Nanaimo has a beautiful archipelago just offshore, and the homes on these Gulf Islands offer an exceptional lifestyle for both vacation and full time residential use. Below, I've separated them out with some descriptions and links to island property listings.
Only these first two islands are serviced regularly by BC Ferries with vehicle transport. This accessibility is accompanied by other services like BC hydro and internet, resulting in fuller development and higher property values.
This is the most "off-grid" island listed on this page. There is no ferry, no regular water taxi, no utilities (but cell phones do get reception), and very few wells. Most of the island's land parcels are on the eastern shore, facing out onto the sea - too exposed for docks. Even though you're looking across to the lights of Vancouver, you feel very isolated on this beautiful island!
Mudge / Decourcy / Ruxton
These three islands form a chain and they are similar in certain ways - so they are often considered together, by people hunting for off-grid Gulf Island property. All three are boat-access only, with NO water or sewer services. Mudge has hydro and internet; only Mudge and Decourcy have a marina and allow docks; Ruxton is the most remote and doesn't allow new docks.