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offroad vacation travel campground in British Columbia

All different types of campgrounds in BC

4x4 camper one-way rental to Whitehorse Yukon
Free camping in Cariboo

British Columbia is home to numerous campgrounds that provide various camping styles and amenities. Most of the campgrounds can generally be categorized into: recreational sites, government-managed campgrounds and private campgrounds. Read along for the differences between all of them, so you can pick the experience that suits you best. 

rec recreation site Squamish river
Rec Site

Recreational Sites
(Rec Sites) are a variety of campgrounds, ranging from very simple campgrounds to more developed areas. Rec Sites can be found across the province and cater to different people looking for various outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and boating. Recreation sites allow you to escape to remote and spectacular destinations, away from the large crowds. These campgrounds are often located in remote areas, providing a rustic camping experience. Amenities may be very basic, but these sites offer a great chance to immerse oneself in the wilderness. Staying on many Rec sites that don’t have an operator on site, is often for free. Other Rec Sites ask a small fee or a donation. Make sure you always carry cash, as they don’t accept cards.

Provincial Parks
The Provincial Parks of British Columbia are a collection of properties (more than 1,000 parks and protected areas) owned or administered by BC Parks. A lot of these parks offer a range of amenities, designated campsites, fire rings, and (basic) facilities. Some popular provincial parks for camping include: Garibaldi Provincial Park, Manning Park Provincial Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park. Camping here is not free, and often requires a reservation made upfront. 

campground Boya Lake
BC Park campground at Boya Lake

National Parks
Parks Canada manages National Parks in the province, such as Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Yoho National Park. These parks offer camping opportunities with many amenities for a comfortable camping experience amid breathtaking landscapes and often include both front-country and backcountry camping options. Camping here is not free, and often requires a reservation made upfront. 

Commercial Campgrounds 
Numerous private campgrounds operate throughout British Columbia. These are typically run by private businesses and offer a variety of amenities, including hookups for RVs, shower facilities, and organized recreational activities. Private campgrounds are often situated near popular tourist destinations and outdoor recreation areas. Although in a beautiful natural setting, some campgrounds are more like parking lots whith almost no privacy on the sites. Camping here is not free, and often very expensive compared to the BC Parks campgrounds.

campground Cowichan Lake
Commercial campground at Lake Cowichan

Resort Campgrounds 
Some upscale resorts like Salmon Point in British Columbia provide camping facilities as part of their wide range of offerings. These campgrounds may have additional amenities like swimming pools, restaurants, and guided outdoor activities. Camping here is not free, and often requires a reservation made upfront.

Wilderness Camping B.C.
Boasts an extensive backcountry with opportunities for wilderness camping. This involves camping in undeveloped areas, often requiring permits, extensive knowledge about the backcountry and wildlife, and strict adherence to Leave No Trace principles. Parks like Pacific Rim National Park Reserve offer opportunities for coastal wilderness camping such as the West Coast Trail. Famous for its ruggedness, hundreds of man-made ladders and bridges, lush rainforests, and beautiful beach campsites.

First Nations Campgrounds
Some Indigenous communities in British Columbia operate campgrounds that provide visitors with an opportunity to experience the rich cultural and natural heritage of the region. These campgrounds may incorporate traditional practices and storytelling.

Free Camping Areas
In more remote regions, free camping areas, also known as ‘boondocking’

Wild Camping - Free Camping - Boondocking in British Columbia
Boondocking in BC

or ‘dispersed camping’, allow visitors to camp without established amenities around. These sites are typically less developed, or not at all, but provide a more secluded experience. Please minimize your environmental footprint by following the Leave No Trace principles.

All in all, British Columbia offers a wide array of camping experiences. From well-equipped provincial parks and private campgrounds to remote wilderness areas. The diversity of options ensures that explorers can find a suitable setting based on their preferences, if they seek a comfortable camping experience, or a rugged adventure in the backcountry.


Free road trip plan
At Maple Overland, we are happy to help you create your ideal adventure travel itinerary. After booking, you will receive a small questionnaire which tells us a bit about your travel preferences, what your outdoor experience is, who you are traveling with, and which wishes you have for your trip. This way we can help you explore British Columbia more efficiently. After all, 1 perfect travel route that fits everyone doesn’t exist. 

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