Family friendly camping is a great way to introduce your kids to nature, to screen free play time, and sometimes to resilience in the face of adversity … the time we were floating on air mattresses inside our tent still brings back warm family memories even though it was a challenge at the time!
We have found that sometimes stepping away from all of life’s worries is just what the family needs & we are so lucky o not have to go too far! We have put together a list of our favourite family friendly camping spots in BC. Some close, some further afield. Some easy, some adventurous… something for everyone.
If you have very young kids, you need to check out our 23 tips on Camping with babies & toddlers.
Green Point is the only campground located in Pacific Rim National Park’s Long Beach and so can be a very popular place to spend quality time soaking up the west-coast sea air. Located on Vancouver Island‘s west coast between Tofino and Ucluelet, the campground is perched above Long Beach and offers amazing views of the never ending sand & surf. Little kids armed with buckets and shovels will be set for days of beach fun while older kids and adults may want to up the adventure factor and try their luck at learning to surf. After a long day at the beach, check out one of the evening indoor theatre presentations right at the campground.
We were blown away by the beauty of the popular Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The tide here goes out so far that the beach seems to go on forever! We spent the day exploring & looking for sand dollars among the shells, climbing on driftwood and soaking in the sea air. Watch for the tide change though, it can really sneak up on you as it comes all the way in to the bank! The sand is soft on the feet and the views are spectacular. There is also a fantastic adventure playground and water park, right on the beach as well as hiking trails through majestic forests. The Parksville area is close by with Mini golf, bumper boats, a butterfly garden, waterfalls, farms, museums, a wildlife recovery centre and the Goats On The Roof Market in Coombs is a must.
Located north of Nanaimo and 13 km southwest of Parksville,this park will not disappoint. The hiking trails along the river provide amazing views of two waterfalls, as well as many spectacular views from bridges overlooking several river canyons. The hikes are simple, but provide visuals only expert hikers usually get. Just make sure to always use caution around rivers with small children & keep them close by. The trip over to Vancouver Island can seem daunting with kids, so remember that ferry reservations are a good idea. We always have an emergency ferry line-up bag that has activity books, favourite snacks and drinks just in case.
Located just a short ferry ride away on BC’s Sunshine Coast, Porpoise Bay is another winner with our families. Our little ones love the sandy beaches and gentle water. There was so much for them to explore! The is a roped off area for swimming and plenty of trails to explore. Angus Creek Trail starts from the beach area trail head. The walking trail is well maintained with bridges and some interpretive signs discussing salmon spawning. A bridge over the creek leads to an estuary alive with waterfowl and sea birds, and harbour seals may also be spotted here. The protected waters of Sechelt Inlet make for an ideal place to paddling, with rentals available nearby.
Note that no campfires are allowed at the campsites, but 3 communal group campfire are available.
As a very popular destination, the park is very busy from early July to Labour Day. The park is on the old delta of Scotch Creek, and has one kilometre of sandy, pebble beach, and includes the whole of Copper Island. There is also a large grassy play area, an adventure playground, a large boat launch, and a self-guiding nature trail.
Aside from just the beach, there is plenty of space for for soccer or ball games, fishing, canoeing, biking & walking trails,and an amphitheater with great nature programs by Park Rangers. You are never too far from a convenience store, mini-golf centre, and an ice cream parlour… what more could you ask for?
With only a 3 hour drive east of Vancouver, you can lose yourself in the gorgeous mountains & valleys of the area! Manning Park is a wilderness playground of outdoor activities with five campgrounds to choose from. There is something for everyone. The largest campground is Lightning Lake were you will find comforts like full-service showers and flush toilets. The lake has a lovely sandy beach for swimming and canoes and rowboats for rent. There are walking trails around the lake & a wide variety of hiking and mountain trails. Keep your eyes open for marmots, eagles, deer and even bears.
If you want to introduce your kids to the idea of backpacking and packing light, this is the campground for you. There is a very manageable 20 minute hike from your car to the actual campsite but it’s totally worth it for the amazing mountain views of Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Rockies.
Lillooet Lake, Pemberton
A short drive from North from Vancouver, brings you to one of the best camping sites in Pemberton. The glacier fed lake is very refreshing and great for boating. Although it’s only an hour from Vancouver, rain doesn’t seem to hit Lillooet Lake, making tent camping much easier. A day trip is possible too! No rain also means no mosquitoes but there can be black flies early season! Check out the very rustic Tsek Hot Springs while you are in the area.
Reserve your British Columbia camping holiday in advance during the busy summer months. Make sure to review the recent reservation changes by BC Parks. You can now book up to four months in advance of your arrival, online at Discover Camping, or call at 1-800-689-9025.
Wondering what to do with the kids in Metro Vancouver this weekend, or what to make for dinner? You can find it at HealthyFamilyLiving.com! From the Sunshine Coast to the Fraser Valley, we’re the best online resource for busy parents looking for practical tips for healthy, active, sustainable living. For the latest on family events, outdoor adventures, birthday parties, camps & classes and kid-approved recipes, follow us on Facebook and sign-up for our parent-approved e-newsletter!