I love camping! There are a plethora of beautiful campgrounds and scenic spots to pitch a tent near Vancouver. Here are just 12 of our favourites:
Alison Karlene Hodgins
Alice Lake, Alice Lake Provincial Park
As a base for exploring north of Squamish, you can’t go wrong with Alice Lake. Spend a day lounging on the sandy beach or adventuring on a hike through dense forest. Facilities include flush toilets and hot showers. There is also a bike/skate skills park, playground and picnic tables.
Alouette Lake, Golden Ears Provincial Park
There are three vehicle accessible campgrounds in Golden Ears, of which Alouette is the largest. Choose a site close to the lake for easy access to the swimming beach or opt for the far side of the campground for peace and quiet in the trees. Make your reservation well in advance because campsites will go fast!
Sunnyside Campground, Cultus Lake Provincial Park
Close to Chilliwack, this campground offers access to motorboat-friendly Cultus Lake. With an on-site waterpark, it’s a favourite for families with young kids. Hike the Teapot Trail while you’re there. If this campground is full, try the nearby Vedder River Campground instead.
Kilby Provincial Park, Fraser Valley
North of Chilliwack is a campground with waterfront sites, a boat launch and 35 campsites. Within walking distance is a museum and historic site that showcases BC’s rural history. The general store will take you back in time to the once-thriving community of Harrison Mills.
Rolley Lake Provincial Park, Mission
There are 64 campsites surrounded by tall conifer trees and a small, lukewarm lake with a sandy beach. Campers can swim, float, fish, canoe and hike in the area. Reservations are required in advance. If this campground is full, try camping at nearby Stave Lake instead.
Cheakamus Lake/Singing Creek in Garibaldi PP
One of editor David Webb’s favourite campgrounds in the Sea to Sky, Cheakamus Lake is an easy three-kilometre walk-in along a gentle trail from the parking lot, which is accessed from Function Junction, near Whistler. Pit toilets and bear hangs are available. If Cheakamus is too busy, Singing Creek is four kilometres farther on the same trail, and is often empty. Make a backcountry reservation and keep your permit handy.
Lindeman Lake, Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park
Hiking to the stunning Lindeman Lake is a bit of an uphill grind across rocks and roots, but emerging at the peaceful, turquoise-tinted lake makes it all worth it. Set up on a tent pad and practice leave no trace principles, as there are no garbage facilities. There is one pit toilet and one bear cache available.
Mount Seymour Provincial Park
Incredible vistas, chilly lakes and abundant wildlife are all found in this area, prime for walk-in only backcountry/wilderness camping. There are no designated sites, so choose carefully to avoid damaging the environment. At time of publication, there is no fee for camping here in the winter or summer months. Check the website for updates.
Staying overnight is one of the only ways to experience these three stunning blue lakes without crowds of people. Choose a spot from the 26 tent pads at Upper Joffre Lake. There is a bear-proof storage unit and urine diversion toilet, but no toilet paper. Pack out everything you packed in, and enjoy a refreshing “shower” at Middle Joffre Lake on your way down, if you’re brave enough.
Taylor Meadows, Garibaldi
Along the way to Garibaldi Lake, you’ll encounter switchbacks, fields of wildflowers and tons of adventurers taking lots of photographs. Make it an overnight adventure and dump your bags at a tent pad in the Taylor Meadows backcountry campground before continuing up to Panorama Ridge or Black Tusk. Enjoy dinner at Garibaldi lake while soaking in the stunning views.
Ruth Hartnup Flickr cc by 2.0
Nairn Campground, Nairn Falls Park
Close to Pemberton, this campground offers 34 sites on a first-come, first-serve basis. The jaw-dropping 60-metre-tall waterfall is only a 1.5-kilometre hike from the entrance, along a narrow dirt path next to the river. If you want to ensure your camping spot, consider booking one of the reservable sites ahead of time.
Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park
There are 40 first-come, first-serve sites to choose from at this campground 90 kilometres north of Whistler. Fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking and biking are popular activities at this park. Facilities are limited to pit toilets. Rent a canoe and paddle the lake or relax on the beach without cell reception. Don’t forget to store your food in a bear-safe location.