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Snow Shoeing Mt Washington, BC

Vancouver Island, British Columbia Off-Season Adventures

‘Canada’s Mediterranean’, is how I like to refer to Central Vancouver Island. It offers more year-round outdoor recreational opportunities in mind-blowing scenery, than I’ll ever have time to enjoy in one lifetime. But I’m trying– and the best part is that so many activities are absolutely free!

Stocking Creek Falls, Ladysmith | Photo: Scott Littlejohn, Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Resort, Nanaimo

To get you started let me give you just a couple of very different ‘cool season’ activities on different parts of the Island, along with two fantastic year-round RV parks located close to each mini adventure.

Life’s too short not to visit the best places, right? So let’s start this Island winter season sampler with…

…a Waterfall!

Stocking Creek Regional Park

Nothing screams “Vancouver Island” like a waterfall– we’ve got the tallest one in Canada here, but the one I’ll show you today is near the popular year-round Country Maples RV Resort.  Stocking Creek Falls is just south of the neat little town of Ladysmith—and you HAVE to see their downtown Christmas light up if you’re here during the festive season!!

Ladysmith Festival of Lights

The Stocking Creek Regional Park is the start of a tranquil 2km loop trail in a lush rainforest alongside the clear babbling creek that leads to the stunning viewing platform above the picture-perfect waterfall.

And if you’re nimble and sure of foot (although it’s not recommended for safety reasons), it is possible to get behind the waterfall and look out through the water curtain—it’s so loud back there!!!

Check out the video of the recent winter hike I took there with our RV Snowbirds. Love this park!

Groomed Trail Snowshoeing at Mt. Washington Alpine Resort

And my second ‘quiet season’ Island adventure, is to head up Island to the Comox Valley, and get your rig set up in another great RV park near the ocean – Seal Bay RV Park in Courtenay.

After setting up camp, it’s a short drive inland and up to Mt. Washington Alpine Resort, which borders world famous Strathcona Provincial Park, BC’s oldest park, and home to Canada’s tallest waterfall with a drop of 440 meters!

Mt. Washington with Ocean Views | Photo: Scott Littlejohn, Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Resort, Nanaimo

It’s also one of the few places anywhere that you can ski AND have a view of the ocean!

One of the things they brag about in the Comox Valley is that you can golf in the morning and ski in the afternoon!

Although there are exceptions to all rules, on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, the expectation is that white stuff stays on the mountains, while at sea level, anything that comes down from the sky is rain. I love snow, but I don’t want home delivery– except Christmas Eve.

These days, I head to Mt. Washington to relax. I leave the downhill skiing aside, and instead, pack a lunch and head to the beautiful Raven Lodge just below the ski hill overlooking the valley and Paradise Meadows (and it is!). There you can rent some snowshoes and get out for a couple hours exploring the groomed trails in this stunning location.

Snowshoeing, Mt. Washington, Scott Littlejohn, Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Resort, Nanaimo

Of course, the crisp mountain air and ‘shoeing works up an appetite, so the perfect ending is to drop off the snowshoes and sit under the massive wood beams of the lodge, and park beside the fireplace in a big comfy chair and enjoy lunch. They make fabulous, well priced lunches, or you bring your own, and just purchase a glass of wine or a hot chocolate while telling stories or dozing by the fire and enjoying the view over the valley.

Check out the video – you want to do this – and if you haven’t tried the modern snowshoes, it’s as easy as walking!

45 minutes later, you’re back down in Courtenay, and just outside of town, the tranquility of Seal Bay RV Park welcomes you home. It even has a stocked fishing pond onsite!

Seal Bay RV Park Fishing Pond

Visit Vancouver Island this Winter and Stay Awhile!

As I said, winter and summer sports are possible on the same day in Canada’s Mediterranean! While the rest of Canada deals with real winter, if you have an RV, you can still stay in Canada where your dollar goes farther, enjoy the lower off-season monthly RV park rates at award winning parks, and have an active lifestyle with endless adventures.

Happy Retirees at Living Forest Oceanside Campground & RV Resort, Nanaimo

Special Places Google Map Makes it Easy

Visit my ‘Vancouver Island Special Places’ Google Map, and use your favourite digital device to find other amazing places to see and things to do on Vancouver Island. The map currently has over 60 different placemarks of ‘must see places’ and is growing.

The placemarks on the map for each location are colour-coded to indicate the activity level or fitness level needed to explore. Green ones are easy, Yellow a bit more challenging, then Blue, then Red. Clicking on a placemark will open a window of information about the spot, with a short write-up, and links to photos and videos showing you why each place is a jewel.

TIP: If you find this blog interesting why not subscribe to the enewsletter and never miss another story!

This winter, don’t hibernate—activate!

If this area interests you, check out our drive:
From Coast to Coast on Vancouver Island: Vancouver to Tofino

For other places to camp in the winter, plus more winter blogs and how-to information go to Winter Camping in British Columbia.

