Camping Around Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Sea to Sky, Sunshine Coast


Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 — 9:44am PST
Comments 10

Summertime when I was growing up meant family camping trips. We’d pack up our van, head across BC, pitch our tents, and swim in lakes. It seems harder and harder to “get away from it all” as we grow older and have kids of our own. Quick trips aren’t usually that quick and take a lot of time to coordinate and execute. However, camping can still be last-minute Friday afternoon decision in some cases. I’ve researched a few local campgrounds within easy driving distance of Vancouver that might just fit the bill.

There are more options than just these parks listed below but I thought I would keep my search results to under 2.5 hours driving distance.

Camping Around Metro Vancouver

Park Name: Golden Ears Provincial Park
Canoeing, climbing, hiking, fishing, pets on leash, windsurfing, waterskiing, swimming.
Distance from Vancouver: 90 minutes [Google Map]

July 6 Lake Sunset
Alouette Lake, Golden Ears. Photo credit: Jody Taylor on Flickr – Submitted to the Miss604 Flickr Pool.

Fraser Valley

Park Name: Rolley Lake Provincial Park
Canoeing, cycling, hiking, fishing, pets on leash, waterskiing, swimming.
Distance from Vancouver: 75 minutes [Google Map]

Park Name: Cultus Lake Provincial Park
Canoeing, cycling, fishing, hiking, waterskiing, pets on leash, swimming.
Distance from Vancouver: 1 hour 41 minutes [Google Map]

Park Name: Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park
Canoeing, climbing, hiking, fishing, pets on leash, waterskiing, swimming.
Distance from Vancouver: 2 hours 30 minutes [Google Map]

Park Name: Silver Lake Provincial Park
Cycling, hiking, fishing, pets on leash, swimming.
Distance from Vancouver: 2 hours 8 minutes [Google Map]

Park Name: Kilby Provincial Park
Cycling, fishing, pets on leash, swimming.
Distance from Vancouver: 1 hour 48 minutes [Google Map]

Park Name: Sasquatch Provincial Park
Canoeing, cycling, fishing, hiking, windsurfing, waterskiing, pets on leash, swimming.
Distance from Vancouver: 2 hours 20 minutes [Google Map]

Sea to Sky Corridor

Park Name: Porteau Cove Provincial Park
Canoeing, cycling, fishing, pets on leash, swimming, windsurfing, scuba.
Distance from Vancouver: 51 minutes [Google Map]

Park Name: Alice Lake Provincial Park
Canoeing, cycling, fishing, hiking, pets on leash, swimming.
Distance from Vancouver: 75 minutes [Google Map]

The Earth Spins
Porteau Cove. Photo credit: waynesonc on Flickr – Submitted to the Miss604 Flickr Pool.

Sunshine Coast

Park Name: Mount Richardson Provincial Park
Canoeing, hiking, fishing, pets on leash, swimming, scuba.
Distance from Vancouver: 2 hours 30 minutes (with Langdale Ferry) [Google Map]

Park Name: Roberts Creek Provincial Park
Cycling, fishing, hiking, pets on leash, swimming.
Distance from Vancouver: 2 hours 5 minutes (with Langdale Ferry) [Google Map]

Park Name: Porpoise Bay Provincial Park
Canoeing, cycling, hiking, fishing, pets on leash, swimming.
Distance from Vancouver: 2 hours 22 minutes (with Langdale Ferry) [Google Map]

Each park has its own advisories and amenities so be sure to read up on the campground before you head out. Many of the BC Parks camping spots have been booked up through the reservation system but there are still a small number of openings and room left for first-come, first-served campground bookings. Call ahead to 1-800-689-9025 for more information.

Related: 10 BC Parks to Visit For Camping Season // Camping in North West Washington State

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10 comments

  1. Duane Storey says:

    The problem with the first come first serve campsites is that many of them are basically already gone the moment the booths open in the morning. For example, I drove up to Cultus Lake at around 8am one Friday morning to try and get a site for the weekend – there was already a huge line-up of cars, and the last few FCFS sites went right away. I then drove to Golden Ears to try and get a site, and it was full too.

    I suspect it’s probably a better option for the ones around the Squamish area, but my experience is that most sites in the Lower Mainland fill up almost immediately, which is a bit sad because I grew up being able to camp whenever I wanted. Or if you can, try and take Friday off and book three days – I think it may be easier to drive up and get a site on the Thursday.

  2. NicT says:

    Yeah, I’m sorry to be such a downer, but I haven’t been able to get into anything “local” for years now, just for the weekend. People book the sites up ASAP, blocking the week beforehand in advance to get the weekend. As someone that gets off work at 5PM on a Friday, there’s no way I can get into a first come, first served site.

  3. Thanks for the roundup! My family and I hit a number of these in our tent last year, and recently discovered Sasquatch Provincial Park. We lucked out once at Deer Lake (the OTHER Deer Lake, near Harrison in Sasquatch) without reservations and the next time we went weren’t as lucky (it was full) so we headed up the road and found a sweet BC Forestry Service campground right on Harrison Lake that had a bunch of spots available.

  4. Sorry guys but my sister’s family of 7 has packed up and gone out camping on a whim to Sasquatch and found a spot. It IS possible, don’t give up!

  5. Haven’t gone camping in BC for a while, but last time I did reservations were a must. We camp quite a bit in Oregon where they have a terrific reservation system … even allows you to select the individual spot and some even have virtual pictures of it.

    Sadly, I believe the days of deciding Friday morning to go camping Friday evening are over. Supply and demand, etc. You may have better luck with private campgrounds.

  6. Jenny says:

    We go out camping last minute all the time (the 7 of us). I think most people can’t handle not having a set destination but if you are open to adventure and camping wherever you find room for the night it is possible and a lot of fun.

  7. ALL of our camping adventures are last minute! We’ve never reserved a spot online and relish in the adventure of finding a spot. We have yet to end up sleeping on the side of the road or having to drive back to civilization and a hotel… but if we did, it would just be a part of the adventure.

  8. Erin says:

    The link for Kilby Provincial Park goes to Silver Lake Provincial Park instead!

  9. Ruth Hartnup says:

    It’s not 604, but there are also lots of campsites within 2-3 hours’ drive of Vancouver in Washington State. I haven’t tried any of them yet – Larrabee looks nice – but we are going to Dash Point near Tacoma this weekend. We did make reservations though; I’m risk-averse, especially with a (not very mellow) toddler in tow.

  10. Jill B says:

    Don’t forget the AMAZING camping sites in Pemberton. Nairn Falls and Birkenhead. All within 3 hours of VanCity. Seriously, worth the drive. And why not pick up some Schramms Organic Potato Vodka or Gin on your way through?

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