Vancouver Island is a perfect camping destination with seemingly endless wilderness in form of forests and mountains, and wonderfully maintained provincial and local parks. Whether you enjoy rugged, backcountry camping, or want the comforts of showers, toilets and fire pits, there’s a tent (or RV/Camper) spot waiting for you on Vancouver Island.
Top Spots to Camp
Just outside of Victoria there are some great campgrounds. Some have full RV hookups and ocean views, while others are tucked away in the temperate rainforest with great access to mountain and forest trails. As a bonus, the capital of B.C. and largest city on Vancouver Island is just a hop away in case you need a break from all the wilderness stuff.
Learn more about Victoria at this website: www.VictoriaBC.ca
Juan de Fuca Straight
A couple hours’ drive outside of Victoria, the Juan de Fuca Straight is riddled with provincial parks, incredibly up kept campgrounds and stunning, sometimes surf-able, beaches. Explore French Beach, China Beach, Mystic Beach, Sombrio and Jordan River for some quality ocean time and great camping.
The Pacific Rim, namely Tofino and Ucluelet, are one of the top summer destinations on Vancouver Island. There are plenty of campgrounds – provincial, local, ocean view, rainforest, with hookups, with hot tubs, or rugged and remote – to suit absolutely any need. Some have access to stunning, endless sandy beaches and there is so much to do in the area, you will only want to be in your tent to sleep. Just bring tarps, as there can be lots of rain even in the summer.
Discover Tofino here: www.Tofino-Info.com
Learn more about Ucluelet here: www.Ucluelet-Info.com
The Comox Valley and the way out to Campbell River has a number of charming campgrounds to spend the night. Check out Miracle Beach for a family friendly area with plenty of trails and beach activities. Areas like Bates Beach show off a lesser known beach and access to Seal Bay Park, and Pacific Playgrounds is a dream for RV-ers. Most campgrounds, provincial or otherwise, have beach access. There’s also Paradise Meadows on Mount Washington and Strathcona to give those backcountry goers their fill of overnight hiking expeditions.
For more on the Comox Valley: www.discovervancouverisland.com/regions/north-central/courtenay-comox/
Oceanside, or lakeside, Campbell River has great options for tenting and RV-ing. Whether you want to be right in town or out farther into the bush, there are a few great options. The ones closer to town are typically ocean front, while places like Loveland Bay are a bit of a trek, but located on the edge of a beautiful lake.
For more on Campbell River: www.discovervancouverisland.com/regions/north-central/campbell-river/
Quadra, Cortez, Denman, Hornby and Salt Spring are all fantastic destinations within the Gulf Islands off the east coast of Vancouver Island. With plentiful Farmer’s Markets, organic farms, wineries and tons of other goodies scattered around each, as well as hikes and ocean activities like kayaking, they’re a great camping destination. Some campgrounds feature basic amenities, while others are provincial parks with everything you need.
Learn about the Gulf Islands: www.discovervancouverisland.com/regions/gulf-islands/
To reach the northern tip of Vancouver Island, many visitors opt to take the hiking route – The Cape Scott Trail. Relatively famous, the trail features a number of raised tenting platforms in areas, and soft beaches to pitch a tent on. Stunning beaches and a lighthouse, as well as an adventure of a lifetime wait for those who embark on the trail.
Discover the Cape Scott Trail here: www.discovervancouverisland.com/overnight-hikes-by-region/north-island/cape-scott-trail/
Tips to Camping on Vancouver Island
With some relatively remote camping areas available, there are some important things to keep in mind.
- Be Bear Aware
-Learn what to do if you encounter a bear
-Know how to make a bear cache and keep food away from where you sleep
-Refrain from packing overly smelly foods/products
- Know your Trail
-There are plenty of backcountry routes + mountain summits
-Know where you’re going and bring a map
- Tarps, tarps, tarps
-Temperate, but rainy means you could get wet
-Tarp your tent and the ground to stay dry
- Know the Risks
-Plenty of other wildlife live on Vancouver Island
-Learn about cougars and wolves and what to do if you encounter them
-Learn wilderness safety
-Never hike alone
As far as accommodation goes, camping is basic, fun and is the easiest way to get back-to-nature. Plus, it offers a true Vancouver Island/West Coast experience. As long as you’re prepared, all you have to do is dive into nature and enjoy nature at its finest, wildest and most replenishing.