This article was written in partnership with Far Out Wilderness.
Many people raise an eyebrow at the thought of camping in this cooler, and sometimes wetter, time of the year, but trust us, they don’t know what they’re missing. Every year, fall captures our hearts and wins the prize for the best camping season of the year, and here’s why!
Here are a few of our favourite reasons why camping on Vancouver Island is awesome in the Fall:
With the kids back at school and the summer campers safely back at home, some of the best spots are now up for grabs. Whether you are looking for a backcountry rec site or a campsite at one of the more popular provincial park campgrounds, you will be more likely to find exactly what you’re looking for in this season.
Hallelujah, it’s that time of year again! Vancouver Island has an incredible craft beer scene and we’re very lucky to have a host of local breweries all creating seasonal beers. With pumpkin ales, stouts and porters back on the menu, a fall camping trip cries out for a day of adventurous activity followed by some R&R with your favourite local brew.
With the warm days and cool nights, comfort foods are at the front and centre of the camping menu. Let your mornings begin with hot coffee and a hearty breakfast, and if you’re looking for a chill afternoon puttering around camp then we really recommend setting up a nice slow-cooked beef stew in a cast iron pot over the fire. Best of all, wildfire dangers usually subside after September, so campfires are permitted in most places for some good old-fashioned roasting.
Seasonal Wildlife Spectacles
The salmon spawning season is a spectacle, but it also has the added benefit of bringing other wildlife to the rivers. During September and October, you will find that eagles and black bears are readily seen along rivers and if you are on the ocean, our northern resident orcas also follow the salmon run.
Tip: If you do encounter wildlife, please admire it from afar and never entice wild animals with food.
When it comes to exploring the fall colours and foliage, you don’t have to venture far to witness the trees turning brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. On the Island, Tofino looks particularly spectacular in the fall, as does Port Renfrew. So, pack your boots and get ready to kick your feet in the great leaf piles!
Benefits of Camping In A RoofTop Tent?
For those of you looking to explore the wilder side of Vancouver Island, we highly recommend an adventure with a rooftop tent. A backcountry adventure brings freedom, fun and exhilaration like you’ve never experienced before. Trust us, you won’t regret it!
No need to lock yourself into a campsite booking months in advance. You may not even know where you’re sleeping from one day to the next! Just hop in your vehicle and go. You’ll learn to embrace and appreciate a bit of uncertainty once you start exploring the hidden gems that Vancouver Island has to offer adventurous campers like you.
Rooftop tents remind us of treehouses — great fun for grown-ups and kids alike. Your little darlings will love climbing the ladder and cozying up at bedtime. Adults love the opportunity to open the skylights for stargazing or watching the sunrise. If you’re looking for rest and relaxation, slide off to dreamland knowing that the thick canvas walls of your rooftop tent function like blackout curtains.
There’s nothing like getting away from the thrum of the city and out into nature, filling your senses with the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of our incredible outdoors. Once you and your loved ones have made camp and settled around the campfire, telling tall tales or roasting marshmallows, you might be able to watch your everyday worries drift skyward in one of the thin plumes of smoke.
Where to Take a RoofTop Tent on Vancouver Island This Fall
The best remote camping spots are those found on forest service roads, and Vancouver Island has an abundance of hidden gems just waiting to be explored. Here are a few of our favourite fall camping spots:
Flora Lake Rec Site
Situated between Port Alberni and Bamfield, this is a great spot to set up and enjoy the lake with some fishing, SUPs and for the brave amongst you, a quick swim.
160 kilometres from Victoria; 2 hours, 34 minutes driving time. Official Website.
Vernon Lake Rec Site
Get a lakeside spot with an incredible view. This rec site is a couple of hours down a forest service road, making it a quieter spot to camp. For some great coffee in bed views, make sure to set up your roof top tent facing the lake!
406 kilometres from Victoria; 4 hours, 44 minutes driving time. Official Website.
Take time to explore the backroads: there are many ‘pull-in’ wilderness spots to be found, and some incredible lakeside camping spots at the rec sites in this area.
229 kilometres from Victoria; 3 hours, 33 minutes driving time. Official Website.
Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park
This remote, stunning old-growth forest makes it one of the best hidden gems on the island. Get to the area early and explore the forest service roads to find yourself a wilderness camping spot, there are some incredible views to be found!
184 kilometres from Victoria; 3 hours, 04 minutes driving time. Official Website.
Ralph River Provincial Park Campground
Situated in Strathcona Provincial Park, this campground will gain you access to some fantastic hiking! Bedwell Lake is a particular favorite. Myra Falls is also well worth a visit, just 10 kms from camp.
338 kilometres from Victoria; 4 hours, 06 minutes driving time. Official Website.
Look no further! Greater Victoria is home to both FarOut Wilderness and Vancouver Island Roof Top Tents. FarOut Wilderness specializes in overland vehicle rentals and tailor-made itineraries whereas Vancouver Island Roof Top Tents specializes in rooftop tent rentals and sales. Both are owned and operated by Sam and Abbie Morris, who have years of wilderness camping experience and are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to finding those hidden gems on Vancouver Island.
Author: Abbie Morris, Founder of FarOut Wilderness and Vancouver Island Roof Top Tents