N7, Canada
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Nanaimo
Amenities:
Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Nanaimo
Price Range: $21 - $37 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 300
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
53 waterfront acres, 300 sites. Open year round. Rated as one of the two best parks in BC, and in the top 25 in Canada! Located 5 minutes to downtown Nanaimo, a waterfront city of 80,000, and only 10 minutes to ferries. Perfect base camp to explore Vancouver Island. Summer swimming in a pristine river, oceanside full serviced sites, kayak rentals, walking trails, WiFi - even a gourmet coffee deck overlooking the ocean! Reserve online. ... more   less 

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