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“Great Family Campsite”

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Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV
Certificate of Excellence
Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
33 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great Family Campsite”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

Loved the Living Forest Campground. The sites are spread out so you are not sharing conversations with your neighbors and the grounds are beautiful. The kids had a blast as they rode their bikes between the volleyball court, basketball court, games room, park and café where they have many flavors of ice-cream. The Nanaimo River alongside the campground is a great place for kids to try out kayaking/canoeing or just to swim. The bathrooms are clean except on the long weekends - they should be cleaned at least once more throughout the day as the counters were messy and they ran out of toilet paper and soap. I have no problem with the campfire being out at 11:00 but I don't think it should be an issue when people are sitting quietly talking at their campsite. There were many loud kids screaming for no reason around 6:30 am (fault of the parents) which is more annoying than people talking quietly at their campsites after 11:00. I would definitely return to this campsite.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank gunter2242
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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177 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Annapolis, Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

WHAT A NICE CAMPGROUND! Just tucked away from, but close to, the urban area. Right on the ocean & the Nanaimo river providing great views from many sites & the coffee café deck overlooking it all. Friendly & helpful staff. Been there before with my family who all enjoyed it, but this time just the 2 of us for a special get-away... I would definitely recommend it.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lotsa-travln-n-campn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2013

We stayed in T11 site, had no issues with our site, neighbours were pretty close, but we had a few shrubs to separate us. View is of the creek more than anything, so nothing special. Bathrooms and showers were clean. Cons are: lack of garbage bins or recycling near each site, very few toilets, so you need to walk and the showers especially are very far away! Others complain about silent time at 11 and how they weren't allowed to talk at their sites, perhaps mgmt needs to talk to people with loud children, and especially screaming babies and barking dogs in the early morning! That to me is far worse than bob taking to his wife at their site.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank travellers220
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, social engagement coordinator at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Thanks for your review Cccbb. It takes time to describe your experience and that is appreciated by TA readers and businesses alike. Glad you were able to get a campsite on our BC Day long weekend- we were full up, like most parks, which means that all facilities and staff are going full blast, so I'm also glad you found the showers and bathrooms clean, even if you found the walk to the shower building further than you liked. Thankfully there's two toilets within 100 feet of that site and another pair 200 feet away, so hopefully that wasn't too much of an inconvenience.

Children and babies and dogs can raise the noise floor, especially on a long weekend in a family oriented park, and we always encourage folks to let us know if something is amiss with a quick call to the office, in case we can help. Our security person patrols the 53 acres and 2 miles of park roads all night, so we really have to rely on campers to let us know if there's excessive noise issues during the daytime when family activities are encouraged and expected.

I normally don't take issue with how someone feels about their perception of our park- you feel how you feel. That said, I have to respectfully disagree with your description of the view of the Nanaimo River as being a 'creek'. The Nanaimo River is over a hundred feet across even during the summer, and it's pristine quality allow it to be used to provide the drinking water for over 100,000. Unlike the incredible waterfalls and rapids found further upstream, it is lazy and gentle when it reaches Living Forest, making it ideal for swimming or easy paddling.

There are hundreds of swimming holes for miles and miles upstream from its mouth at Living Forest, and because it flows through four lakes before becoming a river, it has the warmest river swimming on the Island, and is one of the largest rivers on an Island - and Island known for it's rivers.

Paddlers come from far and wide to enjoy exploring it. Take a peek at the YouTube video on our homepage showing kayaking with the tens of thousands of salmon that occurs each fall, starting upstream a couple miles, and paddling down to our beach below the campsite where you stayed. Put it on your bucket list, it's unforgettable! Happy Camping!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
british columbia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2013

We just stayed at Living Forest this last weekend (July 26 - 29). This was the 4th time we have stayed here, the first time being 16 years ago. Therefore, we have been able to track the changes made over these years. When we went on the Secret Cliff trail this time and walked to the Point of View (which provides a most gorgeous view of the expanse of the water), we decided that the owner of this campground has an exceptional vision and knows what he/she wants this campground to be like. Who would bother to invest in opening up a trail in the forest, building several sets of steps, and identifying a spot just to have a great view?

The campground has developed over the years: more sites being opened up, addition of the beach (what a great idea) and trails, and technological upgrading etc. Yet the campground has kept the natural forest setting and quality of service. Everything's well organized.

