I grew up in Vancouver and went on my first camping trip at age five. Since then, I’ve been camping more times than I can remember. In this guide, I’ve got everything you need to know to find the best camping near Vancouver, BC.
Sometimes you want to go on a big road trip/camping vacation. But other times you just want to go on a quick and easy camping trip close to home. That’s what this post is about – the best campgrounds close to Vancouver.
All of the campgrounds in this post are within a three-hour drive of Vancouver. (Of course, if you live in in the far reaches of the Vancouver area, some campgrounds will be a bit further, but you get the idea.)
I’ve got picks for the Sea to Sky region, the Fraser Valley, and the Hope area. I also have a few picks from the Sunshine Coast, Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island and Washington since even with a ferry ride or border crossing you can still squeak in under that three-hour limit.
I’m mostly a tent camper so the campgrounds in this post are geared mostly toward tent camping or RVing without hookups. You won’t find any parking lot-style deluxe RV parks in this post.
Instead, you’ll find picks for family-friendly campgrounds, mostly at parks. If you are up for a more rustic experience, I’ve also included a few recreation sites with fewer amenities and rough approach roads.
I’ve camped at many of the campgrounds on this list and visited lots more of them on day trips to go hiking or hit the beach. This list represents the best camping options near Vancouver. I’ve left off campgrounds that don’t get good reviews or ones that are closed.
In this massive guide to camping near Vancouver you’ll find:
- A map of campgrounds near Vancouver that shows the exact location of every campground I mention in this post
- My picks for camping in the Sea to Sky Region between West Vancouver and Pemberton
- My picks for camping in the northern Fraser Valley from Maple Ridge to Harrison Hot Springs
- My picks for camping in the southern Fraser Valley from Langley to Chilliwack
- My picks for camping near Hope, including the Fraser Canyon and Highway 3
- My picks for camping on Sunshine Coast, Gulf Islands, and Vancouver Island that aren’t too far from the ferry terminal
- My picks for camping in Washington State that are close to the border
- Where to go backcountry camping near Vancouver including 40 destinations
- Vancouver camping FAQ to answer all your questions about camping near Vancouver
This is a sensitive wilderness area. Learn how to Leave No Trace to keep the wilderness wild. Make sure you are prepared by bringing the 10 Essentials. Get ready for adventure with this checklist of things to do before every hike.
Hey there: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support. -Taryn
Map of Campgrounds Near Vancouver
With so many great campgrounds near Vancouver, it can be hard to visualize where they are all located. I made this custom Google Map for you. It includes all the places to camp I mention in this post. Click through to zoom in.
Where to Camp in the Sea to Sky Region
The Sea to Sky corridor is a popular place to camp thanks to easy access from Vancouver on Highway 99. The area is known for spectacular scenery, hiking, and mountain biking. Stop in the towns of Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton for supplies.
Porteau Cove Provincial Park
Located right on the shores of Howe Sound and just 45 minutes from downtown, Porteau Cove Provincial Park is one of the most popular places to camp near Vancouver. Many of the 60 sites are right on the ocean with incredible views. It has flush toilets and showers too. They have cute log cabins for rent too. Reservations required.
Psst! Porteau Cove is popular can get booked up really fast. One of the best ways to get a spot is to use an app like Campnab or Schnerp. Read my guide to camping cancellation apps to find out how they work and which one I recommend.
Don’t want to sleep in a tent? My list of the best cabins near Vancouver has over 75 adorable cabin rental options.
Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
The shaded Stawamus Chief Provincial Park campground is located at the base of the Stawamus Chief mountain just outside Squamish, perfect for hikers and rock climbers. Most of the 59 campsites are small walk-in sites. The campground has covered picnic shelters and pit toilets. All sites are first-come, first-served.
Alice Lake Provincial Park
Alice Lake Provincial Park in Squamish is one of my favourite Vancouver area campgrounds since it is the first place I went camping at age 5 and these days I live just down the road. It has 108 campsites. The lake has two sandy beaches with swimming docks and you can also rent a kayak or SUP. There are flush toilets and showers too. Reservations required.
