“Camping with Teenagers: Is there WIFI?”
Ah yes, the first question my teenage sons ask when we suggest or venture to a new campground, “Is there WIFI?”
Gone are the days when our sons would hop in the car without questioning where we were camping and what there was to do there.
When our children were young, camping was fairly simple. We ensured the car was packed with lots of snacks and activities to combat boredom and fighting. We carefully chose campgrounds that had all the amenities for young children such as beaches and playgrounds. Overall, everyone was happy and for the most part, easily entertained. Camping with teenagers, can be much more challenging.
It can be tough to pull teenagers away from WIFI, friends and video games.
So how do we do it?
Prior to the camping season, we research different campgrounds and put together a list of previous sites we have stayed. As a family, we decide which campsites to book.
2. Travel with family friends
Gone are the days when our sons would play at the beach or playground with anyone who happened to be there. Our teenagers are much happier when camping with friends. Although we still plan one or two trips a year with just our family, we tend to book the rest with families whose children are similar ages.
3. Location and activities are key
All of our camping friends with teenagers agree, camping for a week with a main focus on beachcombing and sand castles, does not cut it anymore. The campgrounds we choose have a variety of different activities such as paddle boarding, canoeing, basketball hoops and fishing holes. Although we do stay at some campgrounds year after year, we always find new ones to explore for a brand new experience.
4. Independence and downtime
For years, I was guilty of scheduling our holiday to make sure we made use of every minute of our trip. When they were young, everyone just went along with my plan however that does not work anymore. Now, I usually plan a main activity in the mid-morning (not too early!) such as a hike or kayak on the lake, then everyone has downtime to relax, read a book, take a nap or take the paddle board down to the water.
By the end of each camping trip, the teenagers have survived without WIFI and they tuck away their memories from another trip.
At the end of last camping season, I thought to myself how camping with teenagers has its challenges yet has many more benefits. They assist with setting up the trailer and site, are very independent (I don’t have to accompany them on every bike ride or trip down to the lake) and offer great campfire discussions.
For places to camp in British Columbia check out the Camping Map.
Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, BC is a Great Place to Visit in the Off-Season
One of the best parts of living in British Columbia is being close to both the mountains and the sea. BC has a lot of mountain-based national parks, but it also is blessed with a spectacular coastline – and none more spectacular than what you find in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is made up of three units spread along the west coast of Vancouver Island. Long Beach, the unit furthest north is the most accessible and arguably the best known. It is named after the 16-kilometre long stretch of sand lining Wickaninnish Bay and offers abundant opportunities for beach-combing, storm-watching, and surfing. Further south, the Broken Group Islands section is made up of over 100 small islands and is a dream destination for beginner and advanced kayakers alike. Further south still, the West Coast Trail is a challenging 75-kilometre backpacking route not to be taken lightly.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is a popular summertime destination, but it should not be overlooked for an “off-season” getaway. In the winter, the Pacific Ocean is whipped in to a frenzy and the storm watching is second to none. No matter which season you plan your visit, you will find many things to see and do while you are there.
What to do
Highlights in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve include:
- Beachcombing: One of the best things to do in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is beachcombing. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day wandering the shores of Long Beach. Bring your dog, too. Long Beach is one of the only dog-friendly protected areas in Canada, however dogs must be on-leash at all times.
- Kayaking: With some advanced planning, kayaking the Broken Group is an adventure you will never forget. The Broken Group is rich in wildlife, including sea lions, whales, and bears. It is also home to unique coastal features including sea arches and sea caves.
- Kwisitis Visitor Centre: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is on the traditional lands of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. At the Kwisitis Visitor Centre you can take in the spectacular views from the deck before heading inside to learn about the area through a variety of exhibits. After your time at the Visitor Centre, head out for a self-guided walk on the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail.
- Surfing: Numerous licensed operators work in Pacific Rim and without too much trouble you should be able to find someone who can hook you up with rentals and lessons. Don’t forget a wetsuit, the water is cold even on the warmest summer day.
- Storm Watching: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is not only a summertime destination. In fact, from November to March the park comes into its own as a winter storm watching destination and is known worldwide for its huge waves.
In the Area
Tofino and Ucluelet have capitalized on their coastal location and proximity to Pacific Rim National Park and both offer a variety of activities and attractions. In Ucluelet, check out the Wild Pacific Trail for an easy coastal walk. My favourite section of the trail is the 2.5 kilometre Lighthouse Loop that takes you out to the 102-year old Amphitrite Lighthouse. In Tofino, consider joining a tour or hiring a charter and heading to Hot Springs Cove, a series of natural hot pools accessible only by boat or float plane.
Where to Stay
Camping in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve can be a bit tricky as there is only one campground within the Long Beach unit. The Green Point Campground offers 94 drive-in sites and an additional 20 walk-in sites. During the summer season, advanced reservations are a must if you want to stay in the park itself. A handful of private campgrounds are available in both Tofino and Ucluelet, but just like in the National Park, make a reservation ahead of time if you are travelling during the busy summer season.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve offers a huge range of opportunities for exploration. From highly accessible and popular options in the Long Beach Unit to the extreme backcountry of the West Coast Trail, you are guaranteed to find something to suit whatever your heart desires. Keep in mind this park’s popularity when planning your trip. It can sometimes be a challenge to find accommodation on busy summer weekends and you will be greatly rewarded if you book your trip in advance. Don’t worry, though, with 16 kilometres of sandy beaches in the Long Beach Unit, you are sure to find a place that feels as though it is meant just for you.
If this area interests you, check out our drive:
From Coast to Coast on Vancouver Island: Vancouver to Tofino
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Check out more blogs in the National Parks & Historic Sites series:
Share your BC camping and travel photos using hashtag #campinbc
Published: August 17th, 2017
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