Province wide campfire bans in place, Campers know before you go camping.

Read what 3 BC RV Park Operators Say about Winter RVing

British Columbia has become the haven for RV and winter camping snowbirds in Canada. Much of the province is blessed with moderate winter temperatures – compared to the rest of the country – and there are regions where snowfalls are generally light and occur only a handful of times over the winter months. Popular areas for snowbirds include Vancouver Island, Vancouver’s Lower Mainland and the South Okanagan, which tends to get sunny, dry days in the winter season. About 100 private-sector campgrounds are open year-round and there are approximately 3,000 winter RV sites in the province.

Campgrounds that cater to snowbirds have limits as to how many months guests can stay (generally around six months or more) and most campgrounds and RV parks offering winter camping are booked well in advance of the winter season. Advice from park managers is to schedule and reserve ahead and to arrive in time.

Gallagher Lake Camping & RV Resort – Oliver

Gallagher Lake Resort is located near the town of Oliver in the south end of the Okanagan Valley and opened year-round in 2015/2016 offering winter rentals October – April.

Whether your hosting guests that are traveling full time in their RVs or are looking for a more temperate place to winter there is a huge demand for winter stays.  “Our inventory grew by 100% in 2020 but we were growing consecutively year after year because people realized that it’s a great area to winter in without the US dollar cost and health and travel insurance concerns.”

Having winter campers has also assisted in growing our shoulder season with recreational travellers and staying open over the winter meant additional folks coming in off the road for short stays.

Although demand for winter stays has slowed down with the opening of the Canada – USA border. Guests are enjoying staying in the same place year after year after as they establish connections with others in the park.  On winter RVing Cox says, “It warms your heart to see the old-timers teaching the newbies about how to deal with winter and RV skirting and even how to bake.”

The resort also features small camping cabins and although they are not suitable for longer term stays as they have no kitchen or washroom inside, they are popular with skiers or folks visiting their family over weekends and holidays.

Living Forest Oceanside Campground – Nanaimo

Rob Littlejohn of Living Forest Oceanside Campground in Nanaimo on the east coast of Vancouver Island says that overnighters are spilling over into shoulder season more and more and that its winter numbers were full even a few years before COVID-19.

The campground limits off-season stays to eight months with a three-week stay the maximum in summer for RVs. Its official winter camping season is currently October through to April.

Littlejohn, part owner and operator of Living Forest, notes that about half of its 200 winter sites welcome snowbirds while the remainder see a mix of students and people looking for homes.

“Our snowbirds are about one quarter from BC, and the rest are from out of province, primarily from Alberta to Quebec.”

Littlejohn’s advice for winter RVers and snowbirds is to “book in advance” and to time the trip according to where guests are coming from.

“The weather is vastly different in different parts of the province so do your research with regards to this. Time your arrival and departure because driving through the mountains can be real nasty. Make sure you’ve got some leeway if you have to hole up somewhere a day or two to wait for the snow to clear.”

The campground’s winter rules, says Littlejohn, are to insulate the water lines so the units won’t freeze up in the winter.

“We do get snow,” he explains, “we don’t get a lot, but we can still get a decent snowfall or two so guests need to be prepared.”

Pathfinder Camp Resorts & Fort Camping – Agassiz, Langley, Parksville

Pathfinder Camp Resorts & Fort Camping in the Lower Mainland & Vancouver Island operate three RV Camp Resorts in BC: Agassiz-Harrison, Fort Langley, and Parksville.

Marilyn Stone, Central Reservations Manager for Pathfinder Camp Resorts, explains how Fort Camping has operated a six-month Recreational Winter Program for a decade—and have started the same Winter Programs at their new Agassiz-Harrison and Parksville resorts as well.

“Our programs are geared towards snowbirds. We tend to cater to the older crowd. It runs from mid-October to April and always sells out,” says Stone. “Most RVers sign up for the entire six months.” What sets these Winter Programs apart is the community that’s created each winter. Each Pathfinder resort schedules programming and activities, but it’s the winter guests who really take ownership of the events: they plan & host happy hours, bingo & poker nights, karaoke, potlucks, bake sales, and much more.

“We get returning guests, but it has evolved, and we are getting new customers coming in all of the time. We ask for proof of liability insurance and if the unit is over 10 years of age, we ask that it is brought in prior to the stay for an inspection. We do help our customers winterize their units if need be.”

Looking ahead to winter 2023/2024, all 3 Pathfinder & Fort Camping resorts are anticipating an even larger number of returning guests.