Fav Camping Spots
Cycle Touring Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island & the Sunshine Coast have countless incredible camping options. Sometimes, the highlight of riding trips is getting a few days out camping at a favourite lake, river, seaside stretch or hiking trail.
I've tried to pick a mix of campsite types and areas here, from full service, to nothing more than a clearing and a lake. I'm not that swayed by the most comfortable facilities - though a good shower and a picnic table are always welcome - more by sites in beautiful, often remote settings. Inspiring rides to reach places can be an influence (this is a riding website!).
CAMPING IS THE NEW THING! The pandemic really stirred up interest in camping, in formal campgrounds, as well as forestry (backroads) campgrounds. Countless local folks, unable to travel further afield, headed out into the wilds. At peak season, it could be hard to find a spot in some camping favourites, be they in popular or remote areas.
As the pandemic subsides, and people again have the option to travel the world or other parts of Canada, it will be interesting to see whether the numbers of campers drops, or we're into a new, busier reality for camping.
It's been a challenge to choose the campgrounds here from so many options. I ended up adding another page of Honourable Mention Fav campgrounds. And beyond these, you'll find countless other great campgrounds out there, all through the region.
Here's how to navigate this camping section, and jump to fav campgrounds (and more):
For a regional overview, there's a map showing all Fav campgrounds. Under the map, the Favs are listed alphabetically, with links to detailed pages for each.
Following the map are thumbnails with links. These mostly go to different Fav campgrounds, with a few added info pages:
the first thumbnail (Camping & cycle touring) is an intro discussion on camping & the different types of options you can find on Van Isle & the Sunshine Coast.
After the last Fav campground, there's a thumbnail linking to a list (with short descriptions) of yet more - Honourable Mention - campgrounds.
There's a page about avoiding camping alongside partiers - Party time ....
Finally, the bottom thumbnail is a link to a page of Map thumbnails, in case you'd like to toggle through different maps.
I've included lots of photos to give you a first hand view of what to expect.
If you are interested in some thoughts and preferences on tents, camping stoves, water purification, or staying dry & warm, check out the 'My bikes & gear' section.
UPDATE ON MOSAIC CAMPGROUNDS (MAY 2022):
Many riders know Mosaic Forest Management by their backroads signs, which in many places limit access or redefine remote campsites into day use only spots. They are the public face for many logging outfits.
In recent years, they have gone into some venerable older forestry (Rec) campsites, from Cowichan Lake north to Campbell River area, and upgraded these into real nice remote campgrounds. I had noticed this at Willington Point (Upper Quinsam Lake), Kissinger Lake & First Nanaimo Lake (where there are 3 campgrounds). This past week, I rode past Macktush Campsite down the east shores of Alberni Inlet, and had a look. I was blown away by over 60 sites, facilities and a colony of RVs set up for the season.
These Mosaic campgrounds require online booking (although Macktush said folks could show up if they were not full). They charge ~$25 to $30 per night, and close in the off-season. They are almost as nice as more expensive provincial campgrounds - and much more off the beaten path. It's good to see forest companies still connecting with communities by maintaining campgrounds.
Links for buttons in above map - click to jump to detailed ride pages
Or use the list box (thumbnails) following, with ride summaries & pics for each link
Or click to go back to Maps & Links Central
Check out the favourite campsites in this section
Below are thumbnail links to favourite campsites.
And there's a couple of info pages snuck into the mix below: the top thumbnail links to a page of general camping thoughts and advice; and at the bottom is a link to a page of 'Honourable Mention Campgrounds' (more Favs!), a link to info on avoiding noisy partiers, and finally, a link to a page of map thumbnails, in case you'd like to toggle through all the Fav campground route maps.
Seaside pic from one of the many walking trails at Rathtrevor Provincial park, an Honourable Mention Fav campground along Vancouver Island's Central east coast, and a place I keep going back to