The west coast is spoiled with hundreds of excellent campgrounds, so finding the best camping in BC depends a lot on the expectations and experience level of the people you’re camping with.
First time camping? Stick to vehicle-accessible campgrounds with toilets and fresh drinking water.
Looking to escape civilization? Strap your tent on your back and hike far outside of cell service to a backcountry campground. Just make sure you do your research and pack the right gear to have a safe trip!
1. Best BC campground for the novice camper
Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park
With its old growth Douglas fir trees, a wide sandy beach and shallow sun-warmed ocean, Rathtrevor is one of BC’s top campsites. It’s close to Parksville and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island if you want to pick up lunch from a restaurant, without being too close to the hustle and bustle when you snuggle in your sleeping back at the end of the night.
BC Provincial Park Campgrounds are generally well serviced, easily accessible and nestled in serene natural settings. That makes them a great choice for first-time campers — just don’t forget your reservation!
Don’t see campsites available at the campground you’re interested in? Try switching your arrival date, and check back often. Frontcountry campsite reservations can be made up to two months in advance, plus cancellations repopulate in the reservations system, so new spots open up every day.
BC Parks recently made upgrades to the reservations system, but if you still find you’re frustrated, don’t despair. Many provincial parks also offer first-come first-served sites for those without a reservation.
- Porteau Cove, about an hour from Vancouver
- Shuswap Lake, a gorgeous freshwater lake campground, one hour east of Kamloops
2. Best BC campground for extreme adventurers
Tin Hat Mountain Hut
It’s a gruelling climb into the backcountry, but at least you don’t need to carry a tent! Tin Hat Mountain Hut is a fully winterized cabin along the Sunshine Coast Trail near Powell River, offering panoramic views of the rugged peaks and lush valleys on the Sunshine Coast. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water and warm clothes for a chilly night on the summit.
Hiking to Tin Hat Mountain is only half the adventure — riding the BC Ferry up the Sunshine Coast to Saltery Bay is an experience in itself, and it’s a big part of what makes this region so special.
3. Best bucket list BC campground
Sunset Park, Haida Gwaii
At the midpoint between Queen Charlotte and Masset on Haida Gwaii you’ll find the cosy Sunset Park campground in Port Clements. Sites are big enough for RVs and well treed to give tenters privacy. Take a short walk to the Bird Tower for a stunning view of the Yakoun River Estuary, and use the campground as a home base while you explore the rest of the island.
The campground is easy to access once you’re on Haida Gwaii, you just have to drive to Prince Rupert and ride a seven hour ferry first!
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