Nestled between mountains and the ocean, the Vancouver area is home to many wonderful campsites for all campers. Whether you’re looking to tent for a couple of days on the weekend or want to hunker down in your 5th wheel for a month, there’s an amazing campsite waiting for you. Find some of the best hidden gems of Vancouver camping with this list of the best campgrounds in the area!
I know how difficult it can be to find available campsites. Besides BC Parks, how do you find all the lesser-known spots and available sites? Luckily, we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and there’s no short supply of amazing camping near Vancouver.
This list covers some of the most accessible campsites in the area, including provincial parks, BC recreational sites, and private campgrounds. Here’s a little breakdown of each:
- Provincial Parks: located in some of the most beautiful parts of BC, these sites are all professionally managed by BC parks and are reservable online. They vary in size and amenities, but most have firepits, picnic tables, day-use areas, and outhouses or washroom facilities.
- Recreation Sites: also owned by the BC government, these are considered rustic camping sites. They don’t offer any hookups, and you must pack everything in and out (even water). Depending on the site, some of professionally managed and reservable while others are completely first come, first serve.
- Private campgrounds: these are owned exclusively by individuals or businesses. They often offer the most amenities like full hookups, showers, laundry, and entertainment.
Here are some of the best Vancouver camping spots, all within a two-hour drive from downtown for quick getaways from the city.
North of Vancouver Camping
Head along the sea to sky highway and take in the scenery where mountains meet the ocean. These campsites are easy to access along the 99, going up to Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton.
Porteau Cove Provincial Park
The crème de la crème of lower mainland camping, Porteau Cove, is located just 45 minutes north of Vancouver. You can experience ocean-front camping at its finest for tents, RVs, and even cabin rentals. This campsite is open year-round and is one of the toughest campsites to nab in the peak season.
Klahanie Campground is a private site located in Squamish. Close to Stawamus Chief, Sea to Sky Gondola, and Shannon Falls, plenty is going on in the area for the outdoor enthusiast to keep their camping days busy. They provide tenting and services and partially serviced RV sites. Open year-round.
Alice Lake Provincial Park
Just a smidge north of Squamish, Alice Lake Provincial Park is a wonderful site for those looking to camp or spend a day dipping in the lake. It’s surrounded by mountains and dense forest, providing plenty to do between the swimming area and the lake. There are canoe, kayak, pedal boat, and stand-up paddleboard rentals. Great campsite for families.
The little sister to Alice Lake, Cat Lake, is just a few more minutes north. A recreation site, you can’t make reservations for Cat Lake; it has walk-in campsites only. It’s another popular swimming hole for campers and lower mainland locals.
Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
You can hike next to the famous Stawamus Chief if you’re an avid hiker. You can hike to one of the three peaks or attempt to boulder the world-renowned climbing area. These sites are best for small vehicles, but the campground mostly has walk-in sites.
Paradise Valley Campground
Take a walk to the wilderness…but with amenities! This private campground boasted tenting sites, serviced and partially serviced RV sites, and even cabins. It’s very spacious and offers flush toilets and pay showers. For the hikers, you can take a steep 1-hour hike to Brohm Lake to go swimming or continue on for more trails.
A recreation site, Levette Lake is a small but beautiful campground. It’s accessible only by a rough road, and 4X4 only vehicles can make it. There are few amenities, and you’re expected to pack everything in and out. The Lake is shared with cabin owners and is a popular swimming spot.
Looking to camp at Whistler on a budget? See if you can nab one of these first come, first serve only sites. There are 3 separate camping areas in Cal-Cheak. The sites are well-treaded and easy to access, many of which are large enough for RVs. However, the sites have no power or sewage services.
Located in the heart of Whistler, you’re close to Whistler Village and the many activities to keep you busy in the area. On the pricey side, it still remains one of the most affordable ways to stay in Whistler. You can choose to rent a fully serviced campsite or stay in one of their cabins or yurts. Open year-round.
Nairn Falls Provincial Park
Located right outside of Pemberton, Nairn Falls is the most northern campsite on this list. You get to camp alongside the river, hike to the waterfall, or take a jaunt to the nearby swimming hole, One Mile Lake. You can find plenty of entertainment in the hiking trails in the area or visit the quaint town of Pemberton and all the local produce the warm, dry climate has to offer.
Langley, Abbotsford, and Mission Area Camping
Enjoy the lush forest and towering mountains while being only a hop, skip, and jump from Vancouver with these Fraser Valley camping spots.
Rolley Lake Provincial Park
The lake leans to the smaller side and warms up quicker than others in the area, making it a popular swim, fishing, and canoeing spot. The beachfront is fairly open and grassy, while the campsites are nestled amongst the trees. The site has flush toilets, hot showers, and a sani dump station.