Cat Lake Recreation Site
The 48 walk-in sites at Cat Lake Recreation Site just north of Squamish are very popular. The small lake is fairly warm and there are three different swimming docks. The campground has pit toilets but no drinking water. All sites are first-come, first-served and fill up very fast on weekends.
Squamish Valley Recreation Sites
If you’re willing to rough it, there are lots of rustic campgrounds in the Squamish River Valley. Most are right on the Squamish River. You will need to drive on bumpy logging roads to reach them, but 2WD cars will usually be fine. Heads up: Most of these sites don’t have toilets or other facilities. All sites are first-come, first-served and free. The best options are Squamish Riverside, High Falls, Hideaway, Squamish-Elaho, and Molson Memorial.
Want more camping options in Squamish? Check out my Squamish camping guide. It includes 22 campgrounds.
Cal-Cheak Recreation Site
The Cal-Cheak Recreation Site is located just south of Whistler, but somehow it is still a bit under the radar. It includes three separate camping areas with 55 total campsites on the Cheakmus River and Callaghan Creek. The sites are rustic with pit toilets and no water. All sites are first-come, first-served.
Nairn Falls Provincial Park
I love the campground at Nairn Falls Provincial Park even though it is right at the edge of the three-hour drive from Vancouver zone. It’s a short drive to both Whistler and Pemberton and there is a great hiking trail to a beautiful waterfall. You can also hike (or drive) to nearby One Mile Lake to go swimming. The campground has 94 campsites, pit toilets, and a water pump. Reservations required.
Want more camping options in Whistler? Check out my Whistler camping guide. It includes 17 campgrounds.
Where to Camp in the North Fraser Valley
If you’re looking for a campground really close to Vancouver, the ones in the northern part of the Fraser Valley are great options. There is great camping near Maple Ridge, Mission, and Harrison Hot Springs.
Golden Ears Provincial Park
There are three big campgrounds at Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge with over 400 campsites. It is one of the most popular places to go camping near Vancouver since it is so close. All three are on the shores of Alouette Lake and have access to a beach and nearby hiking trails. Alouette and Gold Creek campgrounds have showers and flush toilets. North Beach Campground has pit toilets. Reservations required.
Heads up: Day passes are required at Golden Ears Provincial Park in summer 2023. However, if you have a camping reservation, you don’t need a day pass.
Psst! Golden Ears is popular can get booked up really fast. One of the best ways to get a spot is to use an app like Campnab or Schnerp. Read my guide to camping cancellation apps to find out how they work and which one I recommend.
Rolley Lake Provincial Park
Rolley Lake Provincial Park is a small park with 65 campsites near Stave Falls in between Maple Ridge and Mission. It has a small warm lake with an easy hiking trail around it. There is also a short spur trail to a waterfall. The campground has flush toilets and showers too. Reservations required.
