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Camping in Vancouver

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Camping in Vancouver

There's really nothing quite like spending the whole day surrounded by nature, wildlife, and the peacefulness that comes with camping. 

We're campers ourselves, and we understand that a campfire in your backyard is not quite the same as being out in the wilderness. 

We enjoy our fires while hearing insects chirping and the crackling of wood. If these sound good to you, then keep reading because we'll tell you everything you need to know about camping in Vancouver.

Can I camp in Vancouver?

Camping is one of the most popular activities in Vancouver and is one of the top five most popular outdoor activities in Canada. You can even go wild camping, as it's legal in British Columbia (BC). 

However, you're not allowed to just pitch a tent and camp anywhere.There are designated campgrounds and backcountry areas where you can set up your tent and enjoy the beauty of nature.

These designated areas ensure that camping is done in a responsible and sustainable manner, preserving the environment for future generations to enjoy.

In Vancouver, camping permits are required for all overnight stays in city parks. These permits can be obtained from BC Parks. Book in advance as availability may be limited, especially during peak camping seasons (May, June and September).

However, there are multiple backcountry campsites in BC Parks that don't require backcountry permits or reservations, so if you plan on going for those, make sure to check the specific park's regulations and availability.

Can I camp in Vancouver
(Image by Vancouver Island via https://vancouverisland.travel/)

Camping Rules in Vancouver

Camping Rules in Vancouver
(Image by BC Parks via https://bcparks.ca/)
  • No camping for more than 14 consecutive days: Failure to comply may require you to appear in court and pay fines up to $25,000 based on the Canada National Parks Act.
  • Don’t build long-term structures: This pertains to permanent cabins or sheds.
  • “No-trace” camping: Leave your site in the same condition you found it.
  • Quiet down between 11pm to 7am: Campers must observe silence between the hours of 11pm to 7am as respect to other campers who may be sleeping.
  • No firearms and fireworks allowed: Do not discharge fireworks, guns, bows, traps, or any other type of weapon or explosive devices while camping.
  • Slow down: a 20 km/h speed is enforced within recreational sites in BC.
  • Keep in mind the size of your campfire: under BC law, a fire cannot be more than 0.5 meters high or 0.5 meters in diameter.
  • Keep water close: make sure at least eight liters of water is close by when you light a campfire.
  • Get the required permits: Whether you’re having your annual family games or you’re setting up a large event, make sure to obtain any necessary permits from the appropriate authorities.

For more information on rules for recreational sites and trails in BC, check out their website.

Best Time to Go Camping in Vancouver

The best time to go camping in Vancouver is during the summer months of July through September. However, expect that it gets quite crowded during this time, as many people take advantage of the pleasant weather so get a reservation if you can.

Where to Camp in and around Vancouver

Note that all these campsites are within two hours of Vancouer, so don’t worry about long travel times. Not that far, right? So maybe consider exploring these campsites on your next weekend getaway!

1. Alice Lake Provincial Park

Alice Lake Provincial Park
(Image by the Squamish Chief via https://www.squamishchief.com/)

Address: BC-99, Squamish, BC V0N 1H0, Canada

Phone: +1 604-986-9371

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Friday: 8:30 am to 8:30 pm
  • Saturday to Sunday: Open 24 hours

Park rates and fees

About an hour away from North Vancouver, Alice Lake Provincial Park definitely tops the charts in terms of natural beauty and outdoor recreational activities. Here you get hiking trails and lovely beaches, along with excellent camping facilities.

Alice Lake Park’s camping facilities have tents and RV sites with electrical hookups, picnic sites, pit toilets, shower facilities, and many more. The park also has an extensive bike trail system.

How to Get Here

Take Highway 99 and turn right onto Alice Lake Road, which is 13 km north of Squamish. Keep driving and follow the signs to the parking lot.

2. Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park
(Image by BC Parks via https://bcparks.ca/)

Address: Trans Canada Trail, Rosedale, BC V0X 1X0, Canada

Phone: +1 604-986-9371

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday: Open 24 hours

Park rates and fees

This may be a bit further, but listen, it’s well worth it. This park has a valley-bottom lake (the water’s cold, so maybe bring a wetsuit), where you can do all sorts of water activities like swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and many more.

