Although Gibsons is on the British Columbia mainland, it is not accessible by road. Vehicle access is by BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, a 40 minute crossing. The town is also accessible by water, by float plane to the harbour, or by small aircraft to Sechelt Airport, approx. 20 km northwest of Gibsons. Gibsons is best known in Canada as the setting of the popular and long running CBC Television series The Beachcombers, which aired from 1972 to 1990. The storefront "Molly's Reach", now a cafe, the restored tug Persephone, and a display about the series at the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives are popular Gibsons attractions. Other movies that have used Gibsons as a filming location include Charlie St. Cloud (2010), starring Kim Basinger and Zac Efron (as a stand-in for Marblehead, Massachusetts), and Needful Things (1993), starring Max von Sydow and Ed Harris.
In February 2005, Gibsons won the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting contest, coming first in the world.
In October 2009, the town was declared the "Most Liveable Community in the World" (under 20,000 population) at the international Livcom Awards. Endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme, the LivCom competition focuses on Best Practices for management of the local environment.
In 2009 Gibsons also won an Energy & Climate Action Award for Community Planning and Development, awarded by the Community Energy Association.  A major factor in this award was a new housing development, which will be heated by the first publicly owned geoexchange system in Canada.
The Sunshine Coast has seen a three-decades transition from a forestry and fishing based economy, to a more diverse economy with construction trades, business services, retail and tourism becoming prominent.
Gibsons is a popular retirement destination, and also has attracted many artists and musicians, as well as professionals who commute by ferry into nearby Vancouver, or are able to work from home. Between 2001 and 2006, the population of Gibsons grew by 7.1% (faster than the overall British Columbia growth rate of 5.3%). The median age in Gibsons in 2006 was 50.2 years; significantly higher than the Provincial median of 40.8 years.