Camping on Vancouver Island

With many diverse options, camping on Vancouver Island can be for everyone! Do you want family-friendly? A rustic cabin on the beach? A full-service provincial park? How about camping in your car - maybe for free? Vancouver Island has it all, and my goal with this section is to help you get the information you need to make your camping on Vancouver Island experience enjoyable and memorable (for all the right reasons!)

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking one of my links. Learn more here.

Provincial campgrounds
Private campgrounds
Regional campgrounds
RV Camping on the beach
Camping near Victoria
Car Camping
Backcountry versus frontcountry
Getting to Vancouver Island
Communities of Vancouver Island

Camping on Vancouver Island by Region

For the purposes of this guide, each of the campgrounds that are listed will be sorted by geographic region. We follow the same boundaries as the Island Health Authority. Communities in each region are:

North Island

  • Campbell River
  • Cape Scott
  • Comox
  • Courtenay
  • Cumberland
  • Gold River
  • Mount Waddington
  • Port Alice
  • Port Hardy
  • Port McNeill
  • Sayward
  • Telegraph Cove
  • Zeballos

Central Island

  • Bowser
  • Chemainus
  • Coombs
  • Cowichan Bay
  • Deep Bay
  • Duncan
  • Errington
  • Fanny Bay
  • Ladysmith
  • Lake Cowichan
  • Malahat
  • Mill Bay
  • Nanaimo
  • Nanoose Bay
  • Parksville
  • Port Alberni
  • Qualicum Bay
  • Qualicum Beach
  • Shawnigan Lake
  • Tofino
  • Ucluelet

South Island

  • Central Saanich
  • Colwood
  • Esquimalt
  • Highlands
  • Langford
  • Metchosin
  • North Saanich
  • Oak Bay
  • Port Renfrew
  • Saanich
  • Sidney
  • Sooke
  • Victoria
  • View Royal
camping checklist

Backcountry vs Frontcountry Camping

Generally speaking, backcountry camping means that you are not near a road or developed area. Parks BC identifies it as an area that is more than 1 km from any highway or park road, not accessible by vehicle and has limited facilites.

At the provincial park backcountry sites, campers can expect to carry all their equipment (including water) to a remote site.

However, if you choose to go camping on Vancouver Island at one of the many recreation sites (sometimes referred to as forestry sites), these too would be considered backcountry and yet many are accessible by vehicle. Although the access roads are frequently remote and in poor condition! 

Frontcountry camping refers to sites that are accessible by vehicle and offer services that may include amenities such as running water, hot showers, playgrounds, boat launches and cut firewood.

Whether frontcountry or backcountry, we recommend a well-equipped first aid kit. Click here for a comprehensive list of items for a camping first aid kit.

RV Parks on the Beach of Vancouver Island 

Finding RV parks on the beach is not too difficult when you live on an island. For the purposes of this article, we have listed RV parks that are right on the Pacific Ocean. There are many more RV parks on the beach located on the various rivers and streams throughout Vancouver Island that are not listed here.  

If you want to camp on the beach but don’t yet own an RV, you may want to consider renting one. It is so easy to do with RVezy you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before. And even if you don’t have the vehicle capacity or skills to tow, many of the owners will deliver. Just sign up right on their website and search for the RV that perfectly suits your needs – including pet friendly options. The site is very intuitive and easy to navigate.

Already own an RV? Instead of it sitting in storage when you’re not using it, you can make money renting it out to other families. RVezy makes it easy and safe to rent out your RV with complete peace of mind. It’s kind of like the AirBNB of recreation vehicles! Learn more.

South Island RV Parks on the Beach

Parks located south of the Malahat from Sidney to Port Renfrew.

Central Island RV Parks on the Beach

From the Malahat to Nanaimo and across the island to Tofino/Ucluelet.

Note: Mussel Beach will no longer be offering daily camping. They will offer seasonal camping or 5 glamping huts. Visit their website for details.

North Island RV Parks on the Beach

North of Nanaimo up to Port Hardy.

We hope you enjoy your stay on Vancouver Island at one of these RV parks on the beach. And we highly recommend you check out RVezy for the simplest camping experience. 

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