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The Best Places To Camp On Vancouver Island
Beautiful Vancouver Island
British Columbia, Canada, has the nickname Beautiful British Columbia and the province lives up to that name. The jewel of the province, however, is Vancouver Island. It is tucked in the furthest south point of the province and is about 460 kilometres long (or 290 miles) and 80 kilometres wide. The population of Vancouver Island is about 760,000 and more than half of those live in or around Victoria which is on the southern most tip of the Island and is also the British Columbia’s capital city. The rest of the population is distributed the length of the Island in smaller towns and villages. Vancouver Island is known simply as “The Island” to British Columbians, although there are many smaller islands between the mainland and Vancouver Island and these, collectively, are known as the Gulf Islands.
Sunrise On The Island
Weather On Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island boasts the mildest climate in Canada, with winters seldom seeing snow (however, it is a Temperate Rain Forest so winter months can see a considerable amount of rain) and summers see average temperatures of twenty five to thirty three degrees Celsius. The weather is usually warm enough to start camping by mid April and stays pleasant through October. Fall is visually stunning on the Island with miles of natural forest turning shades of red and yellow and orange.
A Forest On Vancouver Island
Outdoor Activities On Vancouver Island
The Island is known for its' stunning natural beauty, with miles and miles of pristine beaches and an abundance of majestic old growth forests. The Island is the perfect place for the adventurous soul, offering activities like hiking, both four or five day long challenging hikes like the world famous West Coast Trail, and pleasant easy meanders around local lakes and rivers. Ocean fishing is wildly popular on the Island, with some huge trophy winning salmon being caught. River and lake fishing is also widely available. Try your hand at canoeing or kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, mountain biking, caving, or whale watching.
Getting To The Island
Traveling to Vancouver Island is considered by many to be a wonderful part of their trip. There is excellent ferry service from several points of the mainland, including some from the USA. There is also air service to several points on the Island and the links to these resources are posted at the end of this article. Ferry rides from the Canadian mainland takes one and a half to two hours depending on the route chosen, and it is a wonderful way to see the Gulf Islands. Many times you will see pods of dolphins playing in the wake of the ship and you may even see whales. You can walk on the ferries or bring your car or motor home. B.C. ferry service is considered one of the best in world, and the ferries are beautifully appointed and comfortable. They offer several restaurants, gift shops, children’s play areas, arcades and tourist information centers.
Provincial Campsite Honeymoon Bay
British Columbia Provincial Campgrounds
There are many camp sites on Vancouver Island. There are lots of private ones, but if you are a nature lover, the provincial campgrounds are far superior. The sites are usually very spacious and private with small groves of trees left standing between you and your neighbour. The entire parks are kept pristine clean, and are well cared for by trained and helpful staff. Most of them offer drinking water resources with taps generously located throughout the park, campfire areas and wood you can purchase to burn, picnic tables, showers and bathroom facilities. Some even offer electrical hook ups, but these are rare. The rates are reasonable at ten to thirty dollars a night depending on how many people are in your party and if you are tenting it or have an RV. Many of the provincial campgrounds also offer group camping and picnicing facilities and are perfect for family reunions. Reservations are accepted and can be made online. I have listed the link below. Be aware that long weekends fill up fast, so try to reserve for these as far ahead as possible.
Englishman River Falls Provincial Park
Camping Etiquette for BC Provincial Parks
There are some rules but they are common sense. Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash at all times, and you are responsible for cleaning up after them. Be polite and keep the noise down to a minimum. Campfires are permitted, except during extremely dry periods, but don’t gather firewood from the campground or park as deadwood is vital to maintain the eco system of the forest. Vancouver Island is bear country, so keep you food locked in your vehicle and keep your campsite clean. Leave the plants and trees alone and stay on the trails when walking or biking. Leave your campsite as you found it, clean and ready for the next guest.
Enjoy your Island adventure!. If you have any questions leave them in the comment section below, and as a long time Islander I will try to answer them for you. You don't have to sign in, you can just leave a question or comment below.
Walking Trail On Vancouver Island
The Amazing Caves At Horne Lake Provincial Park On Vancouver Island
Links and Resources
Here is the link to BC Parks. You will find all you need to know here, and can make reservations. Search for you campsite by location or activity. This is a easy to navigate site.http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/
Here is the link to BC Ferries. You can find out which route is best for you and everything you need to know about riding the ferries. You can make reservations, however it is not usually needed unless it is a long weekend or peak travel times.
Here is the link for The Blackball Ferry which travels between Port Angeles, Washington to Victoria.
Here is a link to Habour Air which uses float planes to transport you from several areas on the lower mainland to the island. It takes twenty minutes and if the day is clear, offers stunning views of the area. Reasonable prices and excellent service. Highly recommended.
Here is the link for The Clipper which is foot passanger ferry sevice from Seattle to Victoria.
Here is the link to the Washington State Ferries which offers service from Anacourtes Washington to Sydney. Sydney is just ourside Victoria. You can take your vehicle on this ferry.
Air Canada offers flights to the Island from several locations.
If you want more information on The West Coast Trail here is the link. Highly recommended!