Looking for the best places to camp near Vancouver? You need not look very far. Many of the best places to camp in the Vancouver area are on the waterfront of inland lakes and the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by the stunning mountain vistas that make British Columbia famous.
With all that water, sea kayakers, canoeists and standup paddleboard enthusiasts are in for a real treat. You’ll find camping in the Vancouver area that satisfies all levels of paddlers, whether you’re looking for sheltered water, tide-washed islands or open coast.
Families, car campers and RV campers can look forward to great tent campsites near Vancouver and convenient, fully equipped RV sites. Of course, there’s more than just drive-in sites—you’ll also find free camping near Vancouver and secluded backcountry sites within a short drive of the city.
Here’s the ultimate rundown of where to go camping near Vancouver.
[This article is part of the The Outdoor Adventurer’s Guide To Vancouver. Find all the resources you need to plan an adventure-filled trip to the city of Vancouver.]
Campgrounds near Vancouver
If you love the outdoors, staying at a Vancouver area campground gives you an affordable and adventurous way to experience British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. There are abundant options for camping near Vancouver. Whether you’re a paddler looking for waterfront access on an inland lake or the ocean, a family seeking a unique glamping experience, or road-trippers desiring a scenic place to park your van or RV, there’s a Vancouver campground that’s perfect for you.
Best all-around campgrounds
Golden Ears Provincial Park
This great Vancouver area campground on Alouette Lake is set in one of British Columbia’s largest provincial parks. It’s located just north of Maple Ridge, with transportation available from Vancouver aboard the Parkbus. Alouette Lake is especially attractive for canoeists, offering stunning vistas of the Coast Mountains and plenty of shoreline to explore. Canoe rentals are available at the park gatehouse throughout the summer.
There are three drive-in camping areas with over 400 campsites available. Drive-in campsites are $35 per night and can be reserved online in advance. Additionally, water-access rustic marine campsites for paddlers on Alouette Lake can be reserved online in advance, making for a great Vancouver backcountry camping adventure.
Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park
Located east of Vancouver, Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park offers great kayaking, canoeing and standup paddleboard opportunities on a stunning freshwater lake in a jaw-dropping mountains and old-growth forest environment. This great Vancouver campground is far enough away from the city to offer ample solitude. There are 146 drive-in campsites, with online reservations available ($22 per vehicle per night). Backcountry camping is also available along the park’s 40-km network of hiking trails ($5 per person, per night).
Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
The big attraction at Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, located near Squamish, is a 700-m granite cliff that ranks among the world’s largest monoliths. The park is legendary in the rock climbing and hiking community—and features over 100 rustic frontcountry campsites (about half are drive-in, the others require an easy five-minute hike). The park offers some of the best tent camping in the Vancouver area; sites are inaccessible to large RVs (van campers are suitable). There are pit toilets and drinking water taps; campsites are first-come, first-served. Camping fees are $10 per person, per night and must be paid in cash at the campground entrance using an envelope self-registration system.
Family camping near Vancouver
Alice Lake Provincial Park
Located near Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway, Alice Lake Provincial Park is a favourite for family camping near Vancouver. The campground boasts 96 drive-in sites and is surrounded by mountains with views of the Tantalus Range. The park features four freshwater lakes—perfect for family canoeing or standup paddleboarding.
Cultus Lake Provincial Park
This popular camping area near Vancouver includes four areas for families to camp with a tent or RV. Located 100 km east of Vancouver, Cultus Lake affords classic mountain scenery, with a warm, freshwater lake that’s perfect for swimming and paddling. There are nearly 300 campsites, along with shower facilities and toilets. Camper trailer and cabin rentals are also available at the park.
Sasquatch Provincial Park
It’s worth making the two-hour drive from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs to camp at Sasquatch Provincial Park. You’ll find excellent family-friendly canoeing on Hicks and Deer lakes, both of which boast waterfront drive-in camping. Trout Lake is motorboat free. All of the park’s lakes are surrounded by mountains and offer good fishing for trout and char. Online reservations are available at $23 per group, per night.
Vedder River Campground
Located east of Vancouver in Chilliwack, the Vedder River Campground offers family-friendly camping in the Fraser Valley, with a variety of sites for tent camping, RVs and trailers. A unique riverfront camping experience stands out compared to the typical lake and ocean scenery of Canada’s west coast. There’s an adventure park and water park on site, and you’ll find plenty of options for kayaking and rafting nearby. Reservations for this great place to go camping near Vancouver are available online.
Ocean and lakefront camping near Vancouver
Porteau Cove Provincial Park
Located barely 30 minutes north of downtown Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway, Porteau Cove Provincial Park is Vancouver’s closest oceanfront campground. The park’s 60 campsites embrace the rugged shoreline of Howe Sound. Sea kayakers will love the easy access to world-class paddling, with many options for day trips in the area. Check out the park’s two Olympic Legacy Cabins if you’re looking for a more upscale glamping experience in the Vancouver area.
