A camping or RV trip to Vancouver Island is the perfect way to explore all the islands’ nooks and crannies. Where do you go when there are over 150 provincial parks, two national parks, hundreds of recreation sites, and dozens of private campgrounds to choose from? Check out our Campground and RV partners below, or find out more about all the different ways to camp on and around Vancouver Island.
Types of Camping
Camping on Vancouver Island is the best way to experience the outdoors on the west coast, and there are endless options to choose from when deciding how you’d like to sleep under the stars. From do-it-yourself experiences of backpacking along sandy beaches to the cozy comforts of glamping in a manicured tent. Learn more about the different types of camping on Vancouver Island to find what inspires you in our guide.
CAMPING AT PROVINCIAL PARKS, NATIONAL PARKS, & PRIVATE PARKS
Being the easiest to organize and set up, front country camping is the most popular camping experience in BC. On Vancouver Island, visitors can choose from campsites in provincial, national, or private parks. Drive right into your site, pitch a tent (or park an RV), and you’re camping.
For other camping and RV providers, please see the listings section of this page.
MULTI-DAY BACKPACKING TRAILS
Up for a challenge? There are a number of multi-day hiking routes on Vancouver Island that can take you into remote backcountry camping areas. Wake up to the sound of the ocean crashing on the beach, tucked into a hidden inlet on a secluded island, or on the banks of an alpine lake.
The most famous route on the Island is the West Coast Trail and reservations book up quickly but there are many other multi-day hikes worth checking out.
The Nootka Trail is a 44km (25 mi) hike on remote Nootka Island. This trip takes plenty of pre-planning and experience but is worth the effort for dedicated backpackers.
The West Coast Trail’s sister route, the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, offers remote beaches and untamed rainforest without the crowds. On this route, Mystic Beach rewards hikers with a waterfall that plunges into the ocean.
For a really remote experience, head for Cape Scott Provincial Park and the North Coast Trail, where you can hike along more than 40 km (25 mi) of trail. Camp on secluded beaches that dot the most northwestern tip of Vancouver Island.
Prefer the alpine? Head for Strathcona Provincial Park and hike through the Forbidden Plateau to summit Mount Albert Edward before camping at Circlet Lake.
Prefer to get a little closer to nature and camp without the sound and distraction of vehicles? Many provincial parks on the island offer walk-in campsites, a great way to get a little deeper into the wilderness. Many of the sites are less than a 1 km walk-in and come with wheelbarrows for transporting your gear to and from the parking lot.
Head for Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island for walk-in sites that overlook the ocean. While camping here, spot whales and other sea life from your tent. This park is a great base for bike-packing campers, too. Ride onto the ferry and explore Salt Spring Island by bike while basing yourself at Ruckle.
In Ucluelet, campers can stay at Wya Point Resort. This resort sits on 600 acres of Ucluelet First Nation’s traditional territory and features walk-in sites beside the ocean. Be sure to check out the First Nations-owned and operated Way Point Surf Shop for surf lessons and rentals while here, too.
PADDLE, BOAT, AND FERRY-ACCESS CAMPING
What can get more remote than paddling to your campsite? On Vancouver Island, visitors can kayak, canoe, boat, or ferry to campsites on remote islands, in hidden inlets, or the far reaches of secluded lakes.
In Clayoquot Sound, north of Tofino, the Hesquiaht First Nation own and operate Hot Springs Cove Resort & Campground, accessible by water taxi, private boat, or floatplane. Set up camp here before following a boardwalk through the rainforest to soak in the natural mineral pools of Hot Springs Cove.
In the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, boaters and kayakers can check out Sidney Spit Campground, on the north end of Sidney Island for family-friendly camping with sandy beaches, trails, and marine life.
Sea kayakers will find that another archipelago, the Broken Group Islands, is perfect for exploring crystal-clear waters and sheltered bays.
Part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, paddlers have a chance to camp at eight different campsites while on a multi-day kayaking adventure.
To avoid the crowds of peak season, try visiting this park in May, June, or September.