Stave Lake Recreation Sites
If you are looking for more rustic camping, check out the recreation sites near Stave Lake. Some campsites are on the huge lake while others are on smaller lakes or creeks. You will need to drive on bumpy gravel roads to get there, but most sites are 2WD-accessible. All of the campgrounds have pit toilets and no water source. The best options are Rock Creek (48 sites), Kearsley Creek (65 sites), Rocky Point (18 sites), and Sayres Lake (37 sites), all managed by Stave West Camping. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
Kilby Park Campground
The Kilby Park Campground is located at Kilby Provincial Park, which is home to a historic museum that shows what life was like at a rural general store in the early 1900s. The 41-site campground has great views and sandy beaches since it is at the confluence of the Fraser and Harrison Rivers. The campground has pit toilets and water taps. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
Harrison Lake Rec Sites
There are lots of rustic campsites on Harrison Lake and the nearby Lakes. The roads to access the sites are rough and I recommend AWD or 4WD. All the campgrounds have pit toilets and no water. On the west side of the lake, you can stay at Chelahis River (100 sites), Grace Lake (10 sites), Twenty Mile Bay (51 sites), Weaver Lake (37 sites), and Wood Lake (28 sites), all managed by West Harrison Camping. The Cascade Peninsula (24 sites), Bear Creek (40 sites), and Cogburn Beach sites are managed by Harrison East Camping and are located on the east side of the lake. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
Sasquatch Provincial Park
Located near Harrison Hot Springs, Sasquatch Provincial Park is a popular campground near Vancouver. The park has three campgrounds (Hicks Lake, Bench, and Lakeside) with a combined 178 campsites on two different lakes (Hicks Lake and Deer Lake). The lakes are small so they have warm water for swimming. There is also a day-use area on nearby Harrison Lake. All of the campgrounds have pit toilets and water taps or pumps. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
Where to Camp in the South Fraser Valley
The southern part of the Fraser Valley has lots of options for camping. You can camp on the Fraser River in Fort Langley, at Cultus Lake, in the Chilliwack River Valley, or at popular Jones Lake between Chilliwack and Hope.
One of the most unique places to camp in Vancouver is at Fort Camping. It is located in Brae Island Regional Park, which is on a small island right next to Fort Langley. You can walk from one of the 156 campsites right into the village to shop or eat, then head back to your wooded campsite and go for a hike. This campground has all the facilities including flush toilets, showers, laundry, and wi-fi. Reservations required.
Sunnyside Campground is a huge, family-friendly, private campground on the shores of Cultus Lake in Chilliwack. It has over 350 sites, access to a great beach, and is close to popular attractions like the waterslides, mini golf, and adventure park. It has tons of amenities including flush toilets, showers, laundry, playgrounds, and boat rentals. Reservations required.
Cultus Lake Provincial Park
Heading to Cultus Lake is a popular summer tradition for Vancouverites. Cultus Lake Provincial Park is on the east side of the lake, so it feels quieter than the busy main beach area. It has four campgrounds (Entrance Bay, Clear Creek, Delta Grove, and Maple Bay), with over 300 campsites, all of which have access to beaches. The campgrounds all have flush toilets and showers. Reservations required.
Chilliwack River Recreation Sites
If you prefer to be a bit more off-the-grid, check out the Recreation Sites along the Chilliwack River. Most of the sites have paved road access, but some are on gravel roads that can be bumpy. All of the campgrounds have pit toilets and no water. Chilliwack Valley Campsites manages Tamihi Rapids (10 sites), Riverside (15 sites), Thurston Meadows (76 sites), Tamihi West (88 sites), Tamihi East (17 sites), Chipmunk Peninsula (22 sites), and Rapids (23 sites) campgrounds. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
S⨱ótsaqel / Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park
The large campground at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park is divided into five loops so the 182 campsites all feels quiet. All loops are a short walk from the beach and boat launch on Chilliwack Lake. There are also lots of hiking trails nearby. In Halq’eméylem, the language of the Indigenous Stó:lō people, the lake is called S⨱ótsaqel (pronounced Skot-sakel) which means “sacred lake”. The campground has pit toilets and water taps. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
Jones Lake Recreation Area
Jones Lake is a BC Hydro reservoir between Chilliwack and Hope. It is a popular place for rustic camping since it is on a gorgeous mountain lake. The road to get there can be rough – a 4WD vehicle is required. There are three campgrounds on the lake. The two main areas are on the north side of the lake at Boulder Creek (37 sites total). There is another campground on the west side of the lake (18 sites). All three areas have pit toilets but no water. All sites are first-come, first-served.
Where to Camp Near Hope
The tiny town of Hope sits at the eastern edge of Greater Vancouver. There are several good campgrounds nearby, both in town, on Highway 3, and in the Fraser Canyon.