We were right by the water. We loved the water view. We even saw clearly the fireworks of the Bathtub Race. If you go, you must get into the kayak or canoe and go down the river. It's so peaceful and calm there. You can go on for miles. Canoeing was certainly one of the highlights for me. We went with young adult children and they thoroughly enjoyed the kayaking.

If we have anything to comment on, that would be the difficulty of getting WiFi at the café. I didn't need it myself, but was told by my young adult children that they couldn't get on. Another thing was the noises that some campers made, well beyond 11 pm. One of our friends made a complaint the next day. The management apologized and immediately refunded our friend the last night's fee. I think the noisy campers were almost kicked out. The establishment really means business about the Quiet Time, which I totally appreciate.

I recommend this campground without reservation.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank travelmaniac57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, social engagement coordinator at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Travelmaniac57: Thanks for coming back to see us again after 16 years! All of us like to think we're aging gracefully, but we truly attempt to do that at Living Forest, with continual upgrades and 'polishing' as we like to think of it. Your comments are deeply appreciated and our staff love it when some of the little things we do are noticed. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and I hope we can make you take notice of the next upgrades when you come back next. Happy Camping!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
55 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2013

We just stayed there with our 6 yr old and loved it. We had an oceanview site and tented. Our neighbors were families with kids which was nice. Our only unpleasant experience was the one site near us (childless couple) that stayed up late and had late company and were banging around after midnight which was annoying. It is fire out and quiet time after 11pm but this suited us fine as we're up early with our son in the morning so we dont stay up late. I've read the other posts and quite frankly these people who experienced problems were probably disturbing the other campers and deserved to be told to quiet down. This is a totally family oriented campground and most campers are either families with young kids or retired / mellow people who'd be in bed by 11pm regardless. If you want to party, go elsewhere. And if you choose to try to party here & disobey the rules, you may be kicked out.

Moving forward, we found the campground to be clean and well maintained. The showers are $1 for 5 mins and I only needed $1 which surprised me because I have long hair. The showers are hot & the water pressure is awesome and we showered early in the morning (6-7am) and missed the rushes that other posts mentioned. We never waited to use a bathroom so I don't know why others said there weren't enough toilets. The toilets are flush toilets and kept very clean & well lit. There's ample water supply throughout the grounds.

I like that they have all garbage & recycling near the office at the entrance. I don't mind driving my garbage there - I'd rather the garbage bins be AWAY from my site than near it as garbage attracts wildlife.
Firewood is $7 @ the campground but we bought ours from a guy who lives a 1 minute drive down the road from the campground. He gives 2X as much wood and better quality also for $7.

I like that Living Forest has a "dogs on leash" rule - you may love your dog, but that doesn't mean everyone else wants to make contact with it.

They serve ice cream at the cafe until 9pm which the kids love. The cafe has WiFi and the beach just below is nice for swimming in the evening. We walked down to the beach and along the bluff & picked blackberries.

All the staff were extremely friendly and knowledgable. I think the golf carts are brilliant and I like that they patrol the grounds - you are safe in this campground & that's important when you camp with young children. And if you need something, the staff will go out of their way for you. Our neighbor lost a jacket and it was promptly delivered by staff, on a golf cart!

I was impressed and we're going back in August.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank amed6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, social engagement coordinator at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Thanks for your detailed review of Living Forest Amed6. I'm so pleased that you had a good stay with us and found most things to your liking. Research shows that many people's strongest lifetime memories are childhood vacations, and if we can be a part of that for families, that is our greatest joy. I'm envious of you needing a long shower time to wash your long hair- with my (lack of) hair, a cup water would suffice! Happy Camping!
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salt lake city
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 19, 2013

My girlfriend and daughter stayed here July 5 & 6 2013. Coming from the States, the website is what sold me. It is pretty well put together. I called and made a reservation on the 4th and the desk staff were quite friendly and helpful. Check-in was fast and courteous even though they were quite busy.

We stayed in 46 which was a camper site but we stayed in a tent. And it was close the to bathrooms. The bathrooms were very clean at all times, although what struck me very odd was the stall partitions are at least two and a half feet off the floor, leaving your lower body exposed to whom ever else may be using the facilities as well. A few more dollars spent in stainless steel would be nice.

Site 46 also borders I guess is what they call a ‘permanent resident’ with a trailer park model, fully skirted and there to stay. Along with his multiple sheds, piles of firewood, and various other debris stacked in no particular order. All that was missing was a old Chevy Nova on jack stands. There’s a few of these joints scattered about the park.

