Discover 8 Camping Experiences in British Columbia This Summer
Once again this summer you’re likely looking to escape the city and get outdoors. For those of us who are lucky enough to live in BC, we have an incredible backyard to explore. From remote wilderness experiences, family-friendly campgrounds to luxury glamping, BC offers an array of camping options. Here’s a short list of camping options slightly off the beaten path to pitch your tent, park your RV, or claim your cabin.
One of BC’s best kept secrets are the numerous lakes and untamed wilderness near BC’s ‘Fishing Highway’ 24. While fishing is a popular activity, you can also spend time wildlife viewing, swimming, or paddling. Ten-ee-ah Lodge is nestled on the shore of Spout Lake, a 2 hour drive north of Cache Creek and offers stunning scenery and your choice of luxe cabins or waterfront, tree-lined campsites.
A Fishing & Paddling Haven
Head southeast and you’ll find family-friendly South Point Resort on Canim Lake, one of the largest lakes in the Cariboo at 23 km long. Go swimming or fishing just steps from your lakeside campsite or cabin. Explore the shoreline and rent a pontoon boat, stand up paddle boards, or kayaks for a day.
If you haven’t had your fishing fix yet, head east along Canim Lake Road to Mahood Lake Campground, another family-friendly camping spot in Wells Gray Provincial Park. Hike to three spectacular waterfalls or spend the afternoon paddling or swimming nearby.
Rugged Fraser River Canyon
The scenery from this Lillooet campground is unrivalled. Fraser Cove Campground & Guest Cabin is tucked on the shores of the mighty Fraser River and offers a unique opportunity for riverfront camping. Go fishing or rent an e-bike to explore the trails. Take in the views as you walk or bike over the nearby historic suspension bridge or visit Fort Berens Estate Winery just down the road. Bring your tent, RV or plan to stay in the charming cabin overlooking the Fraser River.
BC’s Mining History
If you’re interested in BC’s mining history, visit Gold Panner Campground located 50 minutes east of Vernon in the forested foothills of the Monashee Mountains. Founded on a Chinese heritage mining operation, pan for gold, explore the hiking trails, and immerse yourself in history. Campers with tents and RV’s are welcome, and modern chalets and rustic cabins are also available.
Further south through the Monashee Mountains, go hiking and mountain biking in the historic mining town of Trail, BC. Take in the views of the river from the Columbia River Skywalk suspension bridge or go swimming at Gyro Park. Bring your tent or RV and plan to camp at the City of Trail RV Park where tree lined sites provide shade and privacy and kids can play at the playground.
Seaside Adventures & Riverside Cottages
For seaside adventures, head north up the Sunshine Coast past Powell River to Lund, the northernmost town on Highway 101. This small marine village is the jumping off point for boaters headed to Desolation Sound or nearby islands. Bring your RV or reserve a cabin at SunLund By-The-Sea Resort & RV Park surrounded by trees and steps from the ocean. Walk tree-lined footpaths to restaurants, groceries, and Lund Harbour where you can rent kayaks, charter fishing boats, or go sightseeing.
Mountain Lake & Rainforest
Tucked deep in the rainforest and mountains on Vancouver Island, Snow Creek Recreation Site Campground is a 3.5 hour drive from Victoria, west of Port Alberni. The campground has 27 campsites and is on the shores of Sprout Lake. There is a small boat launch and it offers excellent fishing and a tranquil setting for camping. Access is via a forest service road and 4×4 vehicles are recommended. Please pack out what you pack in and be respectful of wildlife. Reserve your campsite ahead of time to guarantee your spot.
Wherever you decide to camp, be safe and have fun. For more camping trip ideas and locations visit https://www.campingrvbc.com/.
“It’s always a great day to #CampinBC”
Exploring British Columbia’s Recreation Sites and Trails: Lundbom Lake
Sometimes, the weather can be tough in the lower mainland of British Columbia. Rain and overcast skies can put a serious damper on our motivation to get out of the house and into the great outdoors. Last spring, we put the dreary weather behind us and headed to the Nicola Valley to explore Lundbom Lake, one of BC’s fabulous Recreation Sites.
After doing some preliminary research at home, we discovered that Lundbom Lake, less than half an hour from Merritt, offered a huge range of outdoor activity opportunities including fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and ATVing. Without a second thought, we loaded up our dog, our tent trailer, and our mountain bikes and headed for the much sunnier weather of BC’s interior for a weekend getaway.
Accessing Lundbom Lake is quite simple. From Merritt, take Highway 5A/97C (the Okanagan Connector) then turn off on Lundbom Lake Road – a well maintained gravel road. Upon leaving the highway, you first pass the Laurie Guichon Grasslands Interpretive Area. This is a really neat area with interpretive signage, a short trail, a viewing platform, and a wildlife tree. It makes for an interesting and informative stop to learn about grasslands ecology and local history.
Next the road passes Marquart Lake, the first option for camping. Marquart Lake is interesting because the water level has been rapidly decreasing and you can clearly see where the lake used to be. Marquart Lake has both tenting and RV sites, but we chose to carry on to Lundbom Lake, another 5-10 minutes down the road.
As you crest the hill and begin the descent towards Lundbom Lake, you first come to the Lundbom Lake West campground. This site offers quite a few campsites, as well as horse corrals. As we are not horseback riders, we chose to keep going on the road around Lundbom Lake until we came to the Lundbom Lake East campground. Here we found our perfect campsite: sunny, only feet from the lake, and level – which made it easy to set up our tent trailer!
