Be prepared to book campsites this year with these in-depth tips and tricks to ensure the best experience.

      

Whether front-country, backcountry, cabin or RV camping, demand for campsites has steadily soared in recent years, making snagging a reservation at national parks a competitive sport. In 2024, reservations on the Parks Canada website launch on January 19, and here are some ways to increase your chances of scoring a reservation.

      

Mark Your Calendar

Parks Canada has implemented staggered launch dates to prevent the reservation system from overloading and crashing. These dates vary by location, with the first wave of reservations opening as early as January 19, 2024, for Fort Langley National Historic Site, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Glacier National Park, Mount Revelstoke National Park and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Click here to see when your desired location opens for booking.Vivian Chung

      

Get in the Virtual Queue

To provide an equal opportunity for as many campers as possible to secure reservations, Parks Canada has implemented a virtual queue that opens at 8 a.m. on launch day (8:30 a.m. for reservations in Newfoundland and Labrador). If you’re browsing on the Parks Canada website 30 minutes before reservations open, you’ll be directed to a waiting page. At 8/8:30 a.m., you’ll be randomly assigned a place in the virtual queue and have 30 minutes to complete your reservation before your spot is given to the next person. Those visiting the Parks Canada website after 8/8:30 a.m. will be given a spot at the end of the virtual queue.

     

Have Your Account Ready

If you haven’t made a reservation since the updated system launched on March 3, 2023, or are looking to head out on your first camping trip this summer, you’ll need to make an account on the Parks Canada website. To ensure your account is ready for use when reservations open, click here to create your profile by filling out the required fields including your name and contact information. If you already have an account, double-check that all essential information is up to date to save time when making a reservation.Unsplash

      

Familiarize Yourself with the Booking System

If you’re new to the website, explore the platform by taking the time to click around before reservations launch. Search for your desired parks, sort campsites by map, list or calendar layouts and experiment with the filter options. Knowing how the reservation system works ahead of time allows you to navigate it more efficiently when the booking period begins.

      

Research Campgrounds Ahead of Time

To expedite the booking process, familiarize yourself with the layout of your desired campgrounds and preselect your preferred sites. Make a backup plan by preselecting several other sites at the campground. In case you’re unable to reserve a single campsite for a multi-night stay, consider making several one-night reservations at different campsites within the same campground.Unsplash

     

Be Flexible with Dates and Locations

Prepare backup date options for specific campgrounds in case your first choice is unavailable and be flexible by considering weekdays instead of weekends, if you can, to increase your chances of securing a reservation. Additionally, explore different campgrounds within the park as some may see fewer crowds compared to others. Campgrounds and parks farther from major cities will likely be less busy, so plan a road trip if you can.

     

Be Flexible with Amenities

While electrical hookups, hot showers and flush toilets make camping more convenient, being flexible about these amenities will significantly increase your chances of securing a campsite—especially in high-demand parks or during busy weekends. Try a walk-in campsite and make sure the number of tents you'll bring matches the campsite you've chosen.Unsplash

      

There’s a Limit

To ensure fair access to campgrounds, a maximum of five campsites can be placed in your cart before proceeding to check out. You can still make multiple reservations for the same date as long as a different primary camper is named for each site. Only book the campsites you actually intend to use, leaving enough for all campers who want to enjoy Canada's outdoors to get a spot.

     

Explore a New Park

Highly popular parks like Jasper and Banff fill up quickly each year. But some alternatives are also worth checking out. Consider places like Yoho National Park and Glacier National Park instead. Both showcase stunning landscapes with majestic mountains, waterfalls and pristine alpine lakes and make for more secluded experiences and a more intimate connection with nature.Vivian Chung

     

Monitor for Cancellations

Keep a close eye on the Parks Canada website for cancellations and be ready to snatch up any available sites—which can sometimes mean going on spontaneous camping trips instead of planning for them in advance. You can also streamline the process by using Campnab, a tool that actively monitors over 350,000 campsites across provincial, national and regional parks in Canada and the United States. After selecting your preferred dates, campsite and length of stay, Campnab conveniently provides you with a heads-up via text when there’s a cancellation that meets your requirements. While Campnab doesn't directly book campsites, it serves as an alert system and monthly membership fees run between $10 and $30 depending on your needs.

     

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