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Best Camping in BC
British Columbia is the place to be if you love getting outside to enjoy what nature provides. There is plenty to do in this province for the outdoor-lover, from watersports and sun-filled hikes in the summer to skiing and glacier walking in the winter! It doesn’t matter whether you are heading just outside of Vancouver or hundreds of miles into the wilderness, you are guaranteed to be met with stunning untouched landscapes.
One of the best ways to explore the beautiful outdoor spaces that BC has on offer is to sleep out under the stars at some of the province’s best campsites. There is something for everyone in British Columbia and the same goes for its camping areas. Whether you are the avid hiker, forest-goer, mountain climber, or wave-rider there is a campsite for you!
So, where do you start in your search for the best camping trip in BC this season? Well, you don’t have to look too far because in this article, we have 5 of the best campsites in the area. By the end of this short read, you will know exactly where to head to in your free time. There is something for every type of outdoorsman here, from campgrounds with mountain views, lakeside pitches for the summer, to multi-day overland trips through diverse scenery. Enjoy!
If you are the keen hiker that loves to get out into the wilderness looking for the best views on the planet, then Mount Robson Provincial Park Campground is the place for you! This place is what dreams are made of but make sure to pack up your gear fairly light or expect a few trips back and forth to your vehicle because the campground is a 20-minute hike from the parking place. The hassle is certainly worth it though and, in my opinion, this campground has the best scenery in BC!
With stunning views of the magnificent Mount Robson towering above you and plenty of nearby trails to sink your boots into, you will certainly not be short of adventure and jaw-dropping sights! This campsite is definitely more suited to the active outdoorsmen that desire adventure in the Canadian Rockies, but even if you are just out to relax this can be a great place to go. For the adventurous type, there is plenty to see and do and this campground makes for the perfect base.
If you are “peak bagging”, then you will be happy to know that there are plenty of accessible peaks to climb in the summer months however if you are planning to add Mount Robson to your bag think again! Mount Robson stands proud at 3,959-meters (12,989-feet) and is a tough climb even for the more experienced hiker. There are sections that will require advanced ice climbing skills to reach its summit, so unless you have got the experience it is best admired from the ground or one of its surrounding peaks. If you are keen and want to reach Robson’s summit, then make sure to find yourself a guide and head out in a group.
Swan Lake Campground is located around four hours east of Vancouver on Lake Shuswap. This campground is a great all-rounder for the family, group of friends, solo hiker, or adventure seeker. There is so much to do in the area, and this is an excellent place to go no matter what season it is. If you love heading out to the lake during the summer for tanning, swimming, and water sports, then you will love this campground. You can rent anything around here from houseboats to paddleboards and once you are out on the water there is so much to explore!
The lake is famed for its extensive water sports and lakeside beaches but there is much more than lake lounging to do around this area, so if you are looking for somewhere to go in the off-season don’t rule Swan Lake out. There is a plethora of trails to hike even during the winter months, just be sure to head out in pairs or groups and monitor the weather closely. There are also some fantastic opportunities for off-season fishing here with the lake boasting large northern pike and bull trout.
Overall, Swan Lake Campground is a great place to go for people of all ages and interests. It is easily accessible, and the pitches are spaced out beautifully, giving you the feeling that you are camping in the wilderness rather than stacked up in rows with other tourists. Just be sure that you book this one well in advance as spots book up fast during the peak season. If you are planning a trip in the offseason, be sure to call ahead of time to ensure the campground is open as they do close their gates in poor weather.
If you are looking for a beach vacation in the summer or you love getting out surfing in the blue waters of the West Coast, then Bella Pacifica is the place to be. Located in Tofino around 5 hours from Vancouver, Bella offers an island feel with crystal-clear waters and golden beaches. This is one of the top places to relax and unwind during the summer in British Columbia and undoubtedly the best place to catch a suntan in Canada.
The campsite is located in a forest on the edge of Makenzie beach and it is possible to set up camp within the trees and on the beachfront. There is plenty to do on the beach, in the water, and in the forest. If you love surfing this is the place to be as Tofino has some of the best surfing in Canada! If surfing isn’t your thing, you can head out on one of the many boats for whale watching, visit the beautiful botanical gardens, admire the towering redwoods on the Big Tree Trail, or simply relax on the beach.
This one is truly for the adventurers and explorers out there. The Wells Gray Provincial Park is one of the best places to go back-country camping in the Canadian wilderness. Although this isn’t a standalone campsite, the park itself features many places to pitch a tent and set up camp or park up a truck for some overland camping.
The park is located just five hours from Vancouver in the Northeast, and it is stunning at any time of the year. During the Spring you will witness the first flowering blossoms, in the Summer you will find everything in full bloom, in the Autumn the forests light up with fall colors, and in the Winter the surroundings become silent with snow. Whatever time of the year you decide to head out you are guaranteed to be met with beauty.
If you love hiking, then the Wells Gray Provincial Park is the place to be. There are plenty of trails to tackle with huge rewards and viewpoints. The park is full of stunning waterfalls with the most famous being Helmcken Falls which is an absolute must-see if you are in the area. Helmcken is a 141-meter (463-foot) waterfall on the Murtle River and it is breathtaking at any time of the year but in the winter, it is especially impressive!
Looking for a road trip that will stay vivid in your mind forever? The Great Northern Circle Route is the road trip for you! Again, this is not a specific campsite, but it certainly has some of the best camping in BC along its route. There are plenty of stunning places to pitch a tent on this 10-day road trip with multiple opportunities for back-country camping and established camp-ground camping alike. This route is definitely one to remember and it is something that every outdoor lover in Canada should do at least once.
You will need a reliable vehicle for this trip and something with off-road capabilities will suit you best because it opens up heaps of locations that the normal tourist can’t access. If you are looking to take on this epic journey and need a reliable overlander to take you here there and everywhere safely, then why not check out the vehicles we have for rent.
This is the ultimate camping expedition for those that want to see a little bit of everything that the province of British Columbia has to offer. You will see the beautiful coastline, the lush forests, the towering peaks, and magnificent waterfalls on this journey. Although you will be lost for words at the sights you see on this road trip you will have plenty to talk about when you get back home to your family and friends!
The route is made up of 9 parts that are best completed over 10-days or more for the best experience and enjoyment of each location. Honestly, you could travel this route for weeks on end exploring each location intensely, but most of us do not have that much time to spare. 10-days on the other hand is time that most of us can take out of the rat race to unwind in the clean air of BC! Below is a list of the 9 stages of the route so you can check out the locations more in-depth. If you are looking for a great summary of the whole trip check out this handy guide that is complete with driving directions!