Our Favorite Vancouver Island Campgrounds

by - Sunday, August 30, 2015

Vancouver Island will forever have my heart. It's easy to be captivated by the rugged coastlines, ancient rainforests, windswept cliffs, and mountains with views to the sea. With a laidback Island vibe, it's the perfect holiday destination.

Camping is a great way to experience the Island during the summer. For large sites and interpretive programs, you can count on the major provincial parks. Private campgrounds offer different amenities such as private beaches or laundromats. Here are a few of our favorite Vancouver Island campgrounds. Be sure to book in advance as these places fill up fast!


Goldstream Provincial Park, VICTORIA

Goldstream is a well appointed provincial park campground tucked away in a residential neighborhood. Although it is only half an hour from Victoria (16 km), we felt miles away from civilization in this beautiful campground full of old growth forest. Imagine camping with 600 year old trees! Sites are gorgeous, large, private and clean. 

I would highly recommend Goldstream as a standalone destination or base camp for exploring Victoria (be sure to visit the harbour and go for tea at the Empress!). Goldstream has great hiking, but French Beach and the Butchard Gardens are manageable day trips less than an hour away.

Goldstream Provincial Park
Activities
  • Adventure playground 
  • Biking - Pump track and skills loop trails 
  • Fishing
  • Hiking - There are several hikes within the park including the impressive Niagara Falls and smaller, but also pretty, Goldstream Falls.
Amenities
  • Water: yes
  • Power: yes
  • Showers: yes
Special Notes: Since the campsites are large, it's a bit of a walk to the flush toilets and washrooms. Bring bikes or book your site accordingly. 

French Beach (50 minutes away)

Bella Pacifica Campground, TOFINO

Bella Pacifica is one of few seaside campgrounds in the Tofino area. Choose a waterfront site on beautiful MacKenzie Beach, or a forest site nestled in old growth forest. This is the most expensive campground in the area, but offers the most amenities and is closest to Tofino. We would stay there again for its great location. 

Chesterman Beach, Tofino Area
Activities: Surfing, hiking, beach walks. Chesterman Beach (where we got married!), Cox Bay (go at sunset!), and Long Beach are our favorite beaches. 

Amenities 
  • Water: yes
  • Power: yes
  • Showers: yes
  • Laundromat and pay phones
Special Notes
  • Book a waterfront site or specify that you need a larger site when making your reservation as some of the forested sites are quite small (see below).
  • If you cannot get a spot, consider Green Point Campground in Pacific Rim National Park (near Long Beach) or Wya Point (near Ucluelet). 
Forest Site at Bella Pacifica Campground
Jumping for joy on MacKenzie Beach

Wya Point Campground, UCLUELET

Wya Point Resort has lodges, yurts, and a campground with RV sites and walk-in sites. We chose to stay in a walk-in site near the beach. Although we paid for a "forest" site, we were literally 10 steps from the beach, so we felt it was great value! Being outside the national park and down a private road, made for an awesomely secluded private beach.

Wya Point Beach
The walk in was about 30 metres and wheelbarrows were provided to transport our gear to our site. Large bear lockers and pit toilets were well spaced out throughout the campground and flush toilets, showers and a dishwashing sink were located near the yurts (with more washrooms and a sink near the upper parking lot).

While walk-in camping is a bit more work than car camping, we felt it was worth it to stay at this beautiful, secluded spot.  

Activities
  • Surfing, hiking, beach walks. Chesterman Beach (where we got married!), Cox Bay (go at sunset!), and Long Beach are our favorite beaches but we really enjoyed hanging out at the beach near our campground every day too!
  • The Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet is an excellent day trip. We hiked the Lighthouse Loop and Artist Loops.
Wya Point Forest Site
Amenities
  • Water: yes (near the yurts)
  • Power: no
  • Showers: yes (near the yurts)
  • Large bear lockers. Each site is allocated 2 shelves so you can bring a small BBQ and large cooler and have room to spare.
Special Notes:
  • There is no water in the walk-in camping area. You must get water from the upper parking lot or yurt area (3 minute walk). Bring a big water jug for toting water and dish bin!  
  • Request a site big enough for your party. Our site was small, and the fire ring was quite close to the tent, but we liked its location.
  • The drive-in RV sites up top are basic gravel pads with a bit of a walk to the beach and don't have much shade, but are close to the flush toilets and water. 
  • Yurts and lodge suites are also available.
Amphitrite Lighthouse along Wild Pacific Trail, Ucluelet
Wya Point Yurts

 Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, PARKSVILLE

Half the families I know went to Rathtrevor Beach this summer and once you go, you'll know why. If you're looking for a beach with warm water, sand perfect for sand castle building, and sheltered water for paddling, this is your place! We relaxed here after backpacking sections of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.

Rathtrevor Beach

Activities
  • Three Adventure Playgrounds - two in the campground (1 has a small bike park!) and one in the day use area near the beach
  • Rathtrevor Nature House with regular programs - kids can participate in Jerry's Rangers daily during the summer. My girls planted a tree and learned about slugs.
  • Paddling (except when tide is low), swimming, fishing
  • Hiking - There are a few kilometres of easy hikes within the park including the Old Farm Field Trail (no bikes allowed), trails around the campground and parallel to the beach. For a bigger hike, try the Top Bridge Regional Trail (5 km one way). 
  • Biking - Bikes are allowed on the sides of the roads and on the pathways adjacent to the beach, but not on the beach. We enjoyed biking to the store at the top of Rathtrevor Road (park entrance) for ice cream!
Rathtrevor Beach Adventure Playground (in day use area)
Amenities
  • Water: yes
  • Power: yes
  • Showers: yes
Special Notes: The tide goes out really far (about a kilometre) and comes in really high, so bring chairs or waterproof beach mats (and move them to higher ground before the tide comes in!) as most of the beach stays wet most of the time.

Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, Parksville, BC

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