May 6 2015
Summer travel planning is heating up! With our Canadian dollar weaker than it’s been in many years, now is the perfect time to consider an affordable, family camping holiday in one of our incredible Canadian national or provincial park campgrounds.
There’s really nothing more Canadian than pitching a tent in the forest or by a lake, starting up a campfire, roasting smores, and telling ghost stories or tall tales. It’s practically a right of passage. Whether you have young toddlers or teenagers, there’s a Great Canadian Campground that will awe and inspire a love of country and the outdoors like nothing else can.
Here are five incredible campgrounds in Canada, from sea to sea, that you should visit with your family – this summer or any summer!
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
This incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site is a geological wonderland of ancient, uninhabited mountains and fjords. Gros Morne National Park protects thousands of kilometers of unique landscape on Newfoundland’s west coast. The Park has more than 225 drive-in and 8 walk-in campsites in five campgrounds. If you’re into backcountry camping, you’ll just need a Parks Canada permit before setting up camp. You can choose from dozens of hikes along wild trails and camp by the sea along sandy beaches at the end of the day. If your kids are older and adventurous types, climb Gros Morne. It’s an intense hike that will take you a full day, just make sure you have proper footwar and water for the journey. Create vacation memories and treat your family to a boat tour of the glacially-carved Western Brook Pond Fjord, with views of waterfalls, wildlife and the steep-sided, billion year-old fjord cliffs.
Wapizagonke Lake, La Mauricie National Park, Quebec
If your family is more seasoned, the canoe-camping options at La Mauricie National Park in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec may appeal. This park and its campgrounds showcase the rolling hills, lakes, and unique topography of the Canadian Shield and Great Lakes region. In addition to drive-in campsites, La Mauricie offers reservable canoe-camping for 150 canoe campsites scattered among a dozen lakes in the park. You can bring your own canoe or rent one from Parks Canada, but you will have to pack all of your supplies, gear and food into the canoe and out again! There may be a portage or two if you travel between campsites, but it’s the ultimate camping challenge for adventure-seeking families.
Thousand Islands National Park, Ontario
Looking to really get away from it all? Chart your course to the campgrounds at Thousand Islands National Park, which are only accessible by boat. These scenic islands in the St. Lawrence that are carved out of rugged granite and decorated with twisty pines, make up the iconic, beautiful landscape of eastern Ontario. If you don’t have your own boat, no problem! Rent a kayak or canoe from a local outfitter and paddle your way to your waterfront campsite. Or arrange for a boat shuttle/water taxi to get you there in less than ten minutes. The unique ecosystem of this park is a protected part of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, so you should enjoy your recreation in a sustainable manner that is sensitive to the rich, biodiverse environment.
Banff National Park, Alberta
Getting up close to nature and wildlife will be easy at one of the 13 campgrounds in Banff National Park. You may observe elk walking past your tent as you sip early-morning coffee, or see a black bear during a day hike in this majestic place, which was Canada’s first national park. How you choose a campsite is up to you, whether you wish to be near hundreds of other campers at Tunnel Mountain Village I, up Icefields Parkway at Mosquito Creek, or testing out one of the 10 oTENTik ‘tent cabins’ at Two Jack Lakeside. The oTENTik is exclusive to quite a few Parks Canada campgrounds, and they’re all about helping you feel comfortable in the great outdoors. The oTENTik features an A-frame cabin/tent hybrid, mounted on a raised wooden floor. There are beds for up to 6 people, lighting, electricity, hot showers, indoor heat, an outdoor firepit and BBQ. Camping in Banff opens up unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities in the 6,640 km2 of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers. Don’t forget to enjoy a dip in the hot springs as a special, unforgettable treat.
Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia
Perched on the edge of the Pacific in Tofino, camping at Green Point in Pacific Rim National Park will give you a new understanding of the wild, west coast. The campground is being upgraded and so camping will become available as of late June, but the wait will be worth it in order to access this rainforested park on the edge of the Pacific. The campground fronts onto the wide expanse of spectacular Long Beach – there’s nothing between you and Japan except for the wild pounding surf of the Pacific Ocean.
If you’re a newbie to the camping experience, Parks Canada and Mountain Equipment Co-op have partnered to offer an exciting new service at Green Point at Pacific Rim- Equipped Camping. There are five such reservable walk-in sites, fully kitted out and set up with tents, sleeping bags and pads, cooking equipment and fire pit. This is the perfect way to ease into the camping experience, especially if you’re not sure whether your family will love it and you don’t wish to buy all of the necessary equipment yourself.