Share your BC travel and winter camping photos using hashtag #CampinBC

It’s always a great day to #campinbc

Three Places Where British Columbia’s Cariboo Region Locals Like to Camp

Sometimes, the best places to explore just happen to be in your own backyard. Especially when you live in beautiful British Columbia!

Every summer, we connect with locals from the Cariboo Region as they set out on their annual camping trips with their families.

Fishing at Crater Lake, Cariboo
Fishing at Crater Lake in the Cariboo

Over the past few years, these local families have shared their Cariboo Region camping experiences with us—from the new places they’ve only just discovered to those family-favourites that they love to revisit. 

Here are three places where our local Cariboo Region friends like to camp.

Mahood Lake

Mahood Lake is a great camping destination in the southern Cariboo Region. You’ll know that you’re getting close when you start to see huge forests of cedar and fir trees. If you like fishing and swimming, this is the perfect lake to visit.

Our friends from Quesnel visited Mahood Lake a few years ago and set up camp at Wells Gray Provincial Park—located on the western end of Mahood Lake. They described the forest when they entered the park as though they had just stepped into a fairy tale.

Wells Gray Provincial Park Entrance
Arriving at Wells Gray Provincial Park

They found the campsite to be very clean and accessible—featuring great places for kids to bike around and a popular playground to meet new friends at.

Wells Gray Provincial Park Playground
Wells Gray Provincial Park Playground

They also found some great hikes to explore that were accessible right from the campground—Canim River Trail, Deception Falls Trail and Mahood Falls Trail.

Deception Falls, Cariboo
A View of Deception Falls

The closest trail was Canim River Trail—only 1 km away from their campground. Deception Falls Trail was a bit further at about 8 km away. They found both trails to be family-friendly and full of beautiful sights! They even were able to portage their kayaks down the Canim River Trail to the river.

Kayaking on Canim River
Kayaking on Canim River

The Mahood Falls Trail was only 5 km away from their campsite. Even riding their bikes, they found this trail to be a bit more challenging with its incline—but still safe for kids.

View from Mahood Falls Trail
View from Mahood Falls Trail

All that pedaling was definitely worth it when they reached the beautiful Canim Falls!

Canim Falls, Cariboo
Overlooking Canim Falls while on the Mahood Falls Trail

Green Lake

Our friends from 100 Mile House set out to camp at Green Lake for their camping trip last summer.

They stayed at the Sunset View campground at Green Lake Provincial Park. This has been one of their family’s favourite places to camp over the years and rightfully named Sunset View—as they said that they always see the most amazing sunsets there.

Sunset over Green Lake, Cariboo
Sunset over Green Lake

They found a nice camping spot—spacious and close to the lake and a playground.

This family loves to head out and explore when they camp. Their first day trip was to Chasm Creek Valley—a quick 30-minute drive from Green Lake. Their kids were fascinated by the ancient lava rock formations, created by glacial melt water erosion.

Chasm Canyon, Cariboo
Chasm Canyon

For their second day trip, they visited Crater Lake, BC for the very first time as a family. This place featured more stunning views and waterfalls. They even brought their fishing rods to see what they could catch!

One of the most interesting sights they came across was devastation from the 2017 wildfires—now covered with vibrant greenery as it continues to grow back.

Ghost Lake

Our same friends from Quesnel went out on a second summer camping trip that year—this time, exploring along the historical Gold Rush Trail.

They set up camp at Ghost Lake, nestled into Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park. They found a very scenic camping spot at the banks of the Matthew River—looking out on beautiful turquoise water and the vast Cariboo Mountains.

Kayaking on Ghost Lake, Cariboo
Kayaking on Ghost Lake

They couldn’t resist getting out on the water as soon as they set up camp. It was the perfect lake for afternoons filled with kayaking, paddle-boarding and cliff-jumping.

Our friends weren’t the only ones who found the lake so peaceful and inviting. They even saw a deer come out onto the banks of the river to take a drink. It’s always exciting to see wildlife on camping trips—and there sure is a lot to see in the Cariboo Region!

Ladies Creek Rec Site, Cariboo
A Peaceful End to the Day at Ladies Creek Recreation Site

After packing up and heading to nearby Likely, BC to check out a trail, they set up camp just an hour from Ghost Lake at Ladies Creek Recreation Site on Cariboo Lake—ending the day with a beach fire-cooked dinner and a sunset paddle.

You’re never short of finding new places to explore in the Cariboo Region!

TIP: If you find this blog interesting why not subscribe to the enewsletter and never miss another story!

If the Cariboo interests you, check out our drive:
Following the BC Gold Rush Trail through the Cariboo & Beyond

For other campgrounds in this area or elsewhere in British Columbia go to the Camping Map

Share your BC travel and camping photos using hashtag #campinbc, #BCNice, #explorebc

Published: November 5th, 2020

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