Porpoise Bay Provincial Park
Escape to the Sunshine Coast for some of the best oceanfront camping near Vancouver. Porpoise Bay Provincial Park is located a short 45-minute ferry ride and easy half-hour drive from Horseshoe Bay. You’ll discover a fantastic beach with great opportunities to explore the sheltered waters of Sechelt Inlet by sea kayak or standup paddleboard. There are two options for camping: a full-service, drive-in campground ($29 per party, per night) or a more rustic walk-in area ($15 per party, per night) specifically for paddlers and cyclists.
Rolley Lake Provincial Park
Rolley Lake’s 64 campsites are located within a minute’s walk of the waterfront—and barely an hour’s drive from the city—making it one of the best Vancouver area campgrounds. There’s great kayaking, canoeing and standup paddleboarding on the lake, as well as fishing for rainbow and cutthroat trout. Vehicle access campsites are $35 per night and reservations are mandatory.
Kayak camping Vancouver
Sea kayakers in the Vancouver area are blessed with plenty of nearby options for overnight paddling trips. Great kayak camping near Vancouver can be had just north of the city at Deep Cove and Howe Sound. Here’s a sampler of some favourites. For more paddling options check out Best Kayak Trips Close To Vancouver.
Say Nuth Khaw Yum Provincial Park
Located in North Vancouver, a short half-hour drive on Highway 1 across the Second Narrows Bridge from downtown, Say Nuth Khaw Yum (Indian Arm) Provincial Park features five backcountry paddle-in campsites. Launch from the community of Deep Cove (kayak rentals are available) and trace the fjord-like inlet north. You’ll find stunning kayak camping sites at Granite Falls and Bishop Creek. Pack your own drinking water and plan to stop early—the first-come, first-served campsites are free and very popular. Go in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall for more solitude.
Experienced paddlers will find plenty of options for backcountry camping near Vancouver in the islands of Howe Sound. In particular, Gambier Island features campsites at Douglas, Brigade and Halkett bays—the latter is a provincial marine park with designated, non-reservable sites ($5 per person). But first you have to get there: launch from Porteau Cove Provincial Park (located 45 minutes north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway) and cross the Montagu Channel to Anvil Island, paying close attention to the weather. There’s an excellent hike on Anvil. One more crossing gets you to Gambier Island. Bring enough drinking water for the duration of your trip.
Take the Sunshine Coast ferry from Horseshoe Cove to Langdale and launch from either Hopkins Landings (close to the ferry dock) or Gibsons Marina. From Gibsons, it’s less than an hour’s paddle to Plumper Cove Provincial Marine Park on Keats Island, where you’ll find established campsites, pit toilets and a freshwater pump ($16 per group, per night; no reservations). Watch for boat and ferry traffic en route. There’s plenty of island shoreline for intermediate to advanced paddlers to explore at the northern outlet of Howe Sound.
Take the Sunshine Coast ferry from Horseshoe Cove and drive 30 minutes north on Highway 101 to Porpoise Bay Provincial Park—your launching point to explore Sechelt Inlet on an out-and-back overnight sea kayak trip. You’ll find six backcountry camping options headed northward, mostly on beaches and all part of Sechelt Inlets Marine Provincial Park. Camping is free.
You’ll find several options for luxury camping in Vancouver, including well-appointed cabins and glamping resorts. Glamping in Vancouver is a great way to experience Canada’s west coast in luxe style.
Secret Cove Resort
Check out Rockwater’s Secret Cove Resort, located on the Sunshine Coast, if you’re looking for a luxurious glamping experience in the Vancouver area. The resort is a 45-minute ferry ride north from West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay, and an easy drive up Highway 101, past the town of Sechelt to Halfmoon Bay. You’ll find cabins and unique treehouse accommodations, connected by forest boardwalks and perched on the rocky shores of the Salish Sea. The treehouses feature heated slate floors, hydro-therapy tubs, shoji screens and fireplaces—as well as king-sized beds.
Fort Langley’s Fort Camping provides a variety of camping accommodations just east of Vancouver. It’s a great destination for Vancouver glamping with five family tent cabins: luxurious canvas-covered shelters that each sleep five. Inside there are bunk beds, a meal prep area and mini fridge. Each cabin comes with a barbecue and fire pit. You’ll want to book your tent cabin early and plan on staying at least two nights. Enjoy all of Fort Camping’s amenities with your stay, including theme weekends, children’s activities and hiking trails.
Free camping near Vancouver
We know you’ll appreciate the services of a developed campground (think: running water, toilets and showers) but if you’re in the mood for something more rustic (and free), you’ll find a few good options for wild camping near Vancouver. Remember, there are no caretakers at free campsites near Vancouver so camp responsibly and do your best to leave the place cleaner than you found it.