After establishing our campsite, we had a great evening of board games, a campfire, and simply enjoying the beautiful weather. We were visited by the site operator who collected our camping fees (a very reasonable $12 per night) and gave us some tips on mountain biking in the area.
The next morning we unloaded our bikes, met up with family, and headed for the Lundbom/Tent Mountain Bike Trail. The trail, a 12-kilometer route managed by the Merritt Mountain Bike Association, is a fantastic beginner to intermediate ride leaving right from the campground. The trail has rolling hills, making it ideal for beginner mountain bikers like me who are nervous about the steep downhill sections of some mountain biking trails! The route follows old access roads and horse trails and is a great mix of open grasslands and treed areas which would provide welcome relief from the hot sun during the summer months.
As always when camping, it is important to remember that we are heading into areas where wildlife is present. On our bike ride, we saw a bear out enjoying the sunshine. Fortunately, the bear had very little interest in us and headed the other way as soon as it heard us coming, but it is always important to be Bear Aware when heading into the wilderness.
After our ride we returned to the campground where we had a great conversation with a woman who was out for a day of fishing. She told us that Lundbom Lake has amazing fishing opportunities and even gave us a hint as to the “secret spot” to catch the biggest fish!
Our weekend at Lundbom Lake gave us a break from the dreary lower mainland weather and the opportunity to easily (and inexpensively) access the outdoors. We will definitely be back as our weekend away only scratched at the surface of the many things to do at this BC Recreation Site.
First published November 2017 and updated September 2019.
Planning Your First Camping Trip? Make it Easy
The warmer weather is approaching so if you’re thinking about camping this year for the first time what you should know is that camping doesn’t have to be a complicated adventure. It can be easy, cost-effective and most importantly fun! Here are some tips to help with your planning.
Reserve Ahead of Time
Reserving a campsite decreases the stress of wondering if there will be a site available when you arrive at your preferred destination. Camping is popular in BC and when the weather warms up, the campsites fill up. Also, if you know where you are going your packing will be more efficient as you can plan accordingly based on the activities in the area and then pack appropriate clothing and gear.
A good resource to help find all campgrounds (provincial, private, national and recreation sites) located throughout British Columbia is www.campingrvbc.com/camping. You can also make a reservation at some provincial parks at DiscoverCamping. For national parks go to Parks Canada Reservation Service. To reserve at a private facility, contact the individual campground. More information on Recreation Sites can be found at sitesandtrailsbc.ca
Write a to-do list of all the things that need to be done in preparation for your camping trip.
The clothes are determined by the weather forecast, type of camping (RVing, tenting) and where you are going, (beach, mountain, etc.). Also by the activities you will want to do.
Discuss this with the family. Consider the area you are travelling to. What is there to do when you get there? Are their activities in the campground or will you have to leave the campground. Resort areas such as Penticton in the Okanagan have many attractions and activities to offer all members of the family. Some campgrounds and RV parks are a small resort unto themselves with water sports, organised activities, trails and more.
Start with a basic list of essentials (tent, tarp, water jug, cooler, camping stove, dishes, pots, etc.) then scour the house and garage to gather items on the list that you already have. Check out garage sales, thrift stores and online used-merchandise sites for the things you don’t have. See if friends or family are willing to lend you some of their gear for your first few trips while you gradually accumulate all the essentials that you need. Remember, you can always upgrade later when your budget allows, and the opportunity presents itself (watch for awesome deals in end-of-season flyers).
Food & Cooking Utensils
Write out a menu and grocery list based on how many meals you will need, what type and the ingredients required. Start by rifling through your kitchen for the ingredients and those items you don’t have put on a shopping list.
Keep it simple and easy. Separately freeze home-made pasta sauce, pasta or straight up soup, chili or stew for an easy meal. Use large, sturdy Ziploc bags or plastic containers that do double duty by acting as edible “ice” in your cooler. Bagels, pita or unsliced bread travel better and are multi-purpose. Downsize bulky staples (butter, condiments, etc.) into small plastic containers. Pack things like tea, coffee and sugar into Ziploc bags. Make your own ice by freezing water in lidded, plastic milk jugs (as they thaw, you’ll have an extra supply of drinking water). Pack hard boiled eggs, a chunk of cheese and some fresh fruit for an easy and nutritious lunch. Toss quick-cooking rolled oats in a Ziploc bag along with some nuts and raisins, for quick and easy breakfast.
Wide mouthed insulated cups can be used for everything from hot and cold beverages, to soup, pasta and cereal. Empty ice-cream buckets can be packed with kitchen gear, then double as a dish-pan or water bucket. Use the lid as a cutting board or serving tray.
- Pack pots that stack into one another
- Pack small spice containers or one that has compartmentalized spices
- Choose food that can stack into one another, for example pringle chips vs a bag of chips
- Use cooking utensils or equipment that have multifunctional purposes, for instance a plastic milk carton can later be used as a container to make juice out of a concentrate.
- Shrink condiments into smaller containers
Camping in BC’s great outdoors is a fun activity for all the family, even if your experience is limited and your budget almost non-existent. Be creative and have fun!
Share your BC camping, RVing and travel photos using #CampinBC.
Published: April 1st, 2018
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