It also has 182 frontcountry camp sites and access to backcountry camps at Greendrop, Lindeman, Flora, and Radium Lakes. 

This park’s camping facilities include pit toilets and a sani-station, but fair warning: Chilliwack Lake Park doesn’t have flush toilets or showers, but there are taps with safe drinking water. 

How to Get Here

Take Exit 104 from Highway 1 and follow the signs for Cultus Lake. But instead of turning at Cultus Lake Road, follow Vedder Road and take a right onto Chilliwack Lake Road. This road runs for 40 km before you reach the lake.

3. Golden Ears

Golden Ears
(Image by BC Parks via https://bcparks.ca/)

Address: 24480 Fern Crescent, Maple Ridge, BC V4R 2S1, Canada

Phone: +1 604-466-8325

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday: 7am to11 pm

Park rates and fees

Although we’ve never really seen ears here, Golden Ears Park is actually a go-to campsite for RV campers as it has three separate vehicle-accessible campgrounds:  Alouette, Gold Creek, and North Beach.

All three campsites have pit toilets, but Noth Beach doesn’t have flushable ones or shower facilities, so that’s good to know if you prefer the convenience of having those.

At Alouette, there’s a paved boat launch where you can access the Lake for fishing or boating activities. Gold Creek has a riverside beach where you can picnic or simply relax.

There’s also numerous metal rings where you can start campfires on all three campgrounds and water taps are scattered throughout the park (except during winter).

How to Get Here

From Vancouver, drive east and merge onto Highway 1. Take the Mary Hill Bypass/BC-7B to Pitt Meadows along Lougheed Highway, then exit to Golden Ears Way.

Once you reach Abernethy Way, turn left to 224 St. then take a right to 132 Avenue, then another right onto 232 Street. You’ll find yourself in a roundabout then drive to the 2nd exit onto 132 Ave/Fern Crescent and continue to Golden Ears Parkway.

4. Kilby Park

Kilby Park
(Image by Kilby Park via https://kilby.ca/)

Address: 215 Kilby Rd, Harrison Mills, BC V0M 1L0, Canada

Phone: +1 604-796-9576

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday: 7am to 7pm

Park rates and fees

While this campsite is fairly small, Kilby Park is quite pretty, with about 41 campsites, nature trails, a large beach, and a boat launch. This park’s open year-round and it’s just within walking distance of the Kilby Historic Site.

It’s also got pit toilets, potable water, and picnic tables, but there are no shower facilities here. You can reserve campsites among trees at the park or near the beach, but the sites are close to each other so privacy may be limited.

How to Get Here

Take Highway 1 and take exit 44 toward Coquitlam City Centre/Maple Ridge. Then keep left at the fork and follow the signs for Maple Ridge/BC-7B E/United Blvd.

Keep driving towards Mary Hill Bypass/BC-7B, then merge onto Lougheed Hwy./BC-7 E. Take a right to 222 St/BC-7 and continue driving on BC-7 E then take a right to School Rd, then finally, another right to Kilby Rd.

5. Goldstream Provincial Park

Goldstream Provincial Park
(Image by BC Parks via https://bcparks.ca/)

Address: Langford, BC, Canada

Phone: +1 250-474-1336

Park rates and fees

Goldstream Provincial Park is located on Vancouver Island, 16 kilometers from downtown Victoria. While there are only a few attractions here, campers will feel as if they’re in a world far away from the urban vibe of Victoria.

The park is Canada’s only broad-leaved evergreen forest, and it has 159 campsites with hot showers, pit and flush toilets, and drinking water available on-site. They also offer winter camping and have facilities for RVs and trailers.

How to Get Here

Once you get yourself and your vehicle on Vancouver Island, take Amy Road via Westshore Parkway. If you’re taking the bus, take the 95 bus to Langford, then the 58 to Goldstream Meadows.

Apps to Download for a Camping Trip in Vancouver

Super Camping BC: includes tours and drives, driving tips, and lists of registered rv parks, campgrounds, resorts, and lodging business in BC
iOs | Android

Weather Network: accurate, long-range weather forecasts. Lets users track weather for different areas.
iOs | Android

Google SkyMap: identify stars, planets, constellations, and meteor showers by just pointing your phone into the night sky.
iOs | Android

Canada Topo Maps: provides offline navigation maps of Canada.
iOs | Android

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