The Living Forest Oceanside RV Park & Campground is the best-known campground in Nanaimo. Sitting astride the Nanaimo River Estuary, it enjoys some of the weird, supernatural ambience of the place (it's also close to Petroglyph Park, a magical place). The Living Forest Campground is on Maki Road - if you continue down the old piece of Maki Road, instead of turning into the Living Forest grounds, you can walk to a place that is strewn with antique junk, most notably a giant iron wheel of some kind, like a ferris wheel's skull.
Open year-round, the Living Forest Campground has over 50 acres of beautiful forested land. There is a wide variety of sites to choose from; sunny sites, riverside sites, oceanview sites, and secluded forested sites. Full services, tenting, and everything in between are available as well. The location is good, too, if you want access to downtown Nanaimo's harbour as well as the Nanaimo River and Estuary, and Extension Ridge. At lower tides, you can also walk over to Chase River Estuary Park.
WALKING all the way to downtown Nanaimo from the campground is not recommended. But there is a mini-mall with a grocery store near the campground, and there is a bus to take you downtown for $2.25.