Golden Ears Provincial Park
One of the most popular Vancouver camping spots, Golden Ears offers lots for campers. There are TONS of sites across three campgrounds: Gold Creek, Alouette, and North Beach. There’s also backcountry camping for the avid hikers. There’s plenty to do in the area, including swimming and water sports at the lake, horseback riding, and plenty of hiking trails.
Stay at historic For Langley and enjoy all the charming sites the area offers at this private campground. You’re also right along the river and can enjoy dipping your toes on a hot summer day. Their sites are fully serviced and designed to hold large RVs. In addition, they have a few tent cabins and a group site for rent. Open year-round.
Next to Golden Ears Provincial Park, you have the lesser-known Stave Lake. The lake is a popular spot for motorboats and ATVs, and it’s a little more secluded than others on this list. There are four managed recreation sites that you can reserve along Stave Lake: Rock Creek, Kearsley Creek, Rocky Point, and Sayres Lake.
Chilliwack to Hope Camping
When it comes to camping near Vancouver, we’re so lucky to have access to so many amazing sites in the Fraser Valley. These sites are some of the most popular spots for locals to escape on weekends and summer days.
Get access to one of the largest networks of ATV and bike trails in the lower mainland at this campground. There’s also access to the Trans Canada Trail for hikers and great fishing in the area.
This is the first of many recreation sites along Chilliwack Lake Road, including Tamihi Rapids, Allison Pool, Thurston Meadows, Rapids, Chipmunk Peninsula, Camp Foley, and Riverside. Travel along this road for the best chances at Chilliwack camping without a reservation.
If you want something with a little more service and amenities, you can instead opt for the Tamihi Meadows private campground. Open year-round, you can do all the swimming and ATVing you want here while still having access to fisherman’s cabins and RV sites.
Cultus Lake Provincial Park
Cultus Lake boasts some of the best camping near Vancouver. There are four campgrounds: Entrance Bay, Maple Bay, Clear Creek and Delta Grove. You’ll also be able to enjoy a large day-use area and canoe, kayak, and SUP rentals. There are even wheelchair-accessible cabins available to rent. This is one of the busiest spots in the summer, so book quickly and on time!
If you can’t nab a spot at the provincial park, you can still enjoy Cultus Lake camping at the private site Sunnyside Campground. It boasts an impressive 594 sites and offers lakefront camping with hookups, laundry, showers, WiFi, a sani-station, and more. You’re close to the action of the waterslides, adventure park, and restaurants.
Vedder River Campground
Another popular spot by Cultus Lake, Vedder River Campground is a private, kid-friendly site. They offer full and partial hookups and pull-through spots, and camping for tents. They have showers, washrooms, and a sani dump.
Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park
A little more out of the way than some of the other provincial parks, Chilliwack Lake is a nature lover’s haven. You can enjoy hiking, fishing, canoeing, and small motor boating. In fact, there is 40 KM of hiking trails in the area! You can enjoy Chilliwack camping at one of four campgrounds: Greendrop, Lindeman, Flora, and Radium Lakes.
There’s much more to Harrison Lake than the hot springs and the small town! Harrison Lake stretches far and boasts many managed recreation sites. On the east side, you can visit Harrison East Camping which operates three campsites: Cascade Peninsula, Bear Creek, and Cogburn Beach. On the west side, there are West Harrison Reservations which hosts another eleven campsites of various sizes and access.
Sasquatch Provincial Park
Nestled right next to Harrison Lake, Sasquatch Provincial Park is another lower mainland camping gem. Rather than rely on one large lake, a series of pocket lakes are nestled throughout the park. There are 7 KM of hiking trails and SUP and canoe rentals available. There are three campgrounds: Hicks Lake, Bench, and Lakeside. Open year-round.
Kilby Park Campground
At the junction of Harrison and Fraser Rivers, you’ll find the Kilby Historic Site, which once was the home of the Harrison Mills community. A family-orientated campground, it has a day-use area, trails, and a boat launch in addition to the Kilby campground. The historic site is within walking distance and offers a museum, farm, café, and gift shop for enjoyment.
Silver Lake Provincial Park
Enjoy the Fraser Valley and camping near Hope at Silver Lake. This is a relatively small and undeveloped area. Camping here, you’ll enjoy rustic and quiet camping along a small lake. There’s also a boat launch for small boats.
If you are looking for Hope camping, the only option right in town is Coquihalla Campground. This private campground offers full hookups and amazing extras like a bike park, laundromat, WiFi, playground, BBQ hut, and disc golf. It’s located right along the river for fishing and swimming.
More Vancouver Camping Sites
If you still haven’t found the perfect spot for camping, I highly recommend checking out this map from Camping RV BC. They have an amazing map that allows you to filter through and see all BC Parks, recreation sites, and private campsites throughout the province. You’re bound to find a spot for your camping trip. Happy camping!
- BC Camping: How to Get a Campsite With or Without a Reservation
- Tenting at Ruckle Provincial Park
- Camping Oceanside at Rathrevor Beach Provincial Park