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Best Places to Camp in the Gulf Islands

Updated: Feb 18

Are you looking for the ultimate escape? Whether you’re a paddling enthusiast, hiker, camper, or kayaker, the Gulf Islands offer an idyllic outdoor getaway. With their stunning waters and unhurried pace of life, these beautiful isles are ideal for exploring either by land or sea. Ready to head out on your own adventure? Here we look at some of the best places to go camping in the Gulf Islands so that you can immerse yourself in nature and truly appreciate all it has to offer.

Please note: while you can camp in BC without a reservation, it is highly recommended as campsites may be quite busy or full.

Camp on Salt Spring Island

Located in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Salt Spring Island is a stunning getaway that offers visitors breathtaking views. From art galleries, resorts, hotels and quaint cafés to the home of the Salt Spring Brewing Co., Salt Spring Island truly has something for everyone. If you’re looking for a do-it-yourself experience then check out some of the campgrounds located around the island:

  1. Ruckle Provincial Park is a true nature lover's paradise with many hiking trails that traverse its 214 hectares of land. What’s even better is that this campground allows visitors direct access to beaches along Georgeson Bay so they can experience paddleboarding or swimming in some of the area’s clearest waters!

  2. Mowhinna Creek Campground is situated in a beautiful woodland setting near Stowell Lake Road. Here, campers can enjoy shaded campsites with easy access to Ganges town.

  3. Garden Faire Campground Provides its guests with tent and RV sites with options for water and power hook-ups. Within walking distance to Ganges and hiking trails, this is an idyllic place to stay on Salt Spring Island.

  4. Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park (Xwaaqw'um) Offers up breathtaking views of the Trincomali Channel from its sunny beachside locations - ideal for kayaking, fishing, or lounging on the beach while admiring the natural beauty all around you!

Camp on Pender Island

Camping on Pender Island, allows the summer months to fly by. With several island national park reserves to explore on land, pitch your tent and hike around or hop on your paddleboard and immerse yourself in a rugged, outdoor experience.

  1. Prior Centennial Park Campground offers stunning views of the ocean and is located near Priest Hill where hikers can explore numerous trails.

  2. For a more beach-centric adventure, Beaumont Marine Park Campground is situated right next to the beach where you can dock your boats for the night. It provides great chances for swimming, kayaking or windsurfing.

  3. Shingle Bay Campground presents a peaceful getaway surrounded by old-growth trees and abundant wildlife.

Camp on Wallace Island

Nestled between Galiano Island and Salt Spring Island, Wallace Island is the perfect outdoor getaway for adventure seekers looking to explore the beauty of British Columbia. From pristine camping grounds to heritage sites and marine parks, this small island has something for everyone. Here are four camping spots when visiting Wallace Island:

  1. Chivers Point Campsite offers campers spectacular views of Trincomali Channel as well as easy access to kayaking and fishing spots around the island.

  2. Conover Cove Campground and Heritage Site provides visitors with a unique glimpse into the area’s history and culture through its curated exhibits of local artifacts - the perfect way to learn about the island's past!

  3. Cabin Bay Campsite boasts a secluded beach which is ideal for swimming, snorkeling or simply relaxing by the waterfront - a great spot to kick back with friends after taking in all that Wallace Island has to offer!

  4. Wallace Island Marine Provincial Park is a nature lover's dream; it's home to numerous trails filled with lush vegetation as well as plenty of opportunities for bird watching - be sure to bring your binoculars!

Camp on Galiano Island

Planning a camping trip to Galiano Island? You're in luck. Montague Provincial Campground is especially popular amongst tourists – with over 100 sites it offers beautiful views of the Trincomali Channel and is conveniently located near the ferry terminal for easy transportation.

But before you head out into the great outdoors, be sure to brush up on your wildlife knowledge. Many travellers ask, “Are there bears on Galiano Island?” Contrary to popular belief, Galiano does not have any bears or cougars - but it does have plenty of other furry friends. Deer, raccoons, mink and even river otters can all be spotted in the area – so make sure you bring along your binoculars for a chance to spot some of these magnificent creatures.

Camp on Portland Island

Portland Island is the perfect destination for outdoor adventurers looking for a peaceful getaway. Situated in the Moresby Passage, this small island lies southeast of Salt Spring Island and northwest of Moresby Island. From its sandy shorelines to the unspoiled terrain, camping on Portland Island is lovely – including these campgrounds for those seeking a picturesque spot to rest their heads:

  1. Shell Beach Campground is one of the most popular sites, with its panoramic views of Trincomali Channel and easy access to hiking trails – it's no wonder why so many visitors flock here!

  2. Alternatively, campers can set up their tents at Princess Bay Campground which offers relaxing beachfront camping and plenty of paddling opportunities around the nearby islands such as Brackman Island, Pellow Islets and Tortoise Islets.

Want to camp on Portland Island with us? Join our Gulf Islands Camping Expedition where we shuttle over to Portland Ilsnad with SUP and camping gear for 3 days and 2 nights of wilderness fun.

Can you wild camp in BC?

Can you wild camp in BC?

As you traverse the multitude of islands and stunning landscapes that British Columbia has to offer, have you ever wondered is wild camping is allowed in BC? BC does indeed give the green light to responsible wild camping on designated crownland.

With countless hidden gems and undiscovered spots to be found, camping enthusiasts will find themselves exploring the serene wilderness, waking up to the soothing sounds of nature and the gentle rays of the morning sun. Just be sure to follow the 'Leave No Trace' ethics and camp at least 100 meters away from lakes and streams – after all, we must protect and cherish the stunning beauty that British Columbia generously shares with us.

Camping on the Gulf Island is an unforgettable experience you’re sure to savour — no matter how far you travel, you won’t be disappointed with what each island has to offer. For those seeking crystal blue waters and peaceful sandy beaches, visit Galiano or Portland Island. Before your venture around British Columbia, make sure you check local laws to find out whether wild camping is permitted in the area.

Finally, don’t forget — Pam and her team of experts have been guiding campers around the Gulf Islands for years — from novice adventurers to longtime enthusiasts, she provides all the information needed for an amazing paddling trip. Take her advice and explore beyond what lies ahead — seize every opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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