MAY 31 2023    
7 Best Tent Camping Locations in Greater Vancouver
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7 Best Tent Camping Locations in Greater Vancouver

Disclosure: Opinions, camping practices, and experiences expressed with articles posted here or otherwise via user-generated content posted elsewhere on this site are solely the authors’ and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, camping practices, or experiences of this website or Camping Tools, Inc.

If you’re living in Vancouver, there are likely times when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and take in all the natural beauty the province has to offer. Camping is a great way to get away for the weekend and give yourself the time to slow down and reconnect with nature. Of course, you can rent a cabin if that’s your vibe, but there’s nothing quite like pitching a tent and experiencing nature. So, let’s look at the best places to go tent camping in Greater Vancouver.

Before deciding to escape for the weekend, make sure you plan ahead. In most cases, you will need to book your site ahead of time, especially in the summer, because Vancouverites love the outdoors. Also, make sure you’re prepared for it to rain. 

All the campsites here are located within two hours of the city of Vancouver. 

Best Tent Camping Close to Vancouver

Porteau Cove 

Porteau Cove Provincial Park is a short 45-minute drive from the city, so it’s perfect for those shorter getaways. Overlooking Howe Sound, Porteau Cove is also popular for those who love the water. 

While it’s close to the city, it’s still far enough away to escape the feel of the city and experience the glorious views and starry night sky. Yet it’s also close enough in those cases where disaster strikes, and you just want to go home - think waking up in a tent filled with water. 

Porteau Cove campsite has 60 sites to pitch a tent. 

Alice Lake

If you continue up the sea-to-sky highway past Porteau Cove and Squamish, you will come to another great camping spot, Alice Lake Provincial Park. The park has a network of trails and four beautiful lakes, making it one of the best places for tent camping near Vancouver. 

There are many other great activities in the Squamish area, like the sea-to-sky gondola, hiking the Chief, water rafting, and more. This makes it a popular location for rock climbers and mountain bikers. 

Alice lake has 96 campsites, and 55 of them have electrical services. All the sites are nicely shaded in the summer, which is a great perk. They’re a stone’s throw from Alice Lake, an excellent spot for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and other water activities. 

Mount Seymour Park 

Mount Seymour Park is even closer to the city than Porteau Cove, just a half hour from the city. However, this is backcountry camping and not car camping. You can drive up and park in the free-day-use area (you must reserve consecutive day-use passes for the days using the parking lot) and pack your things up from there. 

No designated campsite exists; however, you can pitch a tent in park boundaries north of Brockton Point. Campers should take environmental considerations into account when pitching their tent to reduce their overall impact. 

Of course, because there’s no official campsite, there are also no amenities, but that also means it’s free (other than the parking pass cost if you decide to take your car).  

Sunshine Coast

The sunshine coast is a great place to escape the city as it’s only a 45-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay. Still, the ferry itself can make it feel like a little more of an adventure. 

Porpoise Bay 

Porpoise Bay is one of the best places to camp on the sunshine coast because there is so much to enjoy in this area, from beautiful hiking trails and sandy beaches, and the Sechelt Inlet is perfect for swimming.

There are both car-access campsites and an open cyclist-only camping area (which is, of course, also available to backpackers and hikers). Some campsites can be reserved, while others are first come, first served, so make sure you plan ahead (or at least arrive early). An added bonus is that one of the campsites is wheelchair-accessible, which isn’t too common in campsites.

The campsites also have the following amenities - taps for drinking water, communal fire pits, flush toilets, and showers. 

The Fraser Valley

If you head east from the city of Vancouver, there are many more great places to pitch a tent for camping. 

Golden Ear Provincial Park

As one of British Columbia’s largest parks, Golden Ears is an incredible destination for outdoor activities, particularly in the spring and summer. While it’s an excellent destination for a day trip as it’s only about an hour from Vancouver, there are also three large campgrounds - Gold Creek, Alouette, and North Beach. So, why not pitch a tent and stay the night? (or the weekend, but note that you can only book 14 days per calendar year). 

There are extensive hiking and horseback riding trails to enjoy, and Alouette lake is an excellent spot for swimming, windsurfing, water skiing, boating and fishing. 

In addition to the campsites, several designated wilderness backcountry camping sites can be accessed by hikers or by boaters. Note there are a limited number of backcountry sites here and all campers must obtain a backcountry camping permit before pitching a tent. Some sites have pit toilets, but campfires are never permitted in the backcountry.

Rolley Lake

Rolley Lake provincial park is only a few kilometres south of Golden Ears, but it is a much smaller lake than Alouette lake which can be a good thing. Since the lake doesn’t permit motorized craft, the area is peaceful and great for swimming. 

The campsite is only a few minutes from the lake and has 64 forested sites, flushing toilets and showers. 

Sasquatch Provincial Park

Harrison Hot Springs is a beautiful destination, roughly two hours from Vancouver. You may think of it as a fancy resort town focused on hot spring baths, but it’s also home to the scenic Sasquatch provincial park. 

Sure, maybe you want to go to the baths or get a massage, but rather than splurging on a fancy hotel, why not camp in one of the 3 beautiful sites in the park - Hicks Lake, Bench, and Lakeside (Deer lake). Like other locations, some sites can be reserved ahead of time, while others are first-come, first-served, and the amenities at the sites vary based on the location. If you require specific amenities, take a look before you book. 

Are you an experienced camper and want to escape the crowds in traditional campsites? 

Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park, formerly known as Indian Arm Park, is a beautiful park that can only be accessed by water via the Indian Arm fjord. The waterfalls, hiking trails, and alpine lakes to explore make this the ideal getaway.

There are several campsites throughout the park, including 

  • the south side of Bishop Creek
  • South Granite Falls and South Granite Campground
  • South Bishop Campground
  • North Twin Campground

Note: camping is prohibited in the following areas within the park, near the BC park dock, South Twin Island, Racoon Island, or on the north side of Granite Falls.

It’s also important to note that campfires are never allowed in the park, and the amenities are rustic. In some locations, there are pit toilets, but there is no running water, so you’ll either have to bring enough water with you, which is a challenge, or collect water from the creeks (it may be more challenging to collect in drier months). Also, note any collected water must be treated.

Are you from the Vancouver area? Do you have favourite places to go tent camping? Let me know your favourite campsites in the comments. 

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