For the price you pay for a spot, it was quite frustrating to pay additional for questionable “high-speed” internet, than have to fiddle with their log-ins every time you turn a device on. And a dollar for a shower?? It’s not as if they truck in-out the water! I don’t like being nickle and dimed.

Don’t buy the fire wood!! I think they store it in the swamp because no amount of cardboard, charcoal lighter fluid or gasoline will ignite it. We ended up going to the store for a firelog just to get any action at all. However, the desk staff will bring it to your site, along with ice which was nice.

One highly frustrating thing to me is their website has no mention of the park rules, yet they give you a list upon check-in. They have this very peculiar rule about fires out at 11:00pm, as if fire and smoke are loud?. Most every campground I’ve ever been in has ‘quiet times’ but Living Forest wants ‘silent time’. If I want to stay up all night discussing the pro’s and cons of sliced bread in front of a campfire than I should be allowed. I’m in a campground, I paid to be there, and it isn’t a library or funeral home! I’m pretty sure my voice doesn’t carry into someone else’s air conditioned hundred thousand dollar camper at night while they watch Jay Leno on the 46" plasma.

And then there’s the enforcer, ‘Warden Bob’. He cruises (well above the 10k speed limit btw), around on a golf cart with no lights making sure there are nobody is passing gas, breaking curfew or breathing too loudly. He made the mistake of creeping into my camp unannounced and almost got eaten by my dog. He was gravely concerned that my ipod was on (no outside music rule), the fire was still going and he could actually hear us quietly talking. He stopped just on the verge of suggesting that we go to bed. Then my dog almost (or may have) bit him and hopefully he had to go change his pants.

Hey Bob, go do something more useful like enforce your own speed limit control on your other campers during the day before some idiot runs over a kid on a bike. OR, if you get bored at night, tell the ignorant people pulling in at night to the office to turn off their diesels and million candle power headlights while they fiddle and diddle at the registration desk.

Mr. Littlejohn, I have read most of the reviews and your responses, and it would seem to me that your clients have mostly the same complaints. Hire some security with some respect, or have the nice girls at the front office do some customer etiquette class with Bob. Keep the quiet time but we don’t want silent time! Let people be people, if they want silent time they can go camping in the real woods with no neighbors. I know you can’t please everybody all the time, but your quiet-time- no fires after 11 and Warden Bob seems to be three major deterents to an otherwise well run and very pretty place. Cheers!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank kent c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, social engagement coordinator at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this review, July 21, 2013
Thanks for your review Kent, and for visiting our country and the Island. Thank you also for the kind comments about the check in staff and the job our cleaners do- we're very proud of them, especially on long weekends!

I see from the date of your stay that it was the same long weekend that a couple of other reviewers took issue with 'quiet time' and enforcement. I won't rehash the rationale behind our quiet policy, other than to say that it's in place solely because that's what the majority of campers have asked for. Long weekends are very challenging for security to try to maintain the late evening quiet, but you'll be happy to know that we've had some discussions about approach and procedure, and hope that your concerns in this area have been addressed since your visit.

Our overnight temperatures are rarely warm enough to warrant RV'ers equipped with air conditioning to use them at night, meaning that for the most part, their windows are wide open. With open windows or in tents, conversations do carry into adjacent campsites from campfire chat - and our office staff deal with far more complaints about that very issue the following morning than from people who had to take their conversations into their rig or tent or for a late night stroll on one of the trails away from the campsites. Even simple conversations, especially ones punctuated with occasional laughter (you are on vacation!) can be tough to sleep nearby. As you said, you can't please everyone all of the time. All we can do is try to be consistent and clear with policy supported by the majority and make sure people know about the rules.

We are now asking check in staff to make sure that the quiet time policy is given to guests verbally at arrival, in addition to having it printed on our check in map. That way, if folks feel that their park enjoyment will suffer because of the 11 pm quiet time, they can choose to go to one of the other area parks that have a later evening policy.

That said, you do bring up an excellent point, with your observation that the quiet time policy isn't on our main website. We do have a link to our 'mini website' THE DAILY, which has daily updates of tides/weather and local info, etc., designed as a quick reference of FAQs for campers onsite. On that site, main rules are listed right at the top, but not our main website at this point. I thank you for bringing that forward, and we'll add that to our main website - it's a great idea.