Jones Lake, Chilliwack
You’ll find 55 free campsites at BC Hydro’s Jones Lake recreation area, located east of Vancouver, about 42 km from Chilliwack. Campsites have picnic tables, fire rings and communal pit toilets, but you’ll have to bring your own drinking water. Jones Lake is popular for mountain biking and fishing, with rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and kokanee available. There’s also good swimming, hiking and paddling. There’s a 14-day limit on camping per season.
Bet you never expected to find free wild camping within minutes of downtown Vancouver, did you? Cypress Mountain Provincial Park is perfect for experienced backcountry campers. First-come, first-served wilderness camping is allowed beyond the Cypress alpine and nordic ski facilities, along the Howe Sound backpacking trail. No camping facilities are provided and campfires are not allowed. Be sure to brush up on your Leave No Trace camping skills to keep this rugged area pristine for other visitors.
Davis Lake Provincial Park
Take Sylvester Road from Mission, B.C., to access this free camping area near Vancouver. Pack your tent and camping gear and hike in about 15 minutes to the primitive camping area, where there’s space for about a dozen groups on a small inland lake. You’ll find a hiking trail to a scenic waterfall, pure western hemlock forest with abundant birdlife, and paddling options on Davis Lake.
Camper van and RV rentals in Vancouver
There’s no better place to live your vanlife dreams than Vancouver. Karma Campervans rents four-season Ford Transit high roof vans complete with bedding, cooking and kitchen gear, a cooler, folding chairs, a freshwater container and more. Pet-friendly rentals are available. Pick up your modern-rustic campervan at 2108-21320 Westminster Highway (877-312-3037) or book online.
Canadream is your go-to source for renting an all-inclusive RV in Vancouver (8223 92nd St, Delta, BC, 604-940-2171). You’ll find everything from compact truck campers to campervans to full-size RVs, with trip planning services available.
Escape Campervans provides RV rentals in Vancouver, with road-tripping itineraries for all of Canada’s west coast and the Pacific Northwest. A five-berth campervan is available at Escape’s Vancouver location, featuring customer exterior artwork—along with a two-burner propane stove, fridge, water tank, sink and more.
Honest Camper provides stylish and comfortable VW Westfalia and Mercedes campervan rentals in Vancouver, with route planning available for classic west coast road trips to the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. Rentals come with everything you need for vanlife comfort for up to four campers.
Motorhome Republic provides RV rentals in Vancouver, with options ranging from compact, two-person RVs to larger units that fit a family of six.
Camping gear in Vancouver
There are plenty of options for purchasing new camping gear in Vancouver. Or, if you prefer, you’ll find a variety of outfitters providing rental camping gear in Vancouver.
Where to buy camping gear in Vancouver
Mountain Equipment Co-op
MEC is a classic Canadian retailer of quality outdoor gear, with roots in Vancouver. You’ll find locations in downtown Vancouver (111 2nd Ave E, 604-72-7858) and North Vancouver (604-990-4417). You’ll find a wide variety of equipment, paddling gear (including canoe, sea kayak and SUP rentals) and apparel, making MEC a great choice for camping gear in Vancouver.
Valhalla Pure Outfitters
A west coast original, Valhalla Pure is a great destination for camping equipment in Vancouver with locations downtown (88 W Broadway Ave, 604-872-8872), in Abbotsford (1707 Salton Rd, 604-850-5523) and Squamish (1200 Hunter Pl, 604-892-9092). Explore high-end apparel, camping gear (including tents, sleeping bags, cooking gear and backpacks) and the best in canoes, sea kayaks, SUPs and paddling accessories.
Located in Surrey (101-12355 Pattullo Pl, 604-580-3777) Skyview Outdoors is a Vancouver-area camping gear store offering some of the best names in tents, backpacks and camp kitchen supplies. Skyview also sells kayaks, including rec boats, sea kayaks, fishing kayaks and inflatables.
Alpine Start Outfitters
This outdoor gear store is located in downtown Vancouver (68 West Broadway Ave, 604-876-2555). Alpine Start specializes in camping and hiking gear, including tents, sleeping bags and backpacks. You’ll also find the best in outdoor apparel for men, women and children.
Where to rent camping gear in Vancouver
Look no further than Rent-a-Tent if you’re looking to rent a tent in Vancouver. The company is located near the airport (8-8385 St. George St, 604-808-9297) and provides a variety of tent options such as Marmot and The North Face for backpackers and family campers. Delivery service is available for the metro Vancouver area.
Rent Outdoors is a full-service camping gear rental outlet in Vancouver (567-1755 Robson St, 604-357-4770). The company provides comprehensive rentals for campers and backpackers, including everything you need to spend time outdoors (high-end tents, sleeping bags with liners, sleeping pads, camp kitchen and much more). Packages are available for set periods of time, ranging from five days to a month. Camping food packages are also available.
Jens Outdoors is a Vancouver-area camping gear rental outfitter offering tents, sleeping pads, kitchen gear and more. The outfitter operates out of the same location as Rent-a-Tent Canada, creating a full-service camping outlet near the Vancouver airport (8-8385 St. George St, 604-808-9297).