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The Best Places To Camp On Vancouver Island

Updated on February 9, 2015

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.

Killer Whales
Killer Whales

Sunrise On The Island

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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.

Old Growth Forest
Old Growth Forest

A Forest On Vancouver Island

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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.

Kayaking on Vancouver Island
Kayaking on Vancouver Island

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

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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

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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

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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.

http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/

Here is the link for The Blackball Ferry which travels between Port Angeles, Washington to Victoria.

http://www.cohoferry.com/main/

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.

http://www.harbour-air.com/index.php

Here is the link for The Clipper which is foot passanger ferry sevice from Seattle to Victoria.

http://www.clippervacations.com/

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.

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/

Air Canada offers flights to the Island from several locations.

http://www.aircanada.com/en/home.html

If you want more information on The West Coast Trail here is the link. Highly recommended!

http://www.westcoasttrailbc.com/















Vancouver Island Adventures

A Great Video Of Scenic Ferry Trip To Vancouver Island

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You know, I've been up there probably ten times, but never camped here. Very good hub; it should do well on Google after a couple months. Nice job.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 4 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, Sheri

      This really looks like a beautiful part of the world. I would love to visit Canada and British Columbia in particular. I've seen a lot of TV coverage of the area on geographical documentaries and I would love to try my hand at the sea fishing.

      Camping is something I used to do regularly with friends when we were going fishing and my ex also loved her and I going camping - though fishing was strictly not allowed on those occasions.... Unfortunately, she gave all our gear away one time when we were moving house and I've never so far bothered to acquire any more. Definitely need to do so! :)

      Thanks for an enjoyable read.

    • profile image

      mjkearn 4 years ago

      Hi Sheri

      Great job on this hub and fabulous pics. Definitely a place I wish to visit though I don't think my poor back is up to swinging in the trees.

      Voted up.

      MJ

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Just beautiful. Loved this Hub - thanks.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 4 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      You did a great job on the beautiful pictures. Makes me want to visit!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      This must be a very beautiful place to visit, and I wish that we had traveled there and camped on Vancouver Island when we visited Washington! Next time for sure! :) Enjoyed your very interesting and informative article and I appreciate the links. Voted up and shared!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I lived in Seattle for a few years and used to go up to Vancouver all the time on weekends. Sadly though I always stayed on the mainland. I'd love to go back some day and see all of BC.

      Beautiful hub!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      What beautiful country, Sheri. I had no idea BC holds such lush landscape. Your pix and videos are a great accompaniment to this hub. Have you been in the caves?

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks Bill.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
      Author

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Yeah, you need to get some fishing gear. Being on the water is good for your soul. It is almost a religion here.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
      Author

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      mjkearn I don't think I would do the swinging in the trees thing either, but there is lots of tame and safe things to do.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks suziecat7

    • Sheri Faye profile image
      Author

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      You should come visit ThelmaC. Thanks

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks Stephanie. You can also take a ferry from the San Jaun Islands to Vancouver Island

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks Susan. BC is a lovely place. I have always wanted to see Cottage Country out your way.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks Bravewarrior. I have not been to the caves yet, but it is on my bucket list. BC is beautiful.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Please write about the caves when you do, Sheri. They are fascinating but I'm afraid my claustrophobia would prevent me from the outing.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      My husband would love to visit British Columbia, now you've shown me this beautiful island. Not only is your description beautiful but the photos are too...it is an inviting place I'm sure. Thanks for the info.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Sheri Faye profile image
      Author

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thanks tilsontitan. I hope you and your hubby do make it to BC...it truly is a stunning natural province!

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 4 years ago from NJ, USA

      Very interesting hub - I keep on meaning to visit Canada - now you've given me the urge to go there sooner!!

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      I hope you do visit Canada. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      I knew nothing about this area before reading this, but it sounds and looks wonderful! I enjoy hiking and camping and beautiful scenery. This was very informative and helpful for potential tourists---great article! :-) Lurana

    • Sheri Faye profile image
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      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      thanks Lurana, it is a lovely place and I am grateful to live here.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Oh what a wonderful hub.. my dream is to go to Canada and camp.. and explore and just have fun.. many blessings to you this Mothers day.. I am sharing this hub

      Debbie

    • Sheri Faye profile image
      Author

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Thank you Debrah. I hope you do get to visit Canada....you would be welcome...we a are know as very friendly people. Blessings to you on mothers day as well.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Wonderful hub and amazing photos! The Vancouver Island looks as a great destination with outstanding natural beauty. Hope one day to visit. Added to my bucket list :)

    • Sheri Faye profile image
      Author

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Vancouver Island truly is beautiful and I hope you get to visit here one day. Thanks Mike

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