We always try to give people every possible bit of useful and honest information about our park to help them decide if it's a match for their holiday. We don't like 'surprises' when we travel either!

We're also trying to get to the bottom of the firewood dampness issue- hopefully there was only a small portion of the massive wood supply that gets delivered to the park in the fall that contained unusually wet wood, and we'll get it out of circulation until next season. A number of us heat our homes with wood too, and know the drill about being early with seasoning wood so it's dry. Hindsight is 20/20, and if I could turn back the clock, I wish we'd known this was an issue for you and the others who had this problem so we could make it right for you.

As for your site neighbours, we established a policy of long term stays being limited to 8 months, quite a few years ago. When we first opened 20 years ago, however, we did allow one section of sites to be for year round RV'ers. They helped us get started. We have 'grandfathered' those folks, but as they leave for whatever reason over time, they're not replaced with year round RV'ers, and so their number decreases each year. Your site happened to back onto one of the 15 remaining (of 300) sites in the park with a year round RV'er. I'm sorry if you felt staying next to someone's home lessened your camping experience. It's always great when we have a selection of sites at check in for someone to choose the one that they like the best- tough on a sold out weekend.

Again, thanks for taking the time to write a review. Writing (and responding!) takes time, and we learn much from responses, good and bad. It always gives us reason to consider and question if there's ways to improve which is always our goal. I hope you feel you're concerns have been, or are going to soon be addressed.

I further hope your Island and Canadian vacation was rewarding and filled with amazing scenery, experiences and adventure!

Scott Littlejohn,
Living Forest
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Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2013

We stayed this past weekend from Friday evening till Sunday morning at Living Forest Campground in Nanaimo. It was in a word, disappointing. I thought it was fairly expensive per night & found out after we got there that there was a further charge (1.00 per 5 minutes) for a shower. Toilets are few & far between too. There are no trash barrels set up anywhere & one has to go to the front of the campground to dump garbage. As the campground is fairly large, this presents a problem. Our site was dusty & not well graveled and the campers before us had filled the firepit with cigarette butts. I can safely say that this was a one time place for us.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Charlotte G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottotheforest, social engagement coordinator at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV, responded to this review, July 17, 2013
Thanks for your review Charlotte, even if it wasn't gold plated, all feedback is an opportunity to learn from our campers as we try to always improve wherever possible.

I'm disappointed if you felt our prices didn't represent good value. Being within a municipality, the good part is having great quality City water, and sewer, but the downside is higher taxes, particularly since it's 53 acres of waterfront. We do feel our pricing is comparatively competitive, and have camped ourselves at several other Island places that are more expensive with fewer amenities. As for charging for showers, let me explain our rationale. Being in the City, we pay for water by the liter, and have found that a nominal charge of $1 for a 5 minute shower to be a means of encouraging water conservation and saving precious fossil fuels to heat it. We camped at another area park on the long weekend and paid $2 for the showers there, by way of comparison. 'Free' showers that result in more water and heating consumption, ends up costing in other ways, so we feel that a user fee is the fairest way to charge for it.

After many years of having garbage cans and collection at each site, and dealing with the half day noise of 'thru the park' garbage trucks twice a week, as well as the smell and mess made when lids get left off overnight and crows get into spreading it around, we moved to a central collection area- and that does mean campers having to get it to that location in the park. With the feedback and support of the majority of our campers, this system is the lesser of two evils- either system has drawbacks. We do take pride in reducing our landfill contributions with extensive recycling bins too, including composting of food scraps.

We have an off season site makeover program to try to ensure level and well graveled sites. I'm sorry if you felt the one you stayed in was dusty (it has been three weeks without rain, which doesn't help), but there isn't an excuse for a firepit filled with cigarette butts. This is an oversight for which we apologize, our cleaning staff regularly do a wonderful job of raking and cleaning sites between stays.

And lastly, though this doesn't help today, know that there are management discussions about adding to the 24 toilet stalls around the park, and your comments haven't fallen on deaf ears. Most areas of the 53 acre site are well served, but the adding of washrooms been an evolution going hand in hand with sites being added in phases, but we are analyzing service levels now- we certainly want to try to minimize the distance for anyone to find a restroom.

Thanks for taking time to review us, and despite your stated intention to make it a one time place, I hope at some point in the future you give us another chance. Happy Camping!

Scott Littlejohn
Living Forest
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Additional Information about Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV

Property: 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 13 Specialty Lodging in Nanaimo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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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