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5 Great Places to Camp in BC This Season

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Impressive scenery, sunny days, and warm evenings make summer a popular time for camping in British Columbia. Here are five great places you may not have considered.

 

Croteau Lake, Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island | BC Parks/Andy Smith

Croteau Lake, Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is home to spectacular sites to stay. Strathcona Provincial Park, BC’s oldest provincial park, is the location for BC Parks’ newest group campsite at Croteau Lake. It’s an easy to moderate (1.5- to 2-hour) hike to the Forbidden Plateau, where there are 12 raised tent pads, two bear-proof caches, and a small dock for water access. Overlooking a beautiful pristine lake and surrounded by amazing views of Mount Albert Edward, Castlecrag Mountain, and Mounts Frink and Elma, the group campsite also has a day-use yurt facility for food preparation, eating, and socializing. It’s available by reservation only.

Lakelse Lake Provincial Park, Northern British Columbia

Wildlife watching opportunities abound at Furlong Bay Campground in Lakelse Lake Provincial Park, Northern British Columbia. In addition to 156 sites (50 of them with electrical hookups), the campground features sandy beaches and a roped-off swimming area in the lake. Old-growth cedar, hemlock, and Sitka spruce can be seen on easy one- and two-km (.6 and 1.2-mi) nature trails, where you might also spot some of the 100 bird species that have been seen in the area—from bald eagles and ospreys to trumpeter swans. Adventurous visitors can try water skiing, windsurfing, fishing, canoeing, and sailing on the lake.

Moyie Lake Provincial Park | BC Parks/ Iain Robert Reid

Moyie Lake Provincial Park, Kootenay Rockies

Families can find a summer vacation getaway at the Kootenay Rockies’ Moyie Lake Provincial Park campsite. It features reservable and first-come, first-served sites, as well as an adventure playground, 1,300 m (0.8 mi) of sandy beach with a shallow and buoyed swimming area, a boat launch, and a large play and picnic area. Two nearby nature trails offer wildlife and bird viewing and Moyie Lake is ideal for fishing (especially Kokanee and lingcod), canoeing, kayaking, and windsurfing.

BC Ferries sailing through the Sunshine Coast | Andrew Strain

Saltery Bay Provincial Park, Sunshine Coast

Mermaid Cove is home to a quiet campground surrounded by lush forest in the Sunshine Coast’s Saltery Bay Provincial Park. Sites are a combination of reservable and first-come, first-served. Low tide exposes a rocky shoreline where tidal pools are home to starfish, sea urchins, and crabs. Underwater explorers come to see the park’s submerged bronze mermaid statue. A diver change house and cold showers are available. Orca, sea lions, seals, otters, seabirds, and eagles can often be viewed from the beach. All the campsites are wheelchair accessible and there is an access ramp at Mermaid Cove for persons with disabilities who wish to scuba dive.

Big Bar Lake Provincial Park | BC Parks/ Iain Robert Reid

Big Bar Lake Provincial Park, southern Cariboo

Two vehicle-accessible campgrounds in Big Bar Lake Provincial Park offer reservable and first-come, first-served sites, surrounded by lodgepole pine and spruce trees, in a typically southern Cariboo picturesque lakeside location. Big Bar Lake has some of the best fishing opportunities in the province, with abundant rainbow trout found in the 4.8 km- (3 mi-) long lake year round (especially between May and July).  Family-friendly facilities include an adventure playground, a day-use picnic area, and an interpretive trail through wetlands.

 

You can make camping reservations for provincial parks camptsites in advance at BC Parks.  For more camping options, see the Camping and RVing British Columbia Coalition.

No matter what outdoor activity you are planning, be prepared. AdventureSmart and Leave No Trace are great resources to help you get informed before heading outdoors. Follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials.

Header image: Croteau Lake, Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island | BC Parks/Andy Smith

POSTED BY: Amy Watkins

From: Vancouver
Amy Watkins, a British-born travel and food writer, fell in love with Vancouver at the age of 18. She has travelled the world, but her steadfast love of the West Coast led her to move here in 2012. In the UK she worked as a features editor and freelance writer for 10 years, writing about travel for magazines and newspapers. She now writes about travel, food, and West Coast life for a variety of publications. When she’s not on her laptop, she can be found exploring Stanley Park or hiking in the rainforest with her bulldog, Rick James; tackling waves and tacos in Tofino; or eating her way around the province on a food-focused road trip. Amy has even been persuaded to eat kale chips and practise yoga—making her an honorary Vancouverite.

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