Silver Lake Provincial Park
Silver Lake is a bit off-the-beaten-path. It’s a short drive from Hope on the gravel Silver-Skagit Road. The small lake is great for fishing and swimming. The campground has only 25 sites, so it’s pretty quiet. There are pit toilets and water pumps. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
E.C. Manning Provincial Park
I love camping at Manning Park. It’s only 45 minutes from Hope, but since it is over a mountain pass, it can be much warmer and less rainy than Vancouver. The park has a great beach at Lightning Lake (even though the water is cold) and some of the best hiking in BC. There are 373 campsties spread across four campgrounds (Cold Spring, Hampton, Lightning Lake, and Mule Deer) as well as an RV park (Skyview). Skyview, Lightning Lakes, and Hampton have flush toilets and showers. Cold Spring and Mule Deer have pit toilets. All campgrounds have water taps or pumps. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available. If you’d rather stay in a cabin, Manning Park Resort has lots.
Psst! Lightning Lake is popular can get booked up really fast. One of the best ways to get a spot is to use an app like Campnab or Schnerp. Read my guide to camping cancellation apps to find out how they work and which one I recommend.
Don’t want to rough it? Check out my list of the best cabins near Vancouver. It has dozens of options.
The private Coquihalla Campground is right on the banks of the Coquihalla River and within walking distance of downtown Hope, making it a great option for camping near Vancouver. The campground has over 100 campsites and lots of amenities including showers, flush toilets, laundry, wi-fi, a playground, and a BBQ shelter. Reservations required.
Emory Creek Provincial Park
This small park is 15 minutes north of Hope on the Fraser River. It’s not well-known, so it doesn’t get too busy. The riverside location makes Emory Creek Provincial Park great for fishing, but the water is too fast and cold for swimming. The park has 35 campsites, cold water taps, and flush toilets. All sites are first-come, first-served.
Sunshine Coast, Gulf Islands, and Vancouver Island
If you don’t mind catching a short ferry, it’s possible to get to a campsite near Vancouver in under three hours… including ferry time. In this section I have picks for campgrounds on the Sunshine Coast, Gulf Islands, and near Victoria and Nanaimo.
Roberts Creek Provincial Park
This small 21-site campground is a great base for exploring the Sunshine Coast. Roberts Creek Provincial Park is a quick drive to the towns of Gibsons or Sechelt. Or you can walk 20 minutes down the hill to the beach and day-use area. The park has pit toilets and water taps. All sites are first-come, first-served.
Porpoise Bay Provincial Park
Porpoise Bay Provincial Park is one of my favourite places on the Sunshine Coast. When I lived in Gibsons, I loved coming here. The campground is on the quiet waters of Sechelt Inlet and has a beautiful sandy beach with shallow water. It is also a quick 5-minute drive to Sechelt. There are 94 campsites, showers, flush toilets, and water taps. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
Looking for things to do on the Sunshine Coast? I used to live there so I’ve got a huge guide to the best things to see on the Sunshine Coast.
Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park
This campground on Galiano Island has a beautiful setting. My sister used to live nearby and I loved walking on the beach here. Montague Harbour Provincial Park has a great swimming beach and a beautiful short hiking trail. Most of the 44 campsites are walk-in and a few are right on the water. The park has pit toilets and water taps. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
I love hiking and biking on Galiano Island. Read my guide to the best outdoor adventures on Galiano Island for the details.
Prior Centennial Campground
Prior Centennial Campground is located on sleepy Pender Island. It’s part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. The small, 17-site, forested campground makes a great base for exploring the island’s beaches and hiking trails. There are pit toilets and water taps. Reservations required.
Ruckle Provincial Park
Salt Spring Island’s Ruckle Provincial Park is one of my favourite places to go camping near Vancouver. Most of the 90 sites are walk-ins, set in a meadow with a view of the ocean. The park also has great oceanside hiking trails. And you can make the short drive into the town of Ganges to visit the farmer’s market on Saturdays. The campground has water taps and pit toilets. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
SMONEĆTEN (McDonald) Campground
This 49-site forested campground is located near the Swartz Bay ferry terminal on Vancouver Island’s Saanich Peninsula. SMONEĆTEN (McDonald) Campground is part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. It’s a quick drive to the town of Sidney or you can bike the nearby Lochside Trail. The campground has pit toilets and water taps. In the language of the Indigenous W̱SÁNEĆ Nation, SMONEĆTEN (pronounced smaw-nich-ton) means “place of pitch” as it was a good place to collect pitch from Douglas fir trees. The pitch (also called sap) was used for starting fires and sealing canoes. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
Goldstream Provincial Park
Find Goldstream Provincial Park on the outskirts of Victoria at the entrance to the Malahat Highway. It’s a large park spread out on both sides of the highway. The campground with 173 sites is in the quiet southwest corner of the park. You can hike right from the campground, or make the short drive to the Lower Goldstream Trail and Nature House. The campground has flush toilets, showers, and water taps. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park
The huge beach at Rathtrevor Provincial Park is one of the nicest beaches on Vancouver Island. At low tide, there is nearly 1 km of sand. The park is near the town of Parksville, about 30 minutes north of Nanaimo. The campground is huge with 250 sites, but they are all a short walk to the beach. There are showers, flush toilets, and water taps. Reservations required.
Englishman River Falls Provincial Park
The campground at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is set in a beautiful forest 45 minutes north of Nanaimo. Hike to the waterfall, swim in the chilly river, or drive into nearby Parksville for dinner or a visit to the beach. The campground has 104 site, flush toilets, and water taps. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park
Located 45 minutes north of Nanaimo near Coombs, Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park includes spectacular waterfalls in a tight canyon and lots of hiking trails. It’s a short drive to the sandy beach at Qualicum Beach or the day-use area at Cameron Lake. The 96-site campground has flush toilets and water taps. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available.
Where to Camp in Washington State
If you’re willing to drive across the border, there are lots of great campgrounds in Washington State within 3 hours of Vancouver. Many of campgrounds are right on the ocean too!
Birch Bay State Park
This beachfront state park is just 15 minutes south of the border. Birch Bay State Park has a huge rocky beach that is great for low-tide exploring or digging for clams. The campground has 169 sites, flush toilets, showers, water taps, a playground, a basketball court, and wi-fi. Reservations required.
Larrabee State Park
Larrabee State Park is located along Chuckanut Drive, which is one of my favourite scenic drives in Washington as it curls through the forest above the ocean. It is also close to Bellingham which has great shopping and restaurants. The 122-site campground is a short walk from the beach and there are also great hiking trails in the hills nearby. There are showers, flush toilets, and water taps. Reservations required.
Rasar State Park
This park is a bit of a hidden gem, nestled beside the Skagit River on Highway 20 on the way to North Cascades National Park. Rasar State Park has lots of hiking trails through the forest and alongside the Skagit River, which is great for fishing. The campground has 49 campsites, flush toilets, showers, and water taps. Reservations required.
Bay View State Park
Bay View State Park is a small park right on the ocean with 76 campsites. It is located near some of my favourite small towns in Washington: Mount Vernon, La Conner, and Anacortes, all of which are worth exploring. There are showers, flush toilets, and water taps. Reservations required.
Deception Pass State Park
I love camping at Deception Pass State Park. It’s my favourite place to camp in Washington. There are 311 campsites across three campgrounds: Bowman Bay, Quarry Pond, and the main campground, which includes Lower Loops A and B as well as Forest Loop. Bowman is my favourite since it is the closest to the beach, but the main campground is nice too. The hiking is outstanding with lots of super-picturesque coastal trails that aren’t too hard. You also can’t beat the view from the Deception Pass bridge. All of the campgrounds have flush toilets, showers, and water taps. Reservations required.
Fort Ebey State Park
Fort Ebey State Park is another camping option on Whidbey Island, a few minutes past Deception Pass. The park was a fortified gun station during WWII and the tunnels are fun to explore by flashlight. The coastal setting is gorgeous with great hiking and a beach. The 50-site campground has showers, flush toilets, and water taps. Reservations required.
Fort Casey State Park
This is another WWII historical site a little further south on Whidbey Island. Today you can explore the bunkers and visit the lighthouse. Fort Casey State Park is also next to the ferry to Port Townsend, which makes a fun day trip. The park has 35 campsites, showers, flush toilets, and water taps. Reservations required.
Camano Island State Park
This quiet state park is located on Camano Island between Everett and Bellingham. It has a rocky beach and some short hiking trails. There is also a dock that is great for crab fishing. Camano Island State Park campground has 79 campsites, flush toilets, and water taps. Reservations required.
If you are prepared to hike in all of your gear, there are lots of great places to go backcountry camping near Vancouver. You can hike to glacier lakes, mountain peaks, and gorgeous river valleys.
I actually wrote an entire book called Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia. It includes details on 40 backpacking trips near Vancouver.
Get My Book…
Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia
A one-stop resource for backpackers in beautiful British Columbia.
- 40 backpacking trips within a few hours of Vancouver
- Info about permits, reservations, and campsite facilities
- Detailed maps and photos
- Advice for extending your trip
- Points of cultural and natural history
Camping Near Vancouver FAQ
A few of the rustic recreation sites in the Squamish Valley are free, but they don’t have any toilets or water. All other campgrounds are paid. You also camp for free on Crown Land. However, this usually means camping on a rough logging road that may require a 4×4 vehicle to access. If you camp on Crown Land, please pack all garbage out with you and dig a hole to go to the bathroom in. You are not allowed to camp near cities or towns or on the side of non-logging roads.
Most provincial park campgrounds cost $25-35 per night. Recreation sites are typically $15-20 per night. Private campgrounds usually cost $35-55 per night without hookups.
In most cases, you need to make a reservation during the summer months. Some campgrounds have a small number of first-come, first-serve sites available but they fill up fast. Don’t expect to show up on a Friday or Saturday and get a site without a reservation.
Keep checking the reservation website because people cancel their trips and sites become available. Or you can pay a service like Campnab or Schnerp to automatically scan for cancellations for you, then send you an alert the minute something becomes available.
Yes. Most campgrounds on this list are in bear country. Keep a clean campsite by storing all food and scented items in your car or RV. Don’t put them in your tent or leave them out on your picnic table. Read more about bear safety for campers.
Most campgrounds are open between May and September. A few are open in the spring and fall or even year-round. The weather is warmest and driest in July and August. Weekends can be very busy in summer so be sure to make a reservation well in advance.
Most of the Vancouver campgrounds are in provincial parks, managed by BC Parks. There are also lots of Recreation Sites, some of which are managed by private companies on contract. Parks Canada also manages a few places to camp in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. You can also camp at a few private campgrounds. And south of the border, there are lots of campgrounds in Washington State Parks. Each agency has its own rules, fees, and reservation policies so be sure to do some research while planning your trip.
Most campgrounds near Vancouver allow campfires as long as there is no fire ban. Most campsites have their own fire pit or fire ring, but at some campgrounds, you will have to share. During forest fire season (typically mid-July to early September) there may be a campfire ban province-wide. If there is a fire ban, you can still use propane-powered fire pits.
Some campgrounds near Vancouver have flush toilets (about half of the campgrounds on this list). However, they may only have flush toilets in one central building and pit toilets (outhouses) in the rest of the campground. All of the campground descriptions above state whether a campground has flush toilets or pit toilets.
In the past, very few places to camp near Vancouver had showers – you mostly had to go to private campgrounds and RV parks. However, that is changing and several provincial parks now have showers. All of the campground descriptions above state whether a campground has showers.
Dogs are allowed at all campgrounds in Vancouver, however, they have to be on a leash except in designated off-leash areas. Dogs are not allowed at some backcountry (hike-in) campgrounds.
Now that you have all the info for over 40 campgrounds near Vancouver, have fun planning your camping trip. Do you have questions about camping near Vancouver? Or is there an awesome Vancouver campground that you think should also be on this list? Leave